2007-09-14

Why I Write

I write because it takes me away from my personal life, which isn't in the greatest shape nowadays. I've read where people say they lead dull lives; do you really want the opposite of that?

D'ya?

If I could control things on a personal level, sure, I'd love to stay home and just write fiction all day while the bucks rolled in. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way (unless you're someone like Paris Hilton). With just some dough coming in from my day job, it's just not going to cut it, so I've started to look into freelancing, among other things.

But when I want to just get away from all sorts of bills and shrieking/crying relatives (you really don't want to know ::sigh::), I write fiction. And the fiction I'm writing--rewriting, actually--right now is a bit more light hearted. Oh, the MC desperately wants to find her birth mother (in the flesh, not just by looking at newspaper articles or whatever), but the fun stuff is in the story, too, as soon as she travels back in time...

It gives me a chance to let loose (if I want), to immerse myself in another world (sometimes literally). A lot of my musings won't go any further then what's typed on the screen, but that's okay: It allows me to vent so I won't pull all of my hair out (I just colored it, anyway, so I want to keep it on my head for a while longer, thank you ;-)).

Why do you write? For the same reason I do? To talk about certain injustices in the world? Just to tell what you think is a good story? There are all sorts of reasons.

For the money? In fiction? ::rolls eyes:: Puh-leez. Better to write and expect nothing to come of it, and be ecstatic when something does come of it.

Is that a bit defeatist? Maybe it is, but then I'm in a certain mood today. But I also think it's realistic.

I also think that if you're serious about this fiction thing you'll keep at it, until you have the basics down pat, until you've beaten down the door (politely) of every agent out there (that will take your type of writing).

It took one guy something like 10 years to get agented/published. I'm sure he didn't set out with that idea in mind, but it might take a while (especially if your personal life is screwy).

His persistence paid off, though, didn't it?

~Nancy Beck

4 comments:

Angie said...

I write because stories and characters bubble up out of my brain. I have stories flowing by anyway on their own, especially during the times when I'm not quite asleep, right after I go to bed or right before I get up. Writing some of them down is just the logical next step.

I also do it for the social interaction. I hang out out with other writers and readers, and as a writer myself that makes me a producer. I've been posting my work online for a while now and have gotten a lot of positive reactions. It's encouraged me to go for publication, but it's also satisfying in and of itself; having thirty people comment to say they liked my story, especially when some of them pull out favorite lines or tell me what made them laugh, makes me feel like whatever struggling and rewriting I did was worth it. It also makes me feel like a valued member of the group, and that's always cool.

Getting paid for your writing is another kind of "value," but I'll have to see whether it really replaces the immediacy of reader appreciation Right There and Then.

Angie

~Nancy said...

All you've said is so true! :-) I've also had characters and stories leap out at me soon after hitting the hay.

I wish I could be like some people and have the discipline to not only have a little notepad next to the bed, but to actually wake up and write it down while it's fresh in my mind...I can't tell you how many times I've had "Aha!" moments (character, story, or both) and forgot what it was about.

Hmm...I may have to post about that next time. :-)

Thanks for reading, Angie!

Angie said...

I've never been able to manage the notepad trick either. [wry smile] I have a file on my HD for story ideas and anything that comes to me wherever; anything that's worth saving for a story and lasts in my brain until I'm sitting at the computer gets jotted down as an idea note, if I'm not in a position to start a new story right then and there.

Sometimes the bit that gets noted down isn't enough to support a story by itself. It might be just a cultural note or an interesting gimmick or a plot device, something like that. Most of my story notes just sit there for years but occasionally I'll go back through the file and notice that this note would go really well with this other one, and they'd both fit perfectly into this story idea that's been rattling around in my head for a while.... :)

I think that's probably one of the most valuable lessons I've learned, though -- that one Cool Idea usually isn't enough to support a story. That makes writing down all the little bits and scraps that much more valuable; you never know when one will find its mate(s) and turn into something useful.

Angie

~Nancy said...

I think that's probably one of the most valuable lessons I've learned, though -- that one Cool Idea usually isn't enough to support a story.

Isn't that the truth!

One of my problems is that I'll get a few things together, it'll sound fantastic in my head, but then when I write it, it's Total Crap [patent pending].

I remember something I wrote mucho years ago. I wrote and wrote in spiral-bound notebook, then began to transfer it to the computer (revising as I went). The story idea is embarrassing now, but I didn't realize it until I did the transfer; exactly one scene was good. One. And the character were ciphers; I think zombies had more in the way of personality than the characters I came up with.

I totally and completely stepped away from that one and learned a personal lesson: My brain is wired for outlining in some way, shape, or form.