In writing groups, there is often an assumption that everyone else has their sh*t together and is much further along the trail to success than you are. Success seems to equate to being published.
So it was wonderful to read an article by Karon Alderman in Mslexia. Karon teaches English to adults and is training to be a dyslexia specialist (both laudable activities in themselves). She also writes novels. Except, none of her novels has been published, and her friends cannot understand why she spends so much time and effort working on them for…’nothing’…
There’s something non-writers need to understand about writers. Writing is never for nothing. Writing is compulsive. You derive pleasure and deep satisfaction from it.
Karon makes a fair few honest points in her article:
- Sometimes we simply do things because we can. Climb mountains, go surfing, write stories or articles, paint pictures. Many people in our population are now literate. What an utter delight to be able to read and write.
- Most writers have portfolio careers. Few can live on the proceeds of their writing alone. The path to writing is not linear.
- Can you call yourself a writer if you have not been published? Yes, of course. Just as you are a musician if you play the flute for fun. It is the process, not the product that counts.
- We all have other commitments, so writing fits in. It can be a fine hobby. Being a part-time nurse doesn’t make you any less a nurse. Part-time writer likewise.
- If writing for no reason other than enjoyment or personal catharsis has no point, why do anything at all? Most of life is pretty pointless if you remove duty and pleasure from it.
- Try writing because you can. Enjoy the process. It’s great to be read and to be in print, but I often write articles on my blog which are read by tens rather than hundreds – it is about the activity, creating something.
- If you write, you’re a writer.
- You could go to the gym, go shopping or watch daytime telly – or choose to write.
- Be it a personal diary, blog, memoir, article, or selection of stories, it all counts.
- Do join a writing group because, while all its members will have different projects, you are all simply wanting to write.
Thanks to Karon for her reminder that writing is not just about results. People keep asking when my current book will be ready. The answer is when it is done. I am enjoying the research and the writing/editing process; when I stop enjoying it or can do no more, then it will be ready to consider publication. Perhaps.