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Why write?

08 Oct

 

Once upon a time, I was quite active in a forum, and I was telling them all about NaNoWriMo, and writing.  I made a comment about how NaNoWriMo was hard for some people, because their internal editor gets in the way.  I said

I guess that’s where I am privileged. I am a really bad writer, so I have neither the desire, nor the ability, to improve it as I go along.

To which one of the other contributors said

D7, do you HONESTLY think that? Honestly? Then why bother? Why not take up cross stitch or chess for a hobby? You obviously feel you have something to say.
SOooo I dare you to let one of us (or more) be the judge. Then if we agree with you, we’ll say so and put you out of your misery, or else tell you you’re not awful, and still achieve the same goal! Then everyone’s happy?

To which I responded, by taking their question line by line, as follows:

 

D7, do you HONESTLY think that?

No, I am an arrogant SOB and I think everything I do is perfect. I was just fishing for compliments from those of you who have actually read some of my stuff.

Honestly?

You’re asking a lawyer?

Then why bother?

Why did Hillary climb mountains? Because they were there.
Why did Biggs rob banks? Because that’s where they keep the money.
Why do writers write? Because a writer writes.

You can read "Snoopy’s Writing guide" and "No Plot. No Problem" until you are blue in the face, but if you want to improve as a writer, you have to write.

I used to be a good writer. (By my own standards at least) But I don’t write very much any more. This forces me to do it, and see how I can get better. Otherwise I sink into darkness and despair from lack of motivation.

Why not take up cross stitch or chess for a hobby?

I did take up chess. I wasn’t very good at it. But I kept doing it for 20 years, and got pretty good. Then I stopped playing for 5 years for personal reasons, and now I play every chance I get, because I am just not as good as I used to be.

D7, do you HONESTLY think that? Honestly? Then why bother? Why not take up cross stitch or chess for a hobby? You obviously feel you have something to say.

There’s your answer. Since when was having something to say reserved for those with talent. Shouldn’t literary midgets get to stand on the shoulders of giants on occasion just to admire the view?

SOooo I dare you to let one of us (or more) be the judge. Then if we agree with you, we’ll say so and put you out of your misery, or else tell you you’re not awful, and still achieve the same goal! Then everyone’s happy?

Except that I never write for other people. I never have. So being good, or awful is not likely to make me happier or less so. Unless you can guarantee lots of fiction groupies with loose morals and looser clothing throwing themselves at me once I start publishing I think I will stay in obscurity and doubt. Happiness is for people who don’t eat chocolate.

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Posted by on October 8, 2010 in Ponderings

 

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