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working writer wending her way through the labyrinth that is self-publishing

Monday, March 25, 2013

Why do we write?

What is the main reason you write? Is it because you can't not, or is it that you have something to share that you think will add value to the world? Or maybe it's a little of both and many other things combined.

I've always loved to write but also felt that what I had to say was boring, not well written or, 'you fill in the negative' blank. This still applies but in a lesser sense as I grow older. With two, almost three, self-published books under my belt I still worry that my writing isn't good enough or the stories not compelling enough but I still write them and publish them. That's the difference. My own angst doesn't keep me from keeping on, the thoughts are just a minor glitch in the process. Without these considerations I wouldn't take the time or money to get my work properly edited. PRACTICE is what improves the writing, not someone else telling you how to do it.

Everything is subjective and because of this I made an executive decision to trust my own voice. I knew for sure that if an agent picked up my book they would want to edit the hell out of the story. I wasn't willing to have my ideas  changed around to suit a fickle public according to an editor who might or might not know what was around the next corner. If I wanted my antagonist to be a Catholic priest, he was going to stay a Catholic priest. If I wanted several pov's in order to add fullness I was not about to rewrite to satisfy someone else's whim about the marketplace.

So what it really comes down to is: I write for myself. The stories weave their own way across the page and I follow them. Sometimes I need to rein it in a bit, sometimes I need to let it run wild. At the end of the day it's my choice and my creative spirit that I don't want to tamp down with 'shoulds'. The idea of writing to please someone else just doesn't compute. Of course I hope that people enjoy reading my books but I know for certain that some will and some won't.

I realized early on that the books I write are the ones I want to read and can't find. Many times when I'm writing, the process feels like reading a good book-- I don't know exactly where the writing will take me. I've had the strange experience of trying to work out in my head where I want the story to go and at the same time my fingers are typing out some completely different scenario. But I'm a 'seat of the pants' writer, not a plotter. A while ago I attempted to write a first person present mystery and ended up writing myself into a corner...mysteries need to be plotted!

So what is it that drives you to write? Are you a pantser or a plotter? Would you consider changing your story/novel to suit an agent?

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