This Is Why I Write. Truth Is, It’s In My Bones

This Is Why I Write. Truth Is, It’s In My Bones
Handmade native american dream catcher on background of rocks and lake. Tribal elements, feathers

Don’t you love convening with like-minded folks?

Handmade native american dream catcher on background of rocks and lake. Tribal elements, feathers
Why I Write

I had such a fabulous time speaking at the NETWO Writers’ Conference last weekend!

Writers’ conferences jazz me.  Talking about all things writing and meeting with new writers and published authors as well is always fun, as is meeting new friends such as Dawn Frederick of Red Sofa Literary.

Part of it is that writing is such a lonely endeavor, as anyone who pens anything from novels to blogs and everything in between knows.  We toil away in that solitary hopefully well-lighted room, alone with our words and stories and imaginary worlds.  So it’s great to get together with others doing the same and visit with real people now and then.

I was honored to give the opening speech for the conference, titled “Why I Write.”

Because of course I write for the same reason everybody else does: To become Rich and Famous.

We all had a nice chuckle over that!  And hopefully you did too, if you’ve spent much time writing and blogging and working at building an audience.  Because you know how insane that sentiment actually is.

But there’s truth to it, no?  Anytime we work at something creative, we probably went into it with at least some stars in our eyes about where it would take us.  Because we’re not creating in a vacuum, right?  We’re creating for others to read, see, experience, etc., what it is we’re inventing.

So when you boil it down to the essence, what does Rich and Famous mean for a writer/blogger/artist?

We all sobered up soon enough from the original drunken euphoria of where our craft would take us as far as actual dollars.  Fairly quickly.  So that’s not what I’m talking about here.

What the Rich part means—to virtually all writers I know, in all forms—is that you can buy more time to work on your craft.  To write.  Hopefully at some point, to quit your day job in order to write (insert anything creative here) more and more and more.

Because that’s what artists do, no?  We live to create.  And ah, the nirvana of having undisturbed time to do so.

And what does the Fame part mean?

It means you’ve found your audience—no matter the size.

And don’t all entrepreneurs want this?

One might think that finding that audience would be simple.  All writers come into this business with those aforementioned stars in their eyes.  “You’ll be the next Hemingway!  Everyone will gush over your stunning prose, your compelling characters, the stories that transcend time and space and take readers to the moon!”

Memoirists and short-story writers and bloggers and, well, everyone who writes at least once had that thought!  Admit it 🙂

And that’s not a bad thing—we all want someone to actually read what we write.  It’s in our bones.

But we’re not everyone’s cup of tea, no?  As my mother used to say, “It takes all kinds of people to make the world go ‘round.”

And all kinds of people love all kinds of different things.

For novelists, we face this from inception to end.  Ah, the rejections gleaned while trying to get an agent to say yes.  Finding the right agent can take years to decades.  And then, the rejections from publishers until one of them says yes (the good news is, it only takes one yes!).

And then the book comes out and behold and lo—not everyone likes it.  Who knew!

But reviews help us to hone that audience as well.  They’re great for that.

When I Just Came here to Dance was published last fall, it received a whole host of great reviews.  Oh, how those warm an author’s heart.  To know someone got it, truly got it, appreciated the story and characters and writing, well, that can light an eon of dark nights.

Of course, a few not-so-stellar reviews came in as well.  One guy couldn’t have hated it more.  He wrote a long, scathing review that virtually ended with blaming me for the demise of literature in the Western world.

It was so unfailingly hateful and extreme, it gave us all a laugh.  You might as well check it out at the link above.  LOL.

Which is a good thing when you can find the humor in someone hating you 🙂

But the point of that is, all the reviews helped us (it does take a village) to focus more sharply on the audience for my fiction for next time.  Because of course, that’s the first step in finding the folks who do love my work.

And isn’t that the point?  Again, not everybody is going to like or appreciate what we offer up.  The world just doesn’t work that way.

But there are a lot of people who will eat it up.  And no matter what type of service you’re involved in, building up your audience with like-minded folks is one of the main points of the exercise.

So, yep, I write for the same reasons everybody else does—to become Rich and Famous.

Y’all can laugh here!

The Truth of the matter is, however, I do write for the same reason everyone else does.  It’s as Maya Angelou said in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings: Because it has a song.

We, as writers, again no matter what form that takes, have a song to sing. A story to tell.  Wisdom or guidance to impart.

That’s why we do what we do, no?

So go write that book or blog.  Go send your creative fruits out into the stratosphere.  The world needs you.

With all your heart, go sing to the heavens

This Post Has 30 Comments

  1. Hey Susan! Glad to hear you got to spend some time with fellow writers and friends. It does add a boost to our souls and our writing to get together with others on the same path. It’s nice to spend time with others who know what it takes and share some of the same challenges. And good for you for speaking and reminding us all of why we do what we do and how we must keep sharing the music within us. ~Kathy

    1. Well said, Kathy–gathering with others on our path truly does add a boost to our souls and our writing! It just gives me such a rush. I loved your post about getting together with bloggers too!

  2. This post is great, Susan!

    I write to express. I also write to help others. I think a writer needs to understand why they write to truly enjoy what they do.

    Congratulations on your presentation. I hope it went well.

    1. You’re so right, Sabrina–we all need to understand our audience in order to connect with them. While we might write for a variety of reasons, keeping the reader in mind is part of the process as well.

  3. Susan – isn’t it amazing the time & energy some reviewers will spend to be negative?!
    Ah, well. I’m glad your convention went well. I’ve only been to one writer’s workshop in my life, but I found it to be very beneficial – and just fun!

    1. Reviewers slashing books is always a puzzle to me, Joan! Folks on the various book sites can just be brutal. Odd, indeed! Perhaps because I always hear my mother’s voice: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” I can just imagine her expression at so much of social media.
      Writer’s conferences and workshops can just provide such high value. Glad you enjoyed going!

  4. You ended this post with such wonderfully inspiring words Susan. you also set a fine example for how to deal with the haters in this world – have a good laugh- and I adored your definitions of ‘rich’ and ‘famous’. Thank you for the inspiration. 🙂

    1. I’ve always that old adage had it wrong: Living well is the best revenge. Instead, I’ve always thought that laughing is the best revenge! Of course, laughter is my prescription for many things 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it and here’s to being rich and famous!

  5. Honestly, I never thought about it. But that’s a good point. Why do we write? I love your answer for it! It’s time to sing!

  6. This post did it for me. I subscribed to get your 3 short stories & I bought the Kindle version of ‘I Just Came Here To Dance’. I won’t get to read anything until I take a real vacation, hopefully this summer, but knew it was long overdue. You delight with every word, inform & tell it like it is, so artfully. I feel lucky, blessed, honored that you are in our group.
    After my purchase, I read some of the reviews. I might not wait for summer.

    1. You humble me, Roz. Thank you! As do many of the reviews. Looking so forward to seeing what you think!

  7. Yes, I absolutely relate to everything you say in your post, Susan! Everything creative I do, has a, “to become rich and famous”, as a not so subtle undertone. But then again, I know I arrived on the planet this time with a goal of being “rich and famous”.

    Writing has always been who I am. People have always viewed me as someone who expresses herself well in words and reports are people have even kept cards I have sent them with a personal message I’ve written in it, because it touched them. I never really saw myself as a long-distance writer, so when I had the chance to write a book…it intrigued me. And as you know having read it, or at least some of it, it is really a collection of individual anecdotal stories which can stand on their own or hopefully read as an inside view of my life. My hopes were that it would become a huge best-seller and that someone would buy the movie rights and make a movie of it! Ha!! As far as bad reviews, the first two I got, I was so very upset. It was obvious they didn’t “get” it at all. 🙂 I took the advice of Gary Vaynerchuk and actually responded to them to engage them in a conversation to do exactly what you mentioned, to find out how to hone my audience and to make sure I was giving the readers what they wanted. I could go on and on…but I’ll stop here! Enjoyed the read. May we both find great satisfaction, riches and fame from our passion of writing!

    1. Aren’t reviews just such an odd piece of this puzzle, Beverley. But I’m intrigued–when you engaged with the negative reviewers, what was the outcome of that? I’ve always been told not to engage, so I haven’t (although folks have engaged some of them). Were you able to glean any useful information?

  8. Agree 🙂 And those/we who write does it most often because you have something you want to say, be it blogging or writing novels or other. And rich and famous, I agree, it is to put all in its own context. To find a good group of readers and to be able to afford to continue writing too. Nice article.

    1. That’s the whole ticket, Katarina–“to find a good group of readers and be able to afford to continue writing.” That’s the gratifying part!

  9. So nice to read your article. I feel the joy and amusement in your words and the flair of your spirit. May you always have the voice and pen for your song to touch others. Blessings…

  10. I feel your story Susan and can tell that you love writing.

    I enjoy writing also, but it is motivational material that moves me. The fact is that I am not always motivated and I need to be motivated, so I often write about that.

    1. And you are so motivating, Rachel! I always love your posts!

  11. I’m a writer that never planned to be a writer. It wasn’t until college that I had to do any major writing. Then, it was all about academic writing, and it continued when I became an educator and wrote for other educators. When blogging came along, I thought it would be an easy transition. Not so. It’s been a challenge to let go of the academics and be freer to communicate knowledge to a broader audience. As for rich and famous part, I’m sure I can write about that as well.

    1. Isn’t it funny how when you write something entirely different, it’s almost like starting over. I was a journalist by training, and the transition to fiction was a whole new world. Many academics come to me for editing as well, and what an eye opener it is for them!
      But you write beautifully, so, transition made 🙂

  12. Hi Susan,
    Really enjoyed your post as it made me think about why I write (blog) and you are right on about all of the reasons why we do 🙂 Wise words indeed…thank you for your inspiration, always 🙂

    1. We write for a variety of reasons, no? But I’ve just always loved Maya Angelou’s take on it 🙂 And your posts are so informative and well done, Joan!

  13. What a glorious way to express how I feel in my heart about my calling, my mission. Yes, there are people who don’t get it, and sometimes it hurts my heart. But I can’t stop speaking the truth of what I know. Thanks for the encouragement!

    1. You just keep speaking that truth, Carol. The world needs you!

  14. Being at conferences with like minded people and out of my normal setting jazzes me. I get so many ideas and feel alive. Looks like you had a great experience

    1. Aren’t conferences wonderful, Christy! They jazz me too 🙂

  15. Hi Susan,

    I really like your thoughtful post! When I started my business – before I create my website – a couple years ago, I was really concerned of writing because my Truth would bring so many changes into people’s lives.

    As much as exciting as it sounds, bringing the Truth to the light can have its drawbacks. There are many excellent writers out there who start with passion and then they get lost between their posts and their desire to be accepted by the audience.

    I hope you have a wonderful day! It was a pleasure visiting your blog again!


    1. It’s an odd balance, isn’t it, Zaria. We write because we have something to say. And also, for someone to read. That can be a delicate bridge to traverse!

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