Writers Have to Write. Right?
Why do I Write?
My stock answer to that is often the glib reply “Because they pay me to. . “
What a weird joke ! I love playing with dogs, and they would pay me for that too, so why do I spend time writing? I could take a dog for a walk along the magnificent Pippi Beach. I would enjoy it. The dog will too, and the dog’s Humum [male or female] will also love it. What's more, I will definitely make more money than sitting at a keyboard thumping out words. . . .
A writer reads. It is often the love of reading that leads one to write. For me it started in admiring the writing of great authors, the way the words are crafted to create an image in my mind. Some writers can captivate me to a point where nothing else around me exists except what I am reading. Some people are like that when watching a movie, I am told. The writer who can lead me to see his view as clearly as if it were on screen, becomes my idol, my teacher, and at times, my friend.
Art or Craft?
Then came the realization that each author had a style, a way of expressing what was inside the head. Some ooze eloquence, and I marvel at their mastery over words. Some excel in saying much in very few, judiciously placed words. It is a skill the way they craft the words, but they also have the imagination of an artisan.
Most of my favorite authors have the ability to evoke imagery in my head, to engage me in the subject matter and even to elicit much thought about a conundrum they introduce. They can easily encourage me to follow the links [or references] that they include, to find out more about it.
Can I Do It?
When I started writing, it seemed like a natural progression. I did not dream of publishing then. The internet has done much for us who like to read or write and I later realized that writing eased my tension by allowing me to release what is inside. It is this catharsis that prompts the impulse that keeps me tapping away at the keyboard
I write because I love to read, and I need to pass on some of the wealth of information that I have gleaned through poring over books, pamphlets and screens .
It gives me joy when someone else reads it and writes back. Do you feel like that too?
When James Boswell wrote the The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. (1791) ,he says that 'Johnson uniformly held to that strange opinion, which his indolent disposition made him utter: 'No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.'"
In his book William Safire On Language. (Times Books, 1980) William Safire said - “I write because I enjoy expressing myself, and writing forces me to think more coherently than I do when just shooting off my mouth.”
My friend Meg says : Why do I write?" To release all my emotions and share them. It's a need. It's a sweet addiction to the written word."
This really struck a chord with me. Oh Meg, I understand that need very well. We must be identical twins, you and I. I subscribe to that opinion too. Long ago I used to write long letters to friends and family. I guess that was because writing - rather than talking - gave me time to gather my thoughts, and set them coherently. I doubt that I need to say, that I am not a very good talker! I tend to trip myself up.
Writing for Newspapers, Computers, Mobiles.
Thumping out words on a keyboard is fine. They tumble out as if my brain is on fire. . .
But what about the rest of the stuff that one has to learn to send the writing to a good publisher? On this site alone there are are Google Analytics, Views, Impressions, Ad Sense. Amazon, eBay. . . .each one has a slightly different protocol, requiring that I learn new words, new jargon, new systems. These things are the thorns of the proverbial rose.
I have never written a whole book. That would give me scope to describe personalities I like; and those that I do not like can be woven into the story as the anti-heroes! Ha!Ha!! That would release the frustrations I get with some people that rub me the wrong way.
It would allow me to add in episodes from my own life, and maybe tweak them somewhat to have them sound more interesting than they originally were. I have done that in some short stories I wrote. It is great fun, to play around with creating what you want.
One has to be very well organized, disciplined and be addicted to excellence if one is to get a publisher to look at a new book.
I am not writing a book, but writing Articles. This too requires a yen to excel, and despite having experience and knowledge about some topics that I write about, I still need to do extensive research and document what I intend to use from it.
The beauty of writing articles is that one can write just about anything and everything that one is conversant with. Ideas are all around us, and someone, somewhere is going to want to know about it, if I write about it in an interesting way!
The "How" of it All.
I write furiously for a while, then I start reading back what I have on paper. I add some more, then I rearrange sentences, transpose paragraphs, add bits and delete others.
After that I cast a critical eye on the length of the article, the grammar, punctuation and syntax.
Next in line are the photos, pictures and info-graphics to illustrate what I am saying, and to give the reader a break from the hundreds of letters on a page.
You are probably aware that there are hundreds and thousands of images on the net, sitting there, just for the taking. But as creative artists ourselves, we are very much aware of respecting others’ Intellectual Property Rights for Digital content. That is the norm for us writers of quality articles.
The difficulty is in the search for the owner of the image, and to identify the correct license attached to it. Fortunately, we do have some help in that department. I can right click an image and ask Google to find the image for me. It often shows me the same picture in different settings. Sometimes it leads to the information I require, but not always. So back I go, to digging my way to the original source.
I also use TinEye sometimes comes out with statements like “Searched over 7.144 billion images in 0.433 seconds”. Of course I have no way of contesting that. However, it often leads me to the original source, and that then to the license information I need.
Let It Go.
Eventually I come to a point where I feel it is time to let HubPages publish it for me. Oh joy. . my first bub out on its own two shaky little legs, out in the big wide world of writers.
Do you remember how you felt when your child went to school for the first time? This to me, feels the same. My new article personifies a bub going to Kindergarten!
I set up a vigil. How long will it take HubPages to tell me whether it makes the grade? The Hub Score and the legend “Featured” are what I am looking for. That is the first bar and I breathe a sigh of relief if that is all good.
Then come the views as they appear in the daily statistics. Within the first few hours I might get something like 5 views. Now this is before my toddler article has taken any steps. So who has ticked the right boxes for my article to get those few points? It’s a mystery to me. Would you know ? Nobody has yet offered me an explanation.
Any time I dare, I go to check the views. Maybe the clock has turned half a turn, and given me a few more views?
They tell me this is quite unusual; but just after I let my toddler Article out on its own, it happened to me. All clocks stopped! My! my!! What was I to do? My little Article was out there, all on its own, and I had no idea how it was doing or whether it had met some gruesome end! No statistics to tell me how it is faring!
The vigil continued with vigor. Anytime between 6 am or 11 pm it was deemed kosher, and any time between 11 pm and 6 am that my eyes were open enough, I could not help but sneak to the computer and have a quick peek at the statistics.
The clocks sat still for a lifetime, or so it seemed to me. So what was I to do? I sought solace in the forum. I received much sympathy and support. I met some lovely people. I got caught up in the intriguing topics which sprang up. I forgot about the clocks. Next time I looked, the clocks were running, and the views were jumping! My toddler was growing fast. Soon it will make it under its own steam!
That is all good, because I am too busy to worry about my first born now. I have others to worry about and with another one on the way . . . . . . Soon, I shall have to prepare this one to take the first few steps out there.
Now There Are Two.
How do You Handle It?
I have been writing for a long time, but most of it stayed in my head, other bits were handwritten and put away never to see the light of day again.
This is the first time that I have finally put my writing “out there” to fend for itself.
I have a small brood of them published, but I still bite my nails as I wait for the “verdict’ from my own organization, my fellow writers and our readers.
Tell me, how long does it take to get over those feelings of protective concern?
Do let me know your thoughts on this please, and thank you for reading it.
© 2014 MarieLB