Writing Wrongs

January 30, 2005

So Iím reading Romancing the Blog, in particular, Allison Brennanís entry for 1/30/2005 when I come across this line:

Serious writers have a common goal: publication.

And I thought to myself, Really? We all have that common goal? If that isnít my goal, then clearly, Iím not serious?

This touched a nerve since recently on a writersí site I frequent, thereís been a division, if you will, between those who are ďseriousĒ and the rest, the hobbyists, the wannabes, and what have you.

I spent 2004 living on what Anne Lamott calls Toxic Hope . A couple of things happened near the end of the year. I got a new contract position and realized that my ďhang on to it until my fiction ship comes inĒ job was making me miserable, and that I really liked my new job. A bit later, I read Anneís Salon article linked above.

I decided to make a list of writing things that made me unhappy and simply stopped doing them. Once I did that a funny thing happened. I started writing more. I stopped feeling guilty if I took three days or three weeks off from writing. I started having fun again. I wrote a short story, something I hadnít done in more than a year.

Thereís a whole industry built around the toxic hope of publishing, from Writing the Breakout Novel (which, honestly, I like) to No More Rejections (which, honestly, I donít). Thing is, in all of this, thereís very little, if anything, a writer can control once the submission is in the mail.

And none of the ďrealitiesĒ of publishing changes one simple thing for me: I want to write what I want to write. If someone else likes it, cool. If not, well, I still want to write what I want to write. Maybe thatís the ultimate in selfishness.

Most of what I write is locked up on my computer and/or Mobile Pro. Granted, I do subject my poor, unsuspecting critique group to various scenes. But itís not like Iím forcing Randy, Paula and Simon--and the American public--to listen to my literary equivalent of off-key singing.

I donít consider myself a ďseriousĒ writer. I take the writing seriously. Myself? Not so much.

And at the end of the day, I still want to write what I want to write.

Charity Tahmaseb wrote at 11:24 a.m.