I Write Even Though / I Write Because

Jun. 15th 2011

I write even though…

…there are no guarantees.

…some people hate my writing.

…sometimes all I can think in is cliches and mixed metaphors.

…brilliant books humble me as much as they inspire.

…I’ve racked up rejections and I don’t have an agent.

…self-publishing is still the bastard step child of the publishing industry.

…character voices fill my head and I talk to myself — a lot.

…others who are more talented than I am quit or slow down.

…every publishing statistic suggests the odds are against me.

…sometimes I’m the only one who believes.

But let’s turn it around.

I write because…

…it’s when I’m happiest. Even on tough days, I’m still happy.

…I love telling stories.

…I love sharing stories…and hearing back from readers who are moved by them.

…I love learning new things.

…there’s a sense of soulful satisfaction that occurs when I get a story “right.”

…there’s nothing I’ve ever done before in my life that feels as right as this, like I’m home and where I’m meant to be.

…stories reveal truths that too many of us have a hard time articulating until we see ’em in print.

…stories connect me to people and to the larger world.

…stories connect me to my Higher Self and that place where soul resides.

…it’s simply what I must do.

Why do you write?

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Posted by Robyn | in Creative Writing | 1 Comment »

Indie Writers: Credo & First Commandment

Feb. 16th 2011

If you had asked me a year ago if I’d ever self-publish, I would have given an emphatic “No.” At the time, I was busy at work on the draft of my second novel, and I was still caught up in the dream of landing an agent and a traditional publishing deal.

Now, I won’t lie: parts of those dreams still exist in me, but thanks to the digital revolution that’s taking place before all our eyes, I’m quite excited to be part of this venture. I don’t even cringe internally anymore when I tell people I’m going this route and that I’m self-publishing my work as eBooks.

That said, I’m aware of what some people — both fellow writers and readers — are thinking. Self-publishing is a last resort. Self-publishing means you couldn’t make it as a “real” writer. Most of the self-published stuff out there is crap. Blah, blah, blah. I don’t take it personally. How can I? I was one of the people thinking those same things not even nine months ago.

And here’s the dirty truth: a lot of crap is still being self-published. I mean “crap” in a totally objective way. In other words, the author doesn’t have the piece professionally edited (your mom and BFF don’t count, unless they’re editors in real life), resulting in numerous mistakes in punctuation and grammar. And the author hasn’t received sufficient feedback from beta readers on the story itself.

I think we indie writers have an important task at a pivotal moment in this revolution: we MUST be committed to putting out quality work, even more so than traditionally published authors, just by virtue of the fact that we self-publish, which, in essence, screams, “I feel strongly in this work and think it’s ready for prime time.”

Rushing something to market just because we can doesn’t mean we should (this isn’t an original thought, by the way). Unfortunately, those who do are the ones who really give self-publishing a bad name (and it’s the main reason I avoided it for so long). Thanks to people like Joe Konrath and Amanda Hocking and so many other serious writers who take pride in the quality of their work, that’s changing.

But we ALL must adhere to this first commandment in the indie writer credo: do no harm; put out the best work possible no matter what. And yeah, that might mean postponing the release or taking a step back to review the work one more time. Just to make sure. Do it (I’m doing it too). It will be worth it in the end. And maybe — just maybe — we can dismantle that ugly indie writer stereotype for good.

Indie writers, what do you think? Should this be the first commandment or can you think of something more important?

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