I was reading Chuck Wendig’s post 25 Lies Writers Tell (And Start To Believe) and number 9 really hit home for me.
9. “I Write Only For Me!”
Then don’t write. Sorry to be a hard-ass (ha ha, of course I’m not), but writing is an act of communicating. It’s an argument. It’s a conversation. (And yes, it’s entertainment.) And that necessitates at least one other person on the other end of this metaphorical phone call. You want to do something for yourself, eat a cheeseburger, buy an air conditioner, take a nap. Telling stories is an act we perform for others.
I’ve never written for myself. I write because I want other people to read my stories. I write because I want to share my brain dumpings with others. If I knew with an absolute 100% certainty that I would never be published, never have an audience for my work, I would walk away from it all. I would gather up all of my stories and burn them. I would permanently delete all of my writing folders.
Why? Because writing is hard work. Putting together a coherent, engaging story takes time, talent, and skill. And I’m too lazy to put that amount of physical work into something that only I will ever love.
If I want to tell stories to myself, I tell them to myself in my own head. That way I don’t have to worry about pacing, or dialogue, or continuity. I don’t have to be coherent in my own brain. I don’t have to fret over telling too much instead of showing. And better still, I can actually ENVISION the story instead of having to rely on words which don’t always do a scene justice.
I was just saying to a writer friend that I love to write. I love the rush of a good writing sprint. I love seeing my characters come to life on the page. But I can walk away from it all without going crazy.