“ First write for yourself, and then worry about the audience”
To start this post, I couldn’t agree more with the above quote from “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King. It’s so important to remember WHY you are writing in order to produce good work (then edited in great work!). So perhaps this is the moment to question your purpose with your writing career. I will say that college did a poor job preparing me, mainly because being a writer doesn’t neatly fit in just one place in the job market, yet finding a job in writing can be tricky. Whether you are stuck at a job to keep you by or working freelance (or happen to nail down a writing job that pays well and you enjoy it), you don’t stop writing because the dream job hasn’t arrived, especially in regards to creative writing.
When I was in college, one of my professors (this was the only attempt to tell us how to use our degree in Creative Writing) told us that as writers, we can write about anything and become experts about anything. My first writing gig out of college was for a company that wrote about A/C units and plumbing. It was absolutely dreadful and the person I worked for was overwhelmed with work. It didn’t work out and I was scarred from freelance (I won’t share the details but I’m pretty sure the person I was working for was a fraud). So I began to focus on my creative work and opened several discussions over the years on why people write and their aspirations for writing. I wish I could say I found one or two answers, but the general consensus was any work (novels) to be written were for themselves because it would probably be self-published anyway (online). However, outside the circle of my friends, there appears to be other motives that end with publication and not just self-publication on Amazon. With that objective in mind, the story suffers.
So why write for yourself?
- Because you owe it your characters and the story
- You can view your progress as a writer and become more skillful
- Your audience will thank you
- You will never please every single reader—its impossible so you mine as well write the best damn story that YOU can think up
- Because I said to write for yourself and if that’s not good enough, so did Stephen King—and he will not be silenced!
Knowing you are Writing For Your Audience, for A Motive, For Everything else Except You:
- When you no longer have control of the story
- It’s predictable as hell or takes turns that may satisfy some people, but not others
- You completely feel like you are compromising yourself as a writer for someone else’s vision of your story
- It lacks your voice or style
Finding who you are as a writer and writing for yourself can be a tougher journey than the hell you put your characters through. Though let’s face it, life isn’t meant to be easy and life as a writer is a journey on a road paved with rejection, heartbreak, frustration, madness and luck.
Stephen King: On Writing
LOOK OUT FOR:
The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King, Set to release on November 3rd, 2015 (along with his short stories, there will be writing tips)