Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Focus on your desire to write, not your unit sales
I've linked to Ask Cary here before, but once again he has written beautifully about writing and the writing life, so I can't help but share. This time, he talks about how writers who are down on their work should focus on what brought them to dream about becoming a writer, not some outside measure of success (publication, number of readers, etc.).
Like many writers, what brought me to writing was the idea of expressing myself, the truths about my life, and, I think, life in general. Personally I find it very hard to talk about these concepts directly, so writing about fictional characters who are dealing with them is the safest, best way for me to get those ideas across to others. What I've learned as I've written is that often times the writing also helps me learn the truths about myself that are buried fairly deep, which I wouldn't get to if I didn't take the time to think, reflect, write, and revise.
How about you? What brought you to writing? What keeps you going?
I'll leave you with a quote from Cary that touched me:
...Soon I realized that there were other secret languages and other people who could read these secret languages. That was the vision that excited me and made me want to be a writer: I wanted to find a secret voice within myself like the one Dylan Thomas had found, and begin speaking it and see if anyone could understand me. To this day, when I grow weak and tired, I seek that primary thrill of adolescence; I try to re-create for myself my own strange, secret language.