Ah - thank you all so much! You can't imagine how close this thread comes to expressing the dilemma i've been wrestling with for months:
my "acceptable, respectable, sensible, secure, permanent" job broking commercial insurance is driving me absolutely out of my tree, making me feel very much like a whore.....
especially when i know i want to write for a living, have been writing a published abstract service for a year (although it wouldn't feed my dog - if i had one) and i'm dying to give it a go and be free from the corporate cubicle!
I'm scared of throwing myself into it without a visible means of support, but my ability to compromise myself for my current job is wearing very thin!!
again - thank you all for saying what has been going round in my head for months!
I have always written little dittos and stories for myself. In fact my book was written whilst living in a Bamboo hut if africa. I wrote it to keep myself amused and maintain my sanity. A year living as the only westerner amid an african culture can leave you pining for someone to talk to (of your own language/country)
So write for yourself, write for enjoyment, write for entertainment and if someones else likes your work then way keep it hidden away.
Whether or not it is art! Well I paint and consider that art. I write and consider that writing.
But eh! thats my slant on it, each to their own; as bobby proves.Draw your own conclusions but enjoy!
Mainly I write for myself. Ultimately it is for me.
But I write fiction, I write with an audience in mind, even if it's just my little sister, or my English teacher (who'll return it with comments like "good, but..." or just admit that they can't understand it. *shakes head*) or sometimes just a fague "audience".
I also have ended up telling my friends about the story I'm writing at the moment, because it's racing around my head, and I have a bit of a one-track-mind, and I like talking about it... (letting them read it is different) and I because need someone to tell me I'm not wasting my time, I have some vague talent and give me some form of encouragement. So I guess I write for me, but not just for me... well, most of the time anyway.
I wonder how many authors are beset by the temptation of "writing to sell"? I know I am--far easier to cater to the mainstream and produce generic fiction or sloppy free verse (there is such a thing as good free verse, but so few examples these days). I spoke with a published author a few weeks ago, and we agreed that it would be heavenly to write something like the Da Vinci Code and live off the profits while writing for the sake of the art form itself.
I have not written for many years but when I used to write, I never considered whether other people would like my stories or poems or not. When I was a child I wrote a couple of adventure children’s books, because that was the type of books I liked to read at the time. Some of my friends read them and like them, but I did not write them with them in mind.
People in my class usually got to know my stories or essays, because I wrote them as part of my homework and teachers used to make a few people read their work aloud in front of the class.
Usually teachers did not like what I wrote. The only time my literature teacher liked one of my poems was when I did an experiment. Another teacher had told us he had once sent two poems to a poetry competition: one of them written in his usual style and the other, a very vapid piece about a cigarette butt floating in the gutter (so convoluted that the panel never found out what he was talking about). He was trying to prove a point about a certain type of poetry. He won the prize for his second poem. I decided to try it and wrote a poem about an ink stain on my desk. My literature teacher love it, without understanding any of it.
Later, after changed schools, I used to send my work to competitions, but I never wrote for them, just picked one of the things I had already written.
I never thought of becoming a writer. I wrote because I needed to write, but I always thought I would do something else for a living. But once it was written, why not try to make something out of it? So I entered competitions, won some and had a few things published. I did not have to change the way I wrote to please a publisher. When my work won, it was a bonus, that was all.
Finally I gave up writing altogether, when I became an adult. I run out of ideas, maybe because of hormonal changes or because there were other ways I could use to express myself, or maybe I was using writing as a substitute for living and I did not need to do that anymore.
I still write a poem once in a blue moon, but I don’t usually keep them.
You know how movies have director's cuts? I too have a version of each novel I write that is just for me. It's the version I want to read. It satisfies my personal reasons for tackling the story in the first place, but wouldn't necessarily be marketable. If it's for me, after all, other readers won't have my frame of reference, my store of memories. The marketable version has to be less in my own code. It also has to be, I admit, less melodramatic.
Well, I think that it's most important to write for yourself first and foremost but if you want to get published, you obviously need to write for an audience too. You may get published eventually, but it'll be a lot harder. From what I've read, some authors write a book that they think will get them published, submit that and use that as a springboard to publish more novels that they like more themselves.
I mean, humans are different, but unless you're REALLY WEIRD, then there's bound to be someone similar enough to you to like what you've written. I write very unfantasy-ish fantasy and I got pretty good comments on it on elfwood, which has a lot of very traditional fantasy readers, so I was pleasantly surprised.
I write for myself, and then share with others. If it's good enough, others will like it, spread the word, and maybe a hundred years from now someone will say, "Remember that one book by that one author... what was his name?" and in my grave my skeletal face will smile. If you write with the sole purpose of becoming famous, you will end up a hack. Yeah, you may sell millions, but your work will not be memorable in a hundred years; write well, and your work will be remembered, even if the reader cannot for the life of them remember your name.
I have always written. And I have no clue why. In elementary school, we were assigned to write a sentence for each of our spelling words, with the spelling words underlined. I took the words and wrote two or three paragraphs about my mother taking a ficticious helicopter ride and getting sick. Each spelling word was carefully underlined!
I only regret that I believed my father when he told me I was wasting my time.
I have tried every scam that has come down the pike to make money. I've been in every MLM business there is, and had always thought that I would eventually find a path to my financial freedom. My goal was to make enough money that I could quit working and write. It recently (within the last four years) dawned on me that the energy I had been spending running down every rabbit hole that was promised to be lined with gold could have been better spent writing. So now I am on a quest to be published. I haven't reached my first goal yet, but the year is young, and I have received a couple of hand-written notes from editors of large magazines encouraging me to submit more, so I don't think I am chasing a pipe dream.
One day I will make a living at my craft.
To do that, I guess I have to write for others, but I think I do that anyway. While I am in the act of writing, I don't think about whether anyone will like it, or even if I like it, I just put it down as it comes into my head. After it is written, though, I get an immeasurable thrill out of letting someone who's opinion I value read this thing I have created. That rush alone is worth the hours spent editing and rewriting!
The Olympian Pen must be an inside joke! I see Motokid got it, so I am assuming he is either culprit or victim!
I have been in Scamway, Primerica, Excel (phone service), and a couple of other "work from home" deals. The latter normally promise much money weekly for assembly work. The catch there is that the assembly work must meet their ambiguous and unattainable standards. If they can find a reason to "reject" it, they deduct it from your pay. I was having about a 30% success rate, which amounted to aproximately diddly squat.