1. Tea@3
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    Tea@3 Contributing Member

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    Is your desire to be published separate from your drive to write?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Tea@3, Oct 17, 2016.

    or, "Whats behind your desire to become an author?"

    I'm exploring this topic with a few friends right now, and I thought I'd hit up my favorite forum for input and opinions. (yes, it's true, I love you guys. I cancelled my facebook but I will never leave this forum. :)

    I heard a guy say once that most people who try to become an author don't really want to be an author, or put in the work it requires; they just want to 'be seen as' an author. As in, they want the adulation they think they will receive. Do you agree? Do you think this is part of the drive?

    People always say (like a broken record) writers write because they must, and that they can't not write, and that they'd do it anyway regardless. But I am not talking about writing here. I'm talking about pursuing the path of becoming an author.

    Why does one seek that?

    Is it ever satisfying? Is there a want, behind the want? Is it the desire to be approved by others? Is it the need for adulation? Certainly it's not for the money. Or is it?

    I went to conference last month and by the time I left it just seemed like so much hullaboo. Everyone was fixated on becoming a bestseller. But I got to thinking, should it be about that? Is that the drive we need?

    Today, you can publish yourself with e-books, etc. What would be the impetus for an author to go down that path? Adulation? Money? Or some internal satisfaction? If it's internal, then why bother to have it published? Does the reader play a role in the 'drive' of an author?

    Does anybody else ever stop to think about these things?

    Thanks,

    --Tea
     
  2. Alex R. Encomienda
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    Alex R. Encomienda Active Member

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    Hmm; I'll speak only on my behalf.

    I write because it is my only way to represent what is in my head. I cannot sit there like Forest Gump and tell everyone that sits next to me the contents in my mind. I feel it has to be shared. It has nothing to do with ME; if I knew I was to die, I would give a notebook of everything I ever thought about writing to a trusted person and let them take the credit. I truly want these irrational and complex ideas to resonate with others. It is partly true that I need to write because I also use writing as an outlet. I think too much and speak too little; I live in my head.

    I heard people say that one cannot call themselves a writer unless they sell a book. So does that mean money should determine who you are? Does that mean others determine who you are? I don't think so.

    I want to traditionally publish my books because it makes sense. I already came to the conclusion years ago that I want to spend the rest of my life writing for the world. That was when I was 14. I am now 26 and my writing has only matured.

    Anyways, that's what I think.
     
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  3. Rob40
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    Rob40 Active Member

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    I'm on a mission to be a better writer and would like to write things of which others want to read more. Publishing it would be nice but that's not my ultimate goal, it's a byproduct to make it worth the time. I will try hard and produce work and in the end, if it happens, it happens. I've got fun ideas that I want to share, not because I want to make money selling books, because I think others would have a good time reading them.
     
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  4. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    To answer the thread title: yes. I know how unlikely it is for any one manuscript or any one author to be (traditionally) published. If I didn't enjoy writing there's no way I'd force myself to do it against such crap odds and for such crap financial return. I do it foremost because I like it.

    I recognise that type of writer from writing forums. I don't know if it's about adulation (are authors really adulated?) but they definitely want to author books without actually writing. I imagine they keep ghostwriters in business. :D

    Yup. I have many moments when I wonder why the hell I put myself through this, since I'm finding the process of seeking publication very hard on my nerves. I do not like to wait, and publishing is glacial.

    It's certainly not the money - I don't expect to make anywhere near my annual salary through writing. I'll be lucky to make as much as my six-month bonus through writing.

    It's not the prestige - I don't think being an author is all that prestigious, unless you're one of the few 'A list' authors that are household names. Now that anybody can be "published" with five minutes on Amazon, it's even less impressive to say you're published.

    Approval - This was a part of it. I needed people in the publishing industry to tell me I was good. But now I've been told that and I still have the drive, so I don't think this is the root of it.

    It's hard to analyse my own motivations but I think it's simply that I put a lot into writing (time, energy, emotion) and I want it to be read and enjoyed. It's the same as spending hours baking and decorating a cake - it might make you feel satisfied that you were able to do it, but even so it's going to feel like a bit of a waste unless other people eat it and enjoy it.
     
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  5. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    My impulse to write a novel, after nearly 50 years of being a voracious reader and student of literature, was simply to discover if I could.

    I decided to tell nobody I was doing it, in case it all went badly. I made up my mind to write an honest story, the way I wanted it to be, without worrying about what other people would think of it. (Too mundane, too racy, too sentimental, too old-fashioned, too this, too that.) I wanted to tell my own story, my own way, and make it into something I would want to read myself.

    Oh, boy. How much fun was that? And to discover that yes, I COULD write after all. I had tried writing before the days of wordprocessors, and found I was always just scribbling, crossing out, till everything was a total mess. My first wordprocessor, which I got in 1994, opened the door for me. It allowed me to make changes cleanly, to save old versions, to work quickly, to see my story as it would actually look on a page. I have never looked back.

    Although I didn't struggle with SPAG issues (I have a BA in English) I did need to unlearn the process of expository writing and learn the basics of creative writing instead—which I did mostly after the fact. However, I was delighted to discover that producing an emotionally satisfying novel was something I could actually do. Reading has brought me more enjoyment over the years than just about anything else, and it was wonderful to feel I could join the stream, so to speak.

    Publication wasn't a goal then, and isn't a driving goal now. I am too old to want to build a career as a writer (I'm retired from regular work now, and don't feel the need for another career.) I will self-publish rather than chase traditional publication with a book that's an unfashionable subject, and twice as long as today's first-novel standards. It's not important to me to make money at it. I am keen to write another book, but only because writing the first one was so much fun, and I've got a couple more stories I'd like to tell.

    I've had enough feedback from beta readers to know that some people really like the book, so that's good enough for me. I don't expect everybody to like it, but then again, no books or authors are universally loved, are they?
     
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  6. Foxxx
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    Foxxx Member Supporter

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    I write because I just want to share my story, in hopes that somebody finds it interesting, entertaining, and hopefully learns something.

    I write because it's cathartic, and it's the creative outlet that I happen to enjoy the most and am personally best at.

    And I write because I have views and opinions on the world. A lot of my fiction is speculative fiction, and / or it goes against the grain because that's simply in my nature. Whether or not people like it, let alone if it gets published, is a different ball-game out of my control. I can only hope, try, work, remember to have fun, and be the best I can be.

    I wouldn't say writing for money or fame's a bad thing. If one or both of those things constitutes as your primary, core drive though, I'd advise you take some time to reconsider, unless you're a savant.
     
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  7. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think I'd quit writing if I weren't getting published, so... I guess there's not much separation between the drives for me.

    Or maybe I'd write something else, something more self-indulgent, or I'd start seventy different stories and never finish any of them, or... fanfiction, maybe, but... yeah, I think I'd only write fanfiction if I had a good readership, so there's something about the act of publication that's important to me.

    I guess it's because that's what I think writing is about. It's a form of communication. In order for it to be communication, there have to be at least two brains involved. It doesn't matter what I write if no one ever reads it. It's not about prestige (I don't think there is any!) or money (I make three times as much from my day job as I do from writing), it's about sharing. Writing for no readers seems pointless to me.
     
  8. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    I don't really see the point in separating the drive to publish with the drive to write. I want to do both. You certainly can't publish without writing unless you hire a ghostwriter which really isn't the same thing. I've been writing for a long time. What I want to write and my reasons for it have changed over the years. But do I have to write? Probably not. If fact, I have gone stretches without writing and can't say I missed it. Maybe I needed a long break from it. For me, writing is a choice. I make the decision to write or not write every day. I have a hard time with the idea that anyone has to write. Things can happen in life where our dreams or desires have to take a backseat or just don't work out.
     
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  9. TheWriteWitch
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    TheWriteWitch Senior Member

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    Those two desires are all tangled up in my mind and I'm hoping they're forming a tight rope.

    This is an interesting question because I have not thought about it since I began working as a ghostwriter. I write and write and write and see projects get published under a different name. And, the funny thing is, it doesn't bother me at all.

    Everyone asks me about it and I like to point out that I'm getting paid to practice my writing skills, except there's more to it than that. I love the challenge of it. I love taking random, badly described, paragraph-long story ideas and figuring out how to turn them into full-blown novels. When I'm not writing, I'm thinking about characters, plot, conflict, or those little details that catch a reader's attention.

    Writing for other people is exhausting and it is currently taking a heavy toll, but I just can't be anything else at this point. I always wanted to be a writer, I always wrote, and I have to write or I irritate everyone around me.

    As for publishing, I want that too, but not for any grandiose reason. I just want to throw my characters and plots out into the world because I know there are readers that will find them interesting too. Then I'll have the fun challenge of answering to what those readers want and hope for. That is the best motivation I have for sitting down in front of a blank page, which is where I would be anyway.
     
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  10. Dr. Mambo
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    Dr. Mambo Active Member

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    I write for myself. I wrote a novel and two short stories before it even occurred to me to seek a publisher. For me it's never been about money or recognition or adulation. It's about creating something and honing it obsessively until I'm proud of it. Only then does anyone else get to read it. And so far, the response has been hugely positive. Hence, time to seek a wider audience.
     
  11. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    I write because it's what I've always done. I don't think it's so much a "writers need to write!" thing for me as it's just a habit I'm in. Not that I don't love it, but I'd likely be just as happy coming up with stories in my head and never really doing anything else with them. That's the part that I 'need' to do - it's not writing or publishing, it's just about stories to me. I do really like playing around with language and I was always a reader, so I ended up writing rather than drawing or pursuing film making or something else, I guess.

    Wanting to become an author comes from being a naive child (I was probably like eight years old or younger when I decided that's what I was going to do) who liked writing and just went, "Well, obviously I'll grow up and be an author then." Again, it's mostly just habit. What else am I going to do, right? I kind of outgrew the fantasy aspect of it and it's just what I've got now. Money's nice but writing (fiction) doesn't exactly rake it in, and there's very little prestige to go around if I cared about that.

    The only thing that really drives me towards publishing is a desire to put content out there that I would want to read or that would've been important to me when I was younger. Shoot me for being a social justice warrior if you like, but I really do think that representation is an important thing; my work has characters like me and plots that I relate to that I didn't get to see when I was a kid reading five books a week and don't get to see much now.

    It's not that I want respect or fame or approval or whatever - I'd be perfectly happy to toss my writing onto amazon or smashwords and make pennies off it if I thought it would reach the right people and make them feel things. But I'll be perfectly happy if I never publish anything again. And I'd quite possibly be perfectly happy if I never wrote again - though it would be weird, since it's been part of my life for so long.
     
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  12. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    Publishing's more a vector than an end goal for me.

    I'd love to be able to spend all day writing stories rather than ads. Getting published and being successful enough to make a living from writing stories is one way to do that, but given the odds of that happening, I feel like I'm more likely to get there faster by building up an ad agency and selling it for a ton of money. The odds on that also aren't great, but it still feels more achievable.

    I do like people to read what I've written, but I get enough of that buzz just sharing stories on Facebook. I guess it'd be cool to see my book on the shelves, but that's not what drives me.
     
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  13. Raven484
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    Raven484 Contributing Member

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    When I was younger, I loved to read. But every novel I read, even if I loved it, I felt I could tell a better story. Life got in the way and I had to put my writing down for a long time. I would think about it from time to time, but the thoughts of going through the publishing process really killed my spirit.
    With the rise of electronic self-publishing, I decided to make a real effort. Even if it wasn't perfect, I had plans to publish something. I has been a little over a year since I started. In the beginning I was really depressed with how bad my grammar had slipped. Now I grow in confidence everyday. Most of it I attribute to this forum.
    I have a very long story going that I think will take three books to tell. When I am almost finished I will definitely try the traditional way first.
    I think after this I will work on some of the many short stories that I have outlined and try and put something together on that.
    This has been one of the best years of my life. I feel like I have been born again.
     
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  14. Robert Musil
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    Robert Musil Contributing Member

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    This is a great question. Never really thought about it in these terms before, although I'd have to say that yes, I'd be lying if I said I was writing for the sheer enjoyment of it, or that I didn't care at all if anything I write ever gets published. Some adulation would be nice, although even just getting people to notice would be nice too. And whatever money comes out of it, if any, would be welcome.

    Although one can try for adulation and money, fame and fortune may be the more conventional phrasing of that, in any number of arenas, and I do think I chose writing because I think I have some facility with it and because it just seems like the most natural medium for me to communicate what I want to communicate. So it's not entirely instrumental for me, either.
     
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  15. amerrigan
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    amerrigan Member

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    One of the most important things I learnt during my time studying writing was the idea of ‘thinking about what you are writing in a historical context. How do you fit into history?’

    Why is this question so important? Because, today, we no longer remember that we are living, and working, in a ‘post-enlightenment’ world. We think that writers of the past were so smart and writers of today are lesser in comparison, so we question ‘should we be published or not?’ But this isn’t really the case for any of us. It is an illusion.

    Our place in history is still in that ‘post-enlightenment’ world. We are living in a post-printing press society. Even stronger, now, because it has the internet spreading out our ideas as well.

    Before the printing press, the bible was a text that was only read and interpreted by a select few. And, before you are ‘published’, your writing is like this ‘sacred document’ – only ever read and discussed by you and the voices in your head.

    But you don’t live in a world where it has to stay like this. You live in a world in which your ideas can stop being secret documents. They can go out and be read. (even if it is just a forum post). They can be interpreted by other people. And as more and more people begin to read them, they start to have different ideas about what you’ve written, because that’s what humans do.

    They interpret things differently.

    And they start saying ‘I don’t agree with that, and I don’t agree with that’ and then they go and write something themselves, and discourse and arguments start – this is the real reason most people give up on being ‘authors’, because they balk at the discourse and arguments they themselves create. This is the real ‘work’ of writing. To continue to create in a sea of people who disagree with you –

    But the reason those of us who continue to do it do continue - is because we somehow feel we have a place in history – consciously or not - whether we admit it to ourselves or not - - but we do:

    Because the discourse and arguments we create are the same kinds of discourse and argument that started over the Bible after it was printed, it is the same type of conversation that eventually lead to the formation of the United States and changed the societies around the world in which we all live today – our words have the potential to make great change – even trash fiction communicates with its readers in this exact same way – it shares thought - it can not stop itself from creating this type of discourse.

    But we look around today and we think we see that this form of debate is ending. So we question if we are really writing to connect with others or not. ‘Is your desire to be published separate from your drive to write?’

    We ask this because we think that, today, conversation and thought is being replaced with insults and garbage.

    But, this is exactly why it is so important to us that we continue to write and continue to try to get our words out there. We need to keep these kinds of conversation going, we need to communicate, we need to 'publish', and blissfully accept that others may not agree with what we say.

    Because that is how we find out what we actually think; and discover who we all really are...
     
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  16. G. Anderson
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    G. Anderson Senior Member

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    This is a question which I think about a lot myself. I think it's different for every author and isn't that great? After all, wouldn't it be sad if we all were the same and consequently told the same story? :)

    For me, I honestly think that they might be different impulses:

    Publishing; I'd like to get publishes for multiple reasons. Some honourable, some perhaps 'cold'. They include:

    - Telling the story I've had inside me for ever
    - Being heard. We probably all know the frustration we feel when we read something which we don't agree with and feel misrepresented. I think it's very natural to want to share who you are
    - Approval. Yes, I would like to lie and say I don't seek approval. But I do wish for it. To be seen as clever, funny, creative, etc.
    - Earning a living. Which you can do multiple ways, but earning a living from your passion means that you have more time to spend with your family and friends. Since you won't be spending all your spare time on your passion :)
    - Flexibility of job. As a woman, who wants children, I have to admit that the idea of being able to live from your own writing is also tempting, because it would mean I could work more flexible and from home as opposed to going to the office everyday

    But I'd still write even if I never get published, or never sell on Amazon, because:

    - I've got a lot of stories inside of me and putting them down makes my head clearer
    - I learn from stories. Both those I hear, read, see and write
    - It's meditative and a place where I can work with my feelings and emotions and thus become a better, happier person
    - It gives me a structure in my day and a sense of self-respect every time I finish somethings. And it trains my discipline

    So for me, yeah, I'd say they're different. The writing impulse is stronger than the publishing, but I do also believe that to get published you need to respect the commercial market and understand that your work will become 'public property'.

    Best,
    G.
     
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  17. Tea@3
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    Tea@3 Contributing Member

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    Thank you to everyone here for the great responses. I hope you will chime in again if you have anything to add.

    :)
     

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