Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Who Do You Write For?

As a member of this eclectic, artistic community I have to say I've seen many quirk when it comes to the writing field. But I think where you see these quirks the most are when you ask a writer the following question:

Who do you write for? 

You're about as likely to find a common answer for that question as you are seeing a mime speak. Everyone writes for a different reason. I have one amazingly talented friend who has written and completed not one, not two, but three novels. Amazing novels. Fun, fast, quirky, good characters and amazing description. But she hasn't done anything with them. Nothing. Frustrated I asked why she didn't send them out into the world--these books would be well received! Popular even! And she shrugged her shoulders and said to me, "I don't write for people. I write for myself. I don't care if they never get read."

That killed me. Killed me. To me, its a huge waste of talent. Books that could be enjoyed by teens the world over. And she won't publish them because she writes for herself and no one else. But to her, it's not a big deal. She doesn't care about other's opinions. I have another friend who writes for her kids. She doesn't care all that much if others like it or not, she's just happy if her writing makes her kids happy.

But me?

I write for others. I don't write for myself at all. Seriously. In a YA book I wrote (the 1st in a trilogy that I have yet to get sent out. Oops.) I once stopped writing mid battle scene for two weeks because my friend who'd been making me turn in pages to keep me on task stopped asking.  I had a schedule of turning pages into her twice a week, and then she'd give me feed back. After two weeks went by said friend asked for the pages.

"What pages?" I asked, confused.

"The pages for you to turn in! It's been two weeks."

"Oh." I poured us some tea. "You never asked for them, so I didn't write."

"........You just stopped writing mid-battle? Seriously?" My friend asked in a horrified voice.


My friend's face was this:

She makes this face at me A LOT.
I when I say I write for people, I mean that very, very literally. I have such a good imagination that I can see it all in my head like a movie. I can watch it whenever I want. When I write it, it's because I a) love writing and b) I want to see other people's reactions to my writing. I love moving people. I love getting emails, or friends showing up at my house angry at being left at cliffhanger, and phone calls of "OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT JUST HAPPENED!". Love it. Thrive off of it. It's the whole reason I write.

When left to my own devices I am the laziest person in the world. Well, pretty lazy. Jim Gaffigan understands my troubles.

Really its just that my brain works at lightening speed and my body looks slow by comparison. I swear. But the point is, I don't write for myself. I write for others. Which is good for others because it means I will respond to every single one of your letters and e-mails as you're all a very important to me! On the downside, if I don't have people to write for, if I don't have some one pushing me and making me turn stuff in, finding motivation to write is incredibly difficult. Nearly impossible even.

I don't know if I'm the only writer to struggle with this. A lot of writers I know proudly declare "I write for myself. I don't write for others." But I do. I rely on people reading my work and keeping me on task, because I'm terrible at 'writing for myself'. If I don't have people reading my work and keeping me accountable I immediately turn in to a horrible downward spiral of "well, they're not asking anymore, so they must not have liked it. If they didn't like it it means I'm not a very good writer. Why am I bothering with this?" Or I just become lazy and start watching Dance Moms and House Hunters.

See how slippery that slope is? It's like riding a bus in Peru in the high mountains while it rains and then the bust swerves to miss the chicken in the middle of the road at 10,000 feet.....

Am I the only one who struggles with this? Do you write for others or do you write for yourself? Are you able to write and write and write with no one to push you, or are you like me and you need some one to give you deadlines and feedback? This author wants to know!

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