Thursday, October 23, 2008

Writing... Accept No Substitute

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the responsibilities necessary to maintain a successful career. Between blogs, websites, appearances, conventions, networking, editing, and all the other things that go into getting the best book you have to offer in front of as many people as possible, one might wonder when we find the time to actually… write. Oddly enough, there’s more time for that than you might think. It’s amazing how many words can be committed to pixel in as little as an hour a day.

But in the midst of keeping up with all the other stuff, we must never forget our primary responsibility. What is that you say? Our responsibility to our publisher? That’s important, but nope. Our responsibility to our fans? Not quite, but we’re getting warmer. No, I’m referring to our responsibility to ourselves, to write what makes us happy.

As much as we love, need and hope to have more of them, readers may come and go. You’re only as good as your latest book after all. Have you ever stopped reading books by a certain author after being subjected to a particularly horrible offering?

It’s horrible to think about, but the sad truth is that even finding a great publisher doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a long and happy writing career. True it’s not a daily occurrence, but there have been several publishers who seemed to be doing well enough, suddenly up and shut their doors. The first book I ever had accepted fell victim to this very scenario. It was eventually picked up by one of my current publisher’s but it was still quite heart-breaking at the time.

At the end of the day, the only aspects of writing career that really matter our will to write and to what level of ability we do so. It only makes since that we should write what moves us, not what moves the market. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with your great opus, you’d better be happy, no damned well overjoyed with your characters and your story. By the time you get through the editing process and well into pushing your book, you will be more familiar with the thing than you ever thought possible.

So an author’s responsibility is to themselves, their vision and the written word.


  1. Great post James. You are so right, our first and most important responsibility is to ourselves. If we don't do what we love then the rest of it doesn't even matter. If there are no books, we are not authors to begin with. Well said!

    I have to say this week was one of the most enlightening we've had on the Grip in a while.

    Authors have so many different responsibilities, and we've only touched on a few of them. Yet for aspiring authors it must seem overwhelming to see what we all do every day of the lives of our books.

    Dakota Rebel

  2. Thank you, ladies.

    Oh, it is so true, Dakota. I know when I was an aspiring author, I had no idea what I was in for once that first book was released. :D

  3. Good point, James. My editor tells me repeatedly "Write what you are burning to write." I believe that.

  4. Its not just about writing. it is all about creativity; which is a function of love and care, not indifference. Creativity needs passion, aliveness, energy. Creativity needs that you should remain a flow, an intense passionate flow.

    You should be deeply in love with what you write, so much so that you disappear in that love and become just a pure creative energy.It should be an act of prayer.

    Whatever you do, if you do it joyfully & lovingly and your act of doing it is not purely economical, then it is a creative.If you have something growing out from within you and if it gives you growth, then you are creative, spiritual , divine.

    If you are looking for fame, or wealth through the act of creation, then you miss, because then you are a politician, ambitious.

    Your creativity should be your love affair.If money, fame, and trend is your only concern, then you might succeed in the outside world, but fail miserably inside.

    Only technician is result oriented, not so a real artist. For an artist the joy last as long as the act of creation lasts.

  5. James! Excellent post! You hit on some of the things I believe deeply and one of the things that's both a fear and a pet peeve.

    I think this has been quite a week on the Grip. I love the different directions this topic has taken.


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