Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Writing Journal: Why Write?

A big part of what I want to do with this blog is to track my writing development, to make a bit of a journal about where I am as a writer, discuss things I’ve written, and highlight my evolution from wannabe-writer to ‘successful’ writer.

So this is the first entry, and it starts with the most basic question:  Why Write?

Do I do it only to become that 'successful' writer?  Then what do I measure success by?  Whether or not I get published?

But... What if I never get published? 

Does that mean that this blog is pointless?  That my writing is unsuccessful?  That I’m a failure?

Nope.  Not at all, at least in my mind.  I’m writing because I enjoy it.  Being published or achieving any form of commercial success would be great, but that’s not the point.  This is a form of creative expression, and its fun, and I like what’s coming out of it.

I get a kick out of seeing a story take shape, and I enjoy discovering how it ends.  Because I usually don’t know when I start.  I may have an idea, a general direction that I want the story to go in, but I’m often surprised at the twists the story takes as it forms on the page. 

And that’s a heck of a lot of fun for me.

So that’s the point.

Not the pursuit of any outward ‘success’, whatever that may be.  Because success ultimately comes from within.  If I like it, and I feel I’m improving, and my writing brings me a little fun, then I think I’m being successful at it.

After all, 'successful' is a subjective adjective, kind of like 'rich'.  And when I think of rich, there’s a saying I heard somewhere a long time ago that has always stuck with me:

“The richest man isn’t he who has the most; it is he who is most content with what he has.”

That’s the attitude I choose to take with my writing and whether or not I’m successful at it.  If I set up a dream of becoming a published writer who is read by millions, that’s a wonderful dream to have, but it can also lead to huge disappointment.  The vast majority of writers never reach anything resembling that level of readership, and I have no disillusions about my fledgling talent as a writer.

To write with a burden of unrealistic expectations around my neck sure seems like it would take most of the joy out of the process.

So any ‘success’ that happens beyond me just enjoying the process of writing and improving will be an added bonus.  If any other people also happen to enjoy what I’ve written, it will be a huge blessing.  If I get published somewhere, it will be a wonderful gift.

But they’re not the reason I do this, and not the measures by which I judge success. 

I’m happy writing, even if I never sell a word.  Because it’s fun to do and I like it.

And that’s reason enough for me.

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