Wednesday, July 5, 2017
You Know What You Should Do (An IWSG Post)
It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writers Support Group!
(I'm assuming that, by now, anyone coming to this blog will know all about the IWSG, but if you're new and you'd like more information, or a complete list of participants, please click on the above link.)
This month's fabulous co-hosts are Tamara Narayan, Pat Hatt, Patricia Lynne, Juneta Key, and Doreen McGettigan.
This month's question asks, "What is one valuable lesson you have learned since you started writing?"
Which I'm kind of answering. Or might be answering. I'm not sure yet. We'll have to see how the post goes.
All right, so, back in New England, I belonged to a writers group. And, for a while, there was a member of this group with whom I would constantly butt heads. If we both attended a meeting, there was a better-than-excellent chance that we would end up having an argument. There was one very simple reason for this:
He thought he knew what every writer should be doing.
Every writer, he would say, should want an agent and a big six (or is it five now? Wasn't there a merge in there somewhere?) publisher. Every writer should want to be on a bestsellers' list somewhere. Every writer should want a movie deal. Every writer should want fame and fortune.
"Otherwise," he would say, "what's the point in being a writer?"
Well, I took great offense at this. Because not every writer is the same. Not every writer wants the same things. In that particular group, we had a few members interested in publishing, but more weren't. It was just the composition of that particular group. There was a woman who composed poetry simply because she liked it, and quite a few members who were writing their memoirs and/or family histories because they wanted their children or grandchildren to have them. They weren't interested in publishing. They wrote for the joy of writing.
And that man just couldn't comprehend it. So we fought a lot. Because he would make these writers feel bad about what they wanted. He would make them feel like something was wrong with them because their goals weren't his goals.
And that pissed me off. So I told him. Loudly. And frequently.
Because I am a firm believer that all writers are different and, therefore, may want different things. And no one gets to decide what those things are but you, the writer.
Because it's your work.
Want to keep everything you've written in a box under your bed? Okay. Want to get yourself an agent and a big six (five?) publisher? Good for you. Want to self-publish your masterpiece? Great. Want to have a bunch of photocopies made at your local Staples to hand out on street corners? Wear sunscreen. Don't know what you want to do? Do the research, talk to the people who have been through it, and then decide.
But always remember that the decision belongs to you. There may be people who don't like it, wouldn't have chosen it for themselves, and think you're crazy, but who cares? As my good friend, Tina Fey, would say...
But that's my opinion. We welcome yours.