Writing is not for the faint of heart. It can be a lonely existence. Perhaps the biggest fear of a writer is that no one will read what you write. What if you write and publish a novel that nobody reads? Are you a writer if no one reads what you write? Do we simply write for the sake of others reading what we write? Sounds a little self-serving doesn’t it? It can also be a humbling experience as well.
I recently self-published my third book. After over two years of writing, editing and trying to find an agent (unsuccessfully), I put my novel out into the ebook universe. The book sales haven’t exactly rolled in and I still have to work my day job. To date I have only sold ONE book. ONE. Nothing to brag about. Talk about humbling. I guess one is better than none. I don’t know who that one person is but they did give it five stars.
I also paid $250 for advertising for another book and now I wish I had that $250 back. That advertising campaign netted ONE book sale. Does one or two books sales make me a failure as a writer? It depends on perspective and expectations.
So why do I write? I have asked myself that question many times when I get a little down about the results. But then I realize I keep writing and I can seem to stop. It’s just something I do. I am hooked. Addicted.
I am a writer because I write.
It certainly isn’t for the fame and fortune because that hasn’t happened and the reality is that it isn’t likely to happen. Most writers have the fantasy of hitting it big. Publishing a bestseller. Quitting their day jobs for writing books. When you are a writer, you have to manage your expectations. If you don’t, you WILL be disappointed. In order to manage your expectations, you have to constantly adjust your writing to meet those expectations.
I have come to the conclusion that I will no longer write anymore books. Writing novels is a long, grueling process. If no one is going to read it then why put myself through it? I have some drafts of other novels and outlines of others but I doubt that I will publish them. I think it’s time to focus on other writing that isn’t so grueling such as blogs, short stories and shorter projects. Again, it’s part of managing your expectations.
Being a writer means you write. You do it because you feel that you must do it. Writers take a leap of faith when they write. Writing will either be read or it won’t. That’s the risk we take.
Maybe the reason I write is because I am an introvert. I don’t say much in person so the words on a screen or a page does a better job of expressing my thoughts. My voice is usually not heard or silent so writing is probably my voice.
So I write. Sometimes for others but mostly for me.
“I write because one day I will be gone, but what I believed and felt will live on.” Shannon L. Alder