Wednesday, July 21, 2010

If A Tree Falls In A Forest...

You know the age old question: if a tree falls in a forest and there’s no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?

A variation on the question could be posed of writers: if a writer writes her heart out and never gets published, should she keep writing?

I know several writers who tell me that they write simply because they love writing. They have no intention of ever submitting their work to agents or editors and yet they work away, year after year, writing and editing, attending critique groups and striving to weave the best stories they possibly can.

I do not understand these people.

I am fascinated by them, I even admire them in a way, but I do not understand them.

I want to be published. I want to find an agent and I want that agent to sell my book and then I want to write more books and have that agent sell those books and so on and so on.

Would I keep writing if I could look into a crystal ball and know that that will never happen? I don’t think so.

Because the thing is, while I enjoy the work of writing and rewriting and slowly chipping away at the stone until the story reveals itself – it’s really, really hard. I struggle every single day to juggle my day job, my family, my friends and my writing work. I stay up late when I’m tired. I sit in the dark basement in front of my computer on sunny Saturday afternoons, I force myself to write even on those days when there’s nothing I feel like doing less in the world.

I don’t do it for fun. I do it because it’s a job. Right now it’s a part time job that pays me nothing, but it’s a job that leaves me feeling fulfilled at the end of each day and my long term goal is to have that non-paying part time job take the place of my paying full time job. But it will still always be a job.

So if, ten years from now, I still don’t have an agent or a book deal, will I keep writing? Yes, I think I will, but I will also keep trying to get published because, for me, they will always go together.

What about you? Do you write with no desire to ever be published? Or, if you are published or trying to get published, would you keep writing even if that was never going to happen?


  1. I'm with you on this one. I love writing but I definitely wouldn't keep writing novels if there is no glimmer that I would ever get published. I would continue short stories and poems, but there is no way in hell I could continue to put my heart, soul, sweat, tears, agony, excitement, etc etc into novels that I knew would never be published.

  2. I'm in the middle on this one. I would definitely keep writing if I would never be published, but I may or may not write another entire novel. Like Erica, I would have to keep writing songs and poems (no one but my husband and a few select bar patrons have ever heard my songs) because they keep my brain from exploding.

    My novels are different beasts altogether. The first one I wrote wasn't very good, hasn't had a proper rewrite, and will most definitely never see the light of day. I was ok with that.
    When I started writing FOR THE SAKE OF AN ANGEL, I knew that this story is huge, insanely important to me, and that I love it so much that I WANT, very nearly NEED to share it with the world.