I have to admit I was overwhelmed by the responses to Friday’s Q4U post. I wasn’t able to read them as they were coming in since I was busy on the ski slopes (someone has to support Colorado’s #1 industry), but I read them all on Sunday and took some time to think about them. And then I realized maybe I should contribute my own thoughts on the subject of why we write.
I write to be read. That’s it. I want to communicate, and I think everyone does. Like Chatty Kelly commented, “I like to talk. I like to be heard.” Like Mark Adair wrote, “I think we all have 2 basic needs: to be loved and appreciated AND to love and appreciate others.” Like XDPaul said, “There is, in my opinion, absolutely no reason whatsoever to sacrifice one’s spine, fingers, mind, relationships and time in pounding out 90,000 words of fiction except to be read.”
I’ve always written, but I’ve never had any interest in writing for myself. Communicating with others is where it’s at for me. I’ve never wanted my name on the cover of a book. I’ve never dreamed of making a living from my words alone. But since I loved words and reading and writing, I always found ways to be involved with books and writers without having to do all the writing myself.
I’ve ghostwritten eight books; six of them have my name in the acknowledgments, two don’t mention me anywhere, none has my name on the cover. None of that matters to me. I just really liked writing them, and they were a way to use my natural gifting to help support my family.
I’ve been blogging for nearly three years now. (I had another blog before this one.) This is the bulk of the writing I do, except for email, and it fulfills my need to communicate just fine.
But I also understand that publication is the ultimate validation and stamp of approval that most writers are looking for. It’s a perfectly natural desire. We all need to know that what we’re doing matters. Commercial publication serves as that validation.
I particularly agree with the following comments left on Friday’s post:
“Publishing is not the stamp of approval that God has called someone to write.” (Jen)
“Being published isn’t a calling. It’s a recognition that what you have produced is commercially feasible.” (Barbara Early)
“Writing is God-made. Publishing is man-made.” (Liz.)
Everyone has their own answers to these sticky issues, and I appreciate your sharing them with me. Tomorrow we’ll move on to something else. Meanwhile, if you think of any other provocative questions I could pose on the blog, leave them in the comments. Thanks!
Rachelle Gardner, Christian literary agent, WordServe Literary Group, Colorado.