A popular post from August 2009
by Annette Lyon
by Annette Lyon
If you have the passion and fire to be published, go for it. Be prepared for setbacks and rejection.
If you don't have that drive, don't pretend that you do, and don't pretend you want to be published. Admit that it's a fun little fancy and move on.
But I do believe that everyone can benefit from the writing process. Everyone can benefit from being be a writer on some level, whether it's something as simple as writing letters, blogging, or journaling.
The other night, we had some friends over, one of which is a talented lawyer. Chatting over dessert, he expressed a secret wish to write but shrugged it off with, "I know it'll never get published, so what's the point?"
Since I'm so quiet with my opinions (*snort!*), I verbally tackled him on that one.
Did he care about getting published, I asked?
No, he said, not really, but he loved getting the stories in his head down. It was a stress release, a way to have fun. But he felt guilty writing when it seemed so pointless. When it wasn't an hour he could bill for the firm. When it wasn't productive.
I think that's the point where I launched into lecture mode.
First, I explained that the vast majority of published writers don't make a living off it, so "productive" is pretty much in the eye of the beholder there.
Second, if it's something that brings him joy and is a destressor, then DO IT. Who cares if no one but him ever sees his stories? Who cares how good a writer he is? (He says he's not good, but I'm doubting that.)
How many knitters out there stop knitting because the sweater they're making will be worn by only one person?
How many amateur photographers stop taking pictures because a good percentage of their photographs didn't turn out quite like they hoped?
How many people run marathons because there's a physical object they can point to afterward and say, "Look, there's the marathon I ran?" (Good luck with that one.)
Hobbies aren't supposed to be "productive." That's why they're hobbies. They're supposed to be fun.
If writing brings you joy and is a hobby, that is reason enough to do it. Writing for some people is a passion that transcends hobby. For some, it begins as hobby, and eventually goes somewhere else. I know writers who started writing as a hobby and eventually quit their day jobs to be full-time writers. It happens (rarely, but it does).
Then there are simple hobbyist writers. And that's just fine.
He worried about the productivity thing again. I pointed out that he needs to unwind. That every hour of his day can't be spent billing for the firm. That he needs some down time, or he'll snap.
I suggested setting a goal for himself: what if for every specific number of hours he bills, he gets to write for one hour (or a certain number of words or whatever specific limit he gives himself). Make writing a reward for a job well done. A treat. His wife jumped all over that idea.
You can bet I'll be on his case next time I see him, asking whether he's written more of his story and if not, why not. I'll be a pest about it if I have to. I'm passionate about these kinds of things if you can't tell.
In his case, I could see the need to write in his eyes. He needs it for different reasons than I do, I suspect (I've needed to since second grade; it's sort of in my blood). But the reasons are there, all the same.
If you have the need, whatever your reason, put your hands on the keyboard, and do it.