SO YOU WANTA WRITE. WHY?

In the nearly 30 years I’ve been writing, it’s always amazed me how many people I meet say they want to write a book someday. At first I was never sure what to say to them. Later, I began to realize that there were things I could say. Positive reenforcement of their need, if somewhat vague, to write.

It’s probably normal for so many people to want to write. After all, we are born storytellers, are we not? Who among us does not relate happenings to others in story form?
I spoke on Finding Your Voice at the Arkansas Writer’s Conference in Little Rock this past weekend, and among those in the audience, writers all, many held up their hands when I asked if they’d found their voice. Furthermore, they’re doing what those who truly want to become published writers should do. They’re networking, learning their craft and paying attention to what goes on around them in the writing world.
But my first question to a wannabee writer is: Why do you want to write? And then I listen to them. If they passionately relate reasons, no matter what they are (except to be rich) I know they’ll probably sooner or later in life give writing a good try. Passion is the key word there.
Before anyone can truly complete their writing goal, be it poetry, essays, articles or books, they must be passionate about their subject. Don’t write something because it’s popular at the moment. You’ll fail. Don’t write it because your hubby or mom or aunt says you should. You’ll fail. Don’t write it because you want to sell a million books and be famous and rich. You’ll fail.
I’m not saying you can’t accomplish any of these things. But your motivation must be to write because you can do nothing else. Because the character or story lives in your head and will not turn loose. Because you have something to say that’s so important to mankind it must be written. Or because you find the act of writing so much fun, so entertaining, so awe inspiring that you have to do it. All these are good reasons to become a writer.
Then of course, there is much more to becoming a writer than writing. You have to be willing to talk about your work or your struggle or whatever in front of ever-growing audiences as you become more popular. You must also be willing to sit in bookstores or other chosen places waiting for folks to appear and buy your book so you can sign it with a flourish, always smiling, even at the lady who asks where they keep the Kleenex or where is the bathroom. You must always be patient, kind and professional with everyone you deal with. Publishers, editors, agents, other writers, book sellers. The list goes on and on.
For the past months, since my latest books came out, I’ve done all of the previous paragraph’s listings. I’ve driven 20 or 40 miles to find two people waiting for me to speak to them. I’ve been as gracious to them as if there were a crowd of 10 or 50.
Then there is the tiny library in St. Paul, Arkansas. This small community has a Bookmobile for a library, but they eagerly set a date for me to present my books. We would meet in the school library. I got lost and was late, but they didn’t give up on me. Eighteen people showed up for the talk and signing, and they took group photos and fed me and we had a blast. It was only after we finished with all the celebrating and book signing that they told me that in the 19 years they’d had a library, I was the first author to come to sign books. They invited me back when the next book comes out, and I’ll gladly go. This time I won’t get lost.
If this is why you want to be a writer, then come ahead. Join the crowd. We’ll leave a light on for you. I read somewhere that 85% of the population wants to write a book someday. I’m convinced that the rest of them have stories they want us writers to write for them. We are storytellers all.
Here’s an article that came about after I drove almost 50 miles one way to speak to the Ft. Smith Historical Society. I sat and visited with a kind lady who turned out to be affiliated with this magazine.
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About veldabrotherton

I'm primarily a writer, but I also speak and teach workshops and co-chair a large critique group. My brand is SexyDarkGritty and that applies to my western historical romances, mysteries, women's fiction and horror novels. After almost 30 years in this business, I still have something to learn and attend conferences to network with other writers, publishers, editors and agents.
This entry was posted in Arkansas Writers Conference, book signings, conferences, libraries, networking, St. Paul Library, Velda Brotherton, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to SO YOU WANTA WRITE. WHY?

  1. Claire says:

    You're so inspirational, Velda. I truly appreciate your insight into writing and what makes a successful writer. Sure, I'd like to write a book that was enjoyed by millions, but that's not the reason I write it. I write because the characters chattering in my head must be released! You've really helped me develop the way they escape on paper. For example, you'd point out that there are five forms of "write" in this short paragraph. 🙂

  2. Claire says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. LeAynne says:

    I write because it is fun. Thanks for validating that reason.

  5. Thanks for the comments. I always enjoy getting feedback on what I write here. Good to hear from you.

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