THE BIG QUESTION
Probably the most asked question in the writing game, after “How do I get an agent” and “How do you get your ideas” is “Why do you write?” It should be the first question all writers ask of themselves.
I’ve been writing since I wrote my first creative writing assignment in 5th grade. That was in 1969, over 50 years ago.
BACK IN THE DAY
I’ve considered myself a professional writer since I began writing my first mystery and science fiction short stories for submission to magazines in New York. That was in 1982. Those first stories were terrible. I honestly did not write a sellable story until 1995, and I didn’t actually sell those two stories which I wrote as part of a Fiction Writing class for Writer’s Digest School.
To get to that point, I’d lived an extra dozen years, plus I’d majored in Journalism in college, and the successes I had as a student journalist sharpened my writing skills.
That’s all background, though, it doesn’t answer the question of Why I Write. That’s a difficult question to answer. It might be easier to give you a list of wrong answers. In other words, a list of reasons which are NOT my motivations for writing.
5 REASONS NOT TO BE A WRITER
- I don’t write to get rich. (Should that somehow happen, cool. But it’s not a certainty.)
- I do not write to get famous. (Same as above.)
- I don’t write because I have “Something to say.” (Who cares what I have to say? I don’t.)
- I do not write because of my huge ego. (My ego is easily deflated.)
- I don’t write because I feel the world needs to read my writing. (The world does not need to do so.)
- Today’s Internet market has created a new golden age for writers. Thousands of writers are getting paid to write. Some write Fiction, some Content Writing, some Copywriting, or whatever. I DO have enough ego to know that I’m way more talented than many of those professional freelance writers. I might as well take part in the cash grab.
THE NEW GOLDEN AGE
For Fiction Writers, which I primarily consider myself to be, the Internet, as it is in 2022, is The New Pulp Era, similar to the original Pulp Fiction Era of the 1920s-1950s, and the Paperback Era of the 1950s-1990’s. And for Nonfiction writers, it’s a Bonanza unparalleled since the Slick Magazine era of the 1950s-1970s… with a lot MORE markets than there used to be.
I write because it’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I said that I don’t write to get rich or famous because I’m a realist. I’m a very good writer. Some day I may be a GREAT writer. But there are hundreds of thousands of good writers who can do what I do.
Still, I should be able to make a comfortable living from my writing, even if I have to write Web Content and Ad Copy by day, and write my Genre Fiction at night.
One thing I have learned from studying what works and what doesn’t in Indie Publishing, Freelance Copywriting, etc., is that the more content a writer puts out is the more chance that writer has of finding a paying audience. In Indie Publishing they say an author needs “A Dirty Dozen” titles in his or her catalog before the sales start to show. That could be 12 to15 full-length 100,000 word novels, or 12 to 15 standalone short stories or novellas. Depending on the subgenre, either will work. You still need to market your work like crazy, but all the marketing, paid ads, and Social Media in the world will fail if you only have a catalog of 1 to 3 titles.
I’m still working on my first dirty dozen titles, so I can’t exactly say that I’m leading by example. I’m the preacher whose sermons are 90% for myself.
Keep reading and keep writing.