Writing, Just Because

 

This is a bit of a rambling update. Be forewarned.

Writing is something that everyone wants to do, so it seems, but it holds some negative connotations in mainstream society. I think part of this is derived from the fact that anyone can publish anything, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a good piece of literature/writing. I currently have my children’s book with illustrations completed, sitting in my lap. There is the compelling urge to want to self-publish because I am eager to share something that I worked on with so much passion with the world. Yet, there is the stinging realization that I could self-publish it and then not be taken seriously as a real writer. On the other note, there are many writers that self-publish (whom I have bought books from) that are great writers! So, why is there this impending fear or feeling of doom if I self-publish?

I think it comes down to three things perceived about writing (adapted from Write To Done):

  • It’s intangible – Writing is not always acknowledged as a real job, because there are so many that claim to “write” but have little to show for it after days at a keyboard (or with pen and paper). I have personally done ghostwriting, but I do not have anything to show for my writing thus far. I do not have anything published, including no poems or articles in magazines. There are some that spend years writing and only have a small book or a single publication to show for it. I, myself, have been writing for years and do not even have that. Excuse me, while I hang my head.
  • It’s unpaid – Most writers have blogs or similar feeds of social media where they give away their writings for free. Even after spending hours a day piecing together the words that they hand over to viewers, they don’t receive a single dime. Obviously, I have a place on my blog where people can donate (as though they had purchased something I have written), but this is not regularly if ever used by readers.  It is accepted that, in our world, if you’re not paid for something then it is a hobby and an unnecessary indulgence. Yet, many writers create a blog as a necessary career move.
  • It’s intellectual – Most people may not think the creative mind is an intellectual mind, but it definitely meets the criteria. Writers may not be out laboring physically, but they are working extremely hard to bring across characters that readers enjoy in a world that is worth exploring. I have spent hours researching numerous topics to be assured that my writing captures realistic frameworks of people and worlds. In addition, it is mentally laboring to find internal motivation to keep writing until you finish the work, especially with the understanding it may never make it past the doorstep of you home. (I have trashed many novels that I spent years writing because they were not ready to be published.)

I have not engaged in much ‘writing’ over the past several weeks, much to my dismay. I may have completed 15,000 words or so total on a couple novels, which doesn’t include the thousands upon thousands of words of correspondence between e-mails to fellow writers. The past couple weeks have been full of proofreading and reading other author’s works to deliver them feedback on their own craft. I find that I enjoy doing this as a past-time, even when I am not writing, because it helps me recognize my own writing techniques, both positives and negatives. As I reflect on the time and energy that other writers put into their own stories, it helps me realize that my time as a writer is also valuable. These are the things that I continue to consider as I weigh my options of publication, and as I look for other opportunities to make a living as a writer.

Why do you write? If you have published, what are the pros and cons of publishing and/or self-publishing?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

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30 thoughts on “Writing, Just Because

  1. I know the writing…”just because” 🙂
    its been suggested I publish, but I always know I wouldn’t be taken seriously…
    so I write to be me…just because if I didn’t I think I would one day implode…
    I enjoy your thoughts…
    Take Care…You Matter…
    )0(
    maryrose

      • I know, it’s a little shocking. I am working on a return post. It’s just a little awkward to come back after this much time has passed. I have missed reading your blog. Maybe that will motivate me enough to return!

      • Please let me know of anything you need for motivation! You were my very first visitor / commenter on my own blog, and provided me my own motivation to keep this blog alive. You have my support!

  2. Hi, Robertson! Well, I think that anyone who really enjoys writing as a craft (whether or not they also consider it a hobby, or whether they consider it as a serious venture) writes “just because.” It’s the nature of the beast, as your other commenter noted. But there’s a difference between writing “just because” and expecting to get paid “just because” (and someone who “harshed” my “writing buzz” recently accused me of this on my site because my works are self-published and I have a Donate button, like you. You’ll remember, perhaps; you “rescued” me with a sympathetic comment). Nevertheless, I think if you really want to be considered a serious writer, that it’s perfectly acceptable to self-publish and use a donate button. Note: before I had a site on WordPress.com, I had my first novel on another site, my own independent site, and I had a regular “Buy Now” button on it, which doesn’t give the reader a choice about whether or not to pay first, though you can offer a small portion to be read for free; I made a modest amount of money on that, so it does work. If you’re interested in print publication, on the other hand, I’m probably not the person to give good advice, because my last contact with that was back when some magazines still requested SASEs instead of using all-online stuff. Do whatever you feel in your heart is right, that’s my motto.

    • Of course, I know who you are! And, I appreciate your response, shadowoperator. I definitely do not expect to get paid, by any means, and as I have mentioned in previous posts, I’d be happy if I only sold my book to close friends and family. I definitely enjoy writing simply for the sake of writing. It is an escape that is overwhelmingly comforting.

      I, by no means, consider self-publishers not to be serious writers. In fact, I probably own more books from self-publishers than I do from people that have went through traditional publishers. I have found many other WordPress sites that also use a Donate button, and I think it is a great way to support and motivate writers, letting them know that they are appreciated for what they contribute to the writing/literature community.

      I have books already sent out to publishers, and many friends urging me to send out more of my works. I will likely not make a decision until I hear back. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me. I greatly value your advice and words of wisdom.

  3. Just a little tid bit. You will have to do your own promoting whether you self publish or have a publishing house publish your work. There are many writers who were recognized through their self publish endeavors. I’m going to shop my novel when I complete it but if I don’t get it sold in x amount of time I’m going to consider self publishing and work my ass off to get it noticed.

  4. I write because I love to read – and I would love to stimulate that love in someone else. I definitely consider it a hobby, so I’m not worried about my sales paying for my next meal. Of course, if I can buy more books with my proceeds, well. That’s more motivation to write the next book!
    I, too, was torn between the tradional vs. self published route. In the end, I went self-published for one reason only: impatience. Statistics say that it can can three to five YEARS to get published traditionally. After having accomplished my life’s dream, I wasn’t about wait one minute longer than I had to – I just wanted to hold my ‘baby’ and show EVERYONE. I did take the time to edit/revise extensively, and poured a ton of time into researching how to properly format and design my book. Since writing is a hobby, I couldn’t stomach the idea of paying money to have a ‘professional’ help, so I did the work myself and had a few friends double-check the finished product. I think putting that extra effort in and knowing that I did it all makes me feel prouder of my accomplishment. I didn’t just write my book. I published it.

    • Haha, I can relate with the motivation piece. I know that having active readers and followers on my blog is very much motivation for me to continue writing. Even if I am not being paid, I enjoy people telling me that they enjoy what I write and that it impacts them in some way.

      I really like view of feeling accomplished in truly publishing your book and putting the extra work into it. It takes a lot of skill to go beyond the writing and design the formatting as well. I wonder if you mean by “paying money” you are talking about subsidiary publishers or traditional publishers (taking a percentage). Either way, the statement is understandable. I have had many subsidiary publishers flood me with requests to publish my books, but that is not my cup of tea.

      Thank you so much for the insightful feedback!

      • Oh whoops! I think they might be subsidiary publishers … I was referring to some self publishing companies who offer packages to help design your cover, format your manuscript, or who offer their own editing services. (I was lucky and discovered that one of my Starbucks co-workers is an editor who’s finishing her master’s. She edited for free in exchange for a mention in the acknowledgements,)

  5. Pingback: A Thimble Full | winterbayne

  6. I agree alos and i have fallen prey to the small publishers telling you how great taking your work and you never recieve anything except them telling you ot market harder. I now do it because i want to I have a childrens book selfpublished( one of the works i finally got back from the so called publisher. Im on the fence to try another publisher or self publish this book im working on now to self publish has cost me so much in covers and editing ill never come out ahead.

    • I wouldn’t recommend using a subsidiary publisher, if that is who you are using. Legit publishers won’t ever ask you for any money, but simply take a percentage of book sales – otherwise it could be vanity press or a scam. Self-publishing can be expensive though. Luckily, I have the art and cover completed for the children’s book already. I am considering moving forward with self-publishing – at least with that!

  7. I self published 100 cartoon book in December last. I have done no real marketing but thought I’d sell more than a dozen books so far since my blog has so many loyal followers. The cartoon field has so many talented professionals as well as talented unpublished creators it is almost impossible to become successful. I self published with createspace. I plan to do 3 more books.

    I would recommend to go ahead and self publish. I learned so very much in the process especially in making my work more presentable. I still hand draw but have learned to color with the computer and to enhance the drawings. Self publishing is a start. It will open doors so get yourself out there. You have to make your dreams come true. They don’t magically come true. Thanks visit my blog.

  8. Since you have more than one book finished, why don’t you try both? Send a book/s to agents/publishers, maybe try another at small presses (there are some good ones that aren’t vanity presses–don’t use those), AND self-publish a book and see how that goes. Before you self-publish, though, I’d read a lot about marketing and really give your book a big push when it first comes out, so that it has a decent chance. I didn’t do that, and I wish I had. And I’d have at least ten people who will review it the minute it appears. Most places that you can pay to advertise your book demand a certain number of reviews before they’ll promote it. With 10 reviews, you’ll have a lot more options. Another thought–do children’s books do well as self-published books? Do a lot of young kids read on Kindles? I don’t know. None of my friends self-publish children’s books. It’s something to look into. And you might want to read Lindsay Buroker’s blog on marketing. She gives a lot of good advice. Good luck with your books.

  9. This is wonderful! Thank you so much for finding my blog and following – it will be interesting to follow yours. What a great writer you are! I am fortunate that my writing is my ministry so I don’t expect great reward here but elsewhere.
    But that being said, I wanted to comment on your silentlyheardonce thread that my husband has had three golf books published by mainstream publishers and sadly none did anything to really market his work. Nowadays with all these blogs, one can market much easier. I have a book coming out this summer and I pray it will reach those who need to hear it but I have a much greater Publisher: our Lord God. 🙂
    Appreciate you and since I make my followers my friends, I look forward to getting to know you better. Blessings,

      • Well we’ve been married a very long time and we’re still best friends. (He would generously give you lessons if you are ever in this part of the country.) I’m proud of what God has made him into. He is a golf pro at a local resort course and fills in on church pulpit supply when needed, so our lives are never boring! And I’m looking forward to learning a lot from your posts, thank you.

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