Friday, June 15, 2012

The Writing Biz

When asked about writing as a career, I always give the same advice: If you can do anything else and be happy, do it! That counsel comes from the heart. Having said that, I have known since I was six years old and in the second grade that I wanted to be a writer. Never wanted to be anything else. Not once. Nonetheless, it has not been an easy path.
I don't regret it because being a writer has granted me access to people, countries, worlds the average person must only read about, not experience. I have met the powerful, the unscrupulous, the filthy rich and the desperately poor, the genuinely pious and the televangelists who offer your salvation with their right hands while their left hands are firmly ensconced in your wallet. I have met politicians, murderers, psychics, both honest and corrupt law enforcement officers and attorneys, and show business celebs.
Would I change one moment of it?
Absolutely not.
And I have learned a heck of a lot along the journey
One things's for sure: The first person the writer must learn to deal with is himself or herself because writing is a nebulous profession at best. There is no one right way to write. There are no surefire rules for success or universal standards that define success and the resulting uncertainty can drive one a tad loony. One commonly accepted measuring stick is the sales figure. If a book sells x number of copies, it's a success. If it doesn't, that automatically means it's a dud.
Perhaps, perhaps not. Millions of well-written books have been published. And the number is growing with the explosion of epubs. However, few have been commercial or dollar-driven successes. Does that mean the books are failures? Only if the writer writes strictly for money.
But whether the book is deemed a failure or a success as measured by sales figures, the writer must believe in his or her talent. The writer must overcome the insecurities that accompany the sensitivity necessary to be a good writer, the sensitivity required to understand and create characters the readers will care about or find interesting.
(Writing 101: Characters are based on human beings. Writers must first understand the foibles and flaws, strengths and weaknesses, and basic motivations of the humans around them before they can create convincingly real characters.)
Next time, let's talk about rejection, dejection, and resurrection!

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