Monday, May 5, 2008

Young Writer Q & A

Q: On your website, it says don’t be a writer unless you have to. I love to write and hope to some day become an author. I was just curious as to why you give that advice. Thank you for your time. Emily.

A: That advice seems odd, I know. It’s targeted especially at those who would like to make a living as a writer, and it’s meant to discourage dabblers. Publishing is such a chancy, random business, and so hard on the ego. Even the best, most successful writers are rejected a million times. It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted. As Red Smith said, “Writing is easy. All you have to do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” And after you do that, some assistant at a publishing house will respond with a form letter. In the event you are published, one negative review will shade out a dozen positive ones.

So by all means write if you’re compelled to do it. If the process itself is so rewarding that you’d do it even if you’re never published. If writing feeds your soul. If writing is like breathing in and breathing out—essential to life. If putting words together makes you high.

But, if you can do something else, go for it. You’ll have an easier path, and a greater chance for success as others define it.

I feel blessed that I’ve achieved some success with my writing. It has allowed me to write full time. It inhibits that chain of questions that begins with, “You’re a writer, huh?” and ends with, “So what all have you published?”

But I’d write for myself regardless.

1 comment:

Barbara Martin said...

Well, I write for myself first, and others second. When creating my characters and plot lines I write about what I would like in an adventure story and make it complex and twist in on itself.

I understand that writers are expected to follow a pattern in their manuscripts to suit any of the particular publishers, however, is it so wrong to mix genres as long as they mesh in the story. My main genre is dark fantasy, however, it has elements of romance, crime, science fiction and paranormal, too.