Why Do We Write?

What motivates someone to sit down at a keyboard and write 75K words? Then attend writer’s meetings for critiques, spend months editing, find beta readers, design a cover, and lastly, format and upload the aforementioned 75K words?

If your motivation for all of the above is to be famous, have book signings, or an interview with Oprah, then I heartily suggest you find something else to do.

We write because we have stories to tell. We also go through the whole grueling process because we want to see our name on something worthy. The final product brings a certain element of satisfaction and a sense rebellion. An unnamed fire burns within indie authors. Some may call it a muse, while others refer to it as inspiration. We write because of our collective love of literature.

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The satisfaction comes from completing your project, like painting a room or crocheting a sweater. The rebellion comes from being independent. After all, as an Indie Author, your story welled up from your soul, not from a marketing computer within a publishing house in Manhattan.

However, we market and advertise to sell. There’s no shame or “sellout” factor if you want to reach readers. I am not familiar with any artist working within any medium who does not seek an audience. Even if you don’t have an advertising budget, social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Snap Chat, et al are free. But that is the subject for a different post.

For a few years, I’ve been noticing a certain similarity between Indie ‘gurus’; those wise sages who dispense free self-help via social media. Just as people in real estate chant the mantra “location, location, location,” these folks cheer, “titles, titles, titles,” with equal enthusiasm. To be brief, they’re right. However, their advice should also include a caveat or at least an amendment to their cheer. The mantra should be… “quality titles, quality titles, quality titles.”

In a previous post concerning my random scan of samples on Amazon, I stated that the three most prevalent errors were echoing headwords, weak opening sentences, and overusing forms of ‘to be’. Perhaps rushing the writing process to amass titles is the cause.

I wonder why most Indie authors lack the extra layer of polish. After all, reading craft books, attending critique groups, and finding beta readers, are an essential part of churning out a quality product. Even if you can’t afford an editor, craft books and blogs are replete with editorial instructions and tips from plotting, character creation, dialog, show vs. tell, etc.

As I turn this problem over in my mind, I keep going back to the “titles, titles, titles” mantra as the influence. Well intentioned and true advice, but only loosely defined.

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Short Stories by Ernesto San Giacomo

 

 

 

Every Time You Reply – “Little Frankie” Doesn’t Cryfrancesco25

7 thoughts on “Why Do We Write?

  1. I wish I could get more titles out, but life and work has been getting in the way. If I rushed things, I would not be happy with the outcome. However, I know others who rush and their quality suffers. I think it’s important for those new to publishing and those who are caught up in the fever to remember it takes time. And this post should encourage them to take that time. Strive for quality not quantity.

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  2. Hi Diane 🙂
    Sorry for not responding faster, but little Frankie kept me occupied all day.
    Rushed work never comes out well. It’s true for cooking, painting, carpentry, et al, so it shouldn’t work for writing either. I find that when I take the time to reflect upon things, everything turns out better in the end.
    Then there is also the “learning curve” aspect. There was a point when I thought my first chapter was as good as a first chapter could be. Now I look back at that draft and cringe.
    I had a great plotting pace, interesting characters, and character driven dialog. However, I over used certain words like…was, look, felt, that, repetitive body language, etc.
    Now I have 15 of 28 chapters loaded into my beta manuscript….almost can’t wait, but I’m employing patience.

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  3. Wise words. Still, in my experience, it’s “quality titles + quality marketing.” Without the latter, you won’t get far even if you’re the next Stephen King. OK, maybe you will in that case, but for us mere mortals, you do need careful promos.

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    • Hi Nick
      Quite true, I completely agree. But I think we should completely separate the writing process from marketing.
      I’ve actually seen Facebook posts from Indies like…”I really have to produce two more titles this years because I need money,” or “I’m writing a YA teenage vampire love story because that genre sells.”
      The creative muse should be the driving force which inspires the writing. The inspiration behind marketing should be the desire for an audience and the almighty dollar.
      Although I have to admit, the “marketing bug” hasn’t bitten me yet, because my book isn’t complete.
      I’ve tried with my short stories, but it is very difficult and disheartening to sell a 15 page short story for .99 cents when others sell books for that price.
      I still write shorts for love of the art form, knowing I might get a whopping 15-20 sales. 🙂 Perhaps that is what prompted me to think about distinguishing between the two processes of writing and marketing.

      Liked by 1 person

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