I watched a youtube video that asked, “Why does your business exist, other than the purpose of making money?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsmyaNR3A68
When Sam Ovens, owner of Consulting.com, went into this, he said some profound things which amounted to this: when you try to make money, you don’t make any money. When you focus on value, you end up making tons of money.
Now, I like getting paid as much as the next person, perhaps a little more. But, when he said that, it really got me thinking about why I picked up the pen and started writing in the first place.
I mean, I was just a fourteen-year-old who happened to read a good series and, after reading said series, decided to pick up the pen and write one. The question was why? Why did I pick up the pen and start writing?
It wasn’t money or fame or adulation. I was fourteen! What would I know about that?
It wasn’t to be the best writer in the world or to be the next Stephen King. I’d never even heard of him at that time–but probably have seen some movies based off his books without realizing it. So, what was it that made me pick up the pen?
I thought long and hard about this and the answer was simple: because I wanted to do the same thing for others that the author of the series did for me.
I wanted–and still, want–to take the reader for a ride, show them an adventure they’ll never forget, transfix them with my writing and provide an experience that transcends words.
I think every writer–or aspiring writer–gets to a point where they lose sight of why they picked up the pen in the first place. From building your audience through social media, promoting your book, getting a literary agent, paying for editing and publishing–or self-publishing–and a whole bunch of other stuff–stuff that doesn’t even have to do with writing but must get done.
So, that being said, the question is how to deal with all this yet stay true to the pen and craft? The answer is simple: dump everything that doesn’t have to do with reading and writing, including social media–to an extent.
Yeah, I know, how will people see you if you don’t market yourself? Well, I’ll pose a question of my own: Why would people buy your stories if they suck?
Over the past few weeks, I’ve found myself spending more time on social media than actually writing, crunching out words, bringing ideas and characters to life, letting my imagination run wild, and frankly, getting nowhere.
Sure, I would love for millions of people to read my stories–who wouldn’t?–say they either loved or hated a certain character or line, say they love a series, to have interviews and press conferences, to have books turned into movies and the whole shebang. But let’s face it if my writing–or anyone else’s writing–isn’t up to snuff or rise to the occasion, if there’s no fun in the process, no direction, no motivation, no soul, then what is it all for? What’s the point if you don’t love what you do?
Okay, I guess I need to make some sort of point before this runs too long, and it would have to be this: never lose sight of why you picked up the pen in the first place. Always stay true to pen and craft, no matter what.
It’ll be worth it in the end, even if you–or I–don’t become a best-seller or get listed as “one of the greatest writers of our time”.