by Peggy Bechko
…And One Unquestionable Reason Not To
Well, here we are again writers – or those contemplating being writers, or those who really shouldn’t be considering writing.
It seems like it’s about time to consider why you, as a writer, want to write. No, no, I don’t mean the airy fairy stuff where we get all philosophical on the wonders of the written word. I mean let’s get down, dirty, and face reality.
Look, if you don’t know why you do something how can you focus on what you’re trying to achieve with your writing?
So, let’s think.
1. Do you write for money? Is that your main motivator? You want to earn enough money from writing to live comfortably. Nothing wrong with that. In fact it’s a good motivator for what we do. Or, if not good, then at least a strong one.
Most writers here may well be in the fiction end of things – mostly screen scripts, some novel writers. That’s not the easiest money-maker, but not impossible either. If that’s your love, then go for it.
If money is the ONLY factor motivating the writer then there are other avenues as well. Copywriting, blogging, technical writing, an article writing, journalism…a whole slew of other venues. Think about it.
2. Maybe writing appeals because you have a vision of working your own hours on your own terms in your own place. That’s good too.
3. Perhaps the writing goal is to teach. Then the writer is in the non-fiction mode. It can be books, articles, textbooks, whatever you have the expertise to write. That also expands into the business world where people write white papers and a whole lot more.
4. Another reason for writing is the sense of accomplishment frequently coupled with the desire to entertain. The novels and screen scripts I mentioned above. The writer may even think he or she wants to leave a legacy, something that lives on after they’re gone. Something that might leave if not a monetary inheritance, then a memory of pride.
5. Many writers write because they want not only to be published or produced, but are focused on winning. Maybe a Pulitzer prize if an author. Maybe an Oscar for a script. Maybe just being acknowledged as number one in his or her field. Lofty goals, and not unattainable.
6. The last one I’ll mention is writing for the love of it. Yep, a writer who loves writing writes. If it feels so wonderful to write that the time flies by and the end of the day appears with sunset without the writer hardly being aware of it, then that’s love. Living for the moment when the story – script or novel – really takes off and comes to life as the words spill onto the page, that’s love of writing. It’s a kind of magic.
So, what’s the one Unquestionable reason not to write? It’s pretty simple. If the only reason you write is you think you’ll magically become an instant best-seller or be nominated (and win) an Oscar on your first script which will be scooped up by the biggest producer in Hollywood, then you should probably reconsider writing as a career. Every kind of writing takes work, study and patience to get launched. It’s not instant fame and fortune through any path.
My last bit of advice? Ponder WHY you write. Really, be honest with yourself. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. There’s no right or wrong motivation other than the one mentioned above. Once you get it in your head what your motivation is, the path forward will get just that much easier.
Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. Learn more about her HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page