“Generally speaking, men’s judgements are based more on appearances than on substance. Everyone can see what you appear to be but only a few people are able to apprehend who you really are, and those few will hardly want to contradict the majority.” – Niccolo Machiavelli, ‘The Prince’
Until a few years ago (maybe 5 or 6), I spent quite a lot of time listening to voices, click-clack away on my computer, making mad notes on my Blackberry (yep, that’s how long ago it was), and writing on anything; back of a receipt, front of a receipt, uncurled sticker sticks (personal favorite). My family is very accustomed to my insanity. (It’s not like they have much choice. Oh great, mom’s hearing the voices again!) It becomes increasingly embarrassing to have the voices appear when out in public with other people, especially when they have no idea you write, and of course it’s awkward to explain that you’ve just GOT to get this scene down real quick, or throw down some INSANE piece of dialogue that’s just occurred to you. Because what’s the very first thing they ask when you explain how sorry you are but you’re in the middle of writing this piece and you just need to jot something down really quick.
Are you published?
That’s the definition of a writer isn’t? If you aren’t published (like me), then you can’t possibly be a writer. Well, I say anyone who is spending loads of time wrapped up in an imaginary world they’ve created for other peoples enjoyment, and who spends hours a day deciding how to describe a character’s outfit or house or inventing the reason why she’s on the run from the law, is in fact a writer. The publishing bit is just the glory at the end of the rainbow.
Would I like to get one of my stories published? absolutely It’s the holy grail a writer is supposed to shoot for. It is’t exactly for lack of trying. I have submitted (last time in 09), and I received some really standard rejections, and one very lovely one, who while saying no, did at least compliment my writing by saying I really understood the emotions of my characters.
So that’s something right?
Here’s where we get to the point of this post.
I’m hearing voices again. That hasn’t happened in a few years. I’ve gone back over some things I’ve written in the past, one in particular I never ended up finishing for lots of reasons none having to do with the actual story (which was read by about 10 people who all really thought it had potential). But this is the first time in a long while that the characters are keeping me up at night, scrambling for my phone to make notes while out and about, and inviting me to seek out cafe’s to write in (something I don’t normally do).
These are good voices. My lead character has all kinds of sarcastic comebacks, and jaded views on his life, and plenty of intelligence. There are pages upon pages of notes, character sketches, random bits of dialogue I want to use down the line. My most side eyed look from my family came when I ordered this book. It’s fascinating and proving that my character could have and did disappear in a logical way. I’ve also been reading many a psychological thriller to help me develop my writing (read what you write). So far I’ve read some crap, some good, and pretty much scared myself silly peeking out the curtains at midnight and making sure I did set the house alarm.
If you write, write, don’t worry so much about the publishing part. It happens if it happens. I have never heard of a writer who wrote only because they wanted to be famous or published. Writers write because they have a story to tell and they write for the pleasure of telling that story.
I’m writing to tell a story. If it goes somewhere into the world and someone decides everyone should read it, that would be amazing. It’s the icing on the cake. I’m writing to write, because that’s what I like to do.
Write on my fellow writers. Do it because you want to, not because you have to.