A friend of mine remarked to me last week that she could not imagine why anyone in their right mind would write a novel since there was no immediate compensation. She was puzzled by my career choice. “At the end of the week I know I’ve earned X amount of dollars. But you’ve written a novel and you’re not getting anything until you find a publisher.” That’s true, I admitted. But there are some very legitimate reasons why I write, I explained. Then, of course, I had to come up with those reasons. Here’s my list of reasons why writers write:
Boatloads of Money
James Patterson, Stephen King, Nora Roberts… they’re all pulling in cash, making boatloads of money, right? Isn’t that what happens when a writer lands a contract? Fame and fortune must surely be around the corner.
Okay, so the reality of the situation is that earning a living as a writer means that there will be weeks when you only have enough money to use ketchup to make tomato soup. At the time, this might seem like a rational thing to do. But the writer persists, knowing that Stephen King started in much the same way.
Prefer to Work in my Pajamas
This is a no brainer. Who doesn’t prefer to start the work day at home, dressed in cozy pajamas with a mug of steaming flavored coffee? Maybe the flavored coffee part is just me, maybe you prefer tea, but you get my point. This is definitely a point in favor of the writing life.
I Have Something to Say
Everyone has something to say. Unfortunately we are constantly surrounded by things people have to say, whether it’s on the internet or the old fashioned radio and TV. With all that unnecessary verbiage floating around, the writer focuses on whittling away and presenting only the essential for introspection, hoping to give humanity insight, wisdom and maybe even humor. Yes, I have something to say, but my ultimate hope is that it refocuses your world view or maybe in some small way makes you feel less alone.
The Writing on the Wall
My brother said this best when I was barely a teenager. He told me, “You’d better be a writer when you grow up. If you don’t write your stories down, you’re going to start seeing them written on the walls.”
Since I have no intention of losing myself to insanity, I have done what he suggested. Surprisingly, I think he was correct.