From The Editor: Write Because...

From The Editor:
Write Because...

©2001, Lazette Gifford

There are writers out there -- some published, but more often not -- doing their best to instill beliefs that will stifle creativity and make certain you never enjoy the art of writing.

These people are teaching others that work and fun are two wildly divergent beasts, and that if you love and enjoy doing something, then it isn't work.  In our society, if it isn't work, it isn't important.  Work also equals financial gain.  There must be gain that you can wave in the face of others when you're done.  If you cannot, you've failed.  

The art of creation is being trampled by a line heard far too often in writer's groups -- but what if I put all this time into the story, and it doesn't sell?  How many stories have never made it from head to paper because of that question? 

I have watched people subdue any joy they might have in creating stories, beating it down until writing becomes something they have to force themselves to do, whimpering about how much they hate it the entire time -- all in order to be serious writers.  People won't take it seriously if it isn't work, you see.  And it can't be work if they enjoy it.

A writer can have breathtaking, imaginative stories growing in her mind, but why bother to even try to write such a story under these conditions?  What if it doesn't sell?  What if someone walked into the room and saw you smiling at the screen while you typed?  What if your first draft wasn't perfect? Why -- why the computer would know, wouldn't it?  You'd be ruined, and never be able to write again for the shame of it.  And what if you got a rejection!  You'd be the only person who ever got a rejection on a story they labored over, right?

Stop buying into the cultural lies that are never going to apply to authors.  Writing is hard work, but there is no reason you can't enjoy doing it.  We are not sitting here typing data into entry forms, so don't try to make it feel as though you are.  And don't lie to yourself, and pretend that you're in it for the money.  You'll make more per hour working at McDonald's.  Very few writers can support themselves on their writing, and fewer still become rich.

Write for the joy of creating something that is yours alone.  No one else is going to tell that story in the same way.  Every voice is unique, and though some of you may still need training, you aren't going to do better by denying yourself the right to enjoy your work.

There are very few true writers out there, but there are a lot of people who tell you that they'd write that novel, if only...  If only they had the time?  Someone to do the work for them?  A vision of the story?

If only it were fun? 

I have only one true rule in my life:  Write for the joy of writing.