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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Why do you write? What are your goals as a writer?

   
Author Topic: Why do you write? What are your goals as a writer?
History
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Feeling kind of verklempt, myself.
Go ahead. "Talkst among yourselves." [Wink]

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

[ August 16, 2012, 07:56 PM: Message edited by: History ]

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Owasm
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I go to a movie and as I exit the theater, I bore my wife with how they could have made it much better. I read a novel and think that I didn't like this aspect or that aspect. So I take my gripes in my own hands and write stuff that I'd like to read.

I can do that, so that's what prompts me to write.

Goals? I'd like to have a number of books that sell regularly... not there yet.

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extrinsic
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I write to interact with humanity. I write because I can marshall my thoughts more clearly in written word than in person. It takes me time to understand the meaning of events in person.

Everyone has an agenda different from mine. Everyone has a markedly different perspective than mine. I sense undercurrents and connections between seemingly unrelated circumstances that no one ever or rarely does perceive.

Some humans have no ulterior intentions toward me. Some do. Some are indifferent. Some care. Some would use me for their own ends without regard to any harm they might do me. I have an irrational fear of humans.

Written word conversation, even if one-sided at the moment, two-way over time and distance, is safe, trustworthy, and fixed and tangible. Spoken word conversation has the added fuzzy meanings of verbal intonation and body language I can't read as easily in social situations as my peers. I misinterpret and misunderstand in-group social behavioral expectations and conventions. I am a clumsy and inept social being. But not as much in writing.

I'm progressing through writing and the study thereof into becoming a more proficient social being. Somewhere out there I could reach my kind and we could become better acquainted.

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jawood
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I write because I need to. It allows me to channel my creativity and pushes me to better myself. The more I write the better my ideas get, not just in writing, but in everything. When I don't write, I stagnate and become quite dull.

I'm able to look at a broad spectrum of patterns and human interactions and see how I can make them fit into a cohesive and entertaining story.

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rabirch
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I write because when I hit those moments where everything just WORKS it is one the best feelings in the world. I can live my dreams. To me, writing turns life into "The Neverending Story." I never want to lose that ability to dream, to wonder, to experience, and to create.
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JoBird
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I want to make other people feel the way I do when I read a great story.
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wise
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Like Jawood, I also write to channel my creativity and challenge myself. Writing gets my neurons firing more than any other activity I participate in other than my job. Because I'm still in the early stages of becoming an accomplished writer, I don't know if what I'm writing will be appreciated by others, but the process is immensely satisfying to me.

My goal is to write stories worth publishing and make some money to supplement my future retirement years.

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sjsampson
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Honesty. I want to beat the crap out of myself with honesty.

And to entertain, of course.

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babooher
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Somebody has to bring these worlds to life.
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BoldWriter
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I write because I can't draw, paint, or design. I have ideas, images mostly, and characters in my head swimming around constantly. I love words because, if I do it correctly, I can draw and paint ON YOUR BRAIN. It's the only art I'm capable of.

My goal, like many others, is to make a living by writing. Millions of dollars would be fantastic, sure, but I'd be more than happy making barely enough to cover my bills.

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History
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I'm a dreaming realist.

It is folly (for me) to consider writing as a means "to make a living" or even "make some money to supplement my future retirement years". These worthy (even essential) financial goals are better achievable by being a Wal-Mart or even fast food restaurant employee. Many a little leaguer dreams of being a baseball star, and many an actor in a school play dreams of being a movie star. And a few will be--I do not wish to pour cold water on anyone's dreams. But a miniscule few. However, if these financial goals were my objective, I would never set a word to paper ever again. I'd just continue my daily routine, day after day after day and night and weekend as I've done almost thirty years.

No...making money as a writer is not a goal for me. And there are times when I get an eagerly anticipated day off to write and (1) my laptop crashes or is stolen and I lose the day's work or (2) I reread what I have written and think it's crap. It is then I question whether my desire to write is just a fool's folly. Reading other's published writing is so much easier and very pleasureable. And it sufficed for me for many long years.

One published author with whom I correspond shared with me, "(Most writers) don't write for money. For money most of us work at other occupations. In truth, we write for 'glory.'"

Fame. While treading the gauntlet of traditional publishing has lost its appeal for me, I do submit stories a couple times a year just to see if anything I write can be deemed "professional" quality; to see if my work would be enjoyed by a larger audience. Is it worth the minutes of their life to read? Therefore, I recognize "recognition" that I can write professionally is a goal for me, a new challenge to surmount--albeit a self-acknowledged egotistical one.

And transient.

As a realist, I recognize the incontrovertable truth of the old adage: "Fame is fleeting." I look at the books on my shelves, of the authors whose works I have long enjoyed whose names, as much as their works, are gathering dust and obscurity except for a few devotees.

As many of you have shared (and this is a delight to read), I find that most of all (even if only for an audience of one) I do love writing, the act of creating reality from my dreams and my imagination, of playing with words, and sentence structure, and characters, plots, and themes--sometimes just one of them, sometimes, two...if ever I am able to get them all to work then that will be a story!

I just wish it wasn't so difficult.
I find performing complex medical procedures a snap by comparison. [Wink]

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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Robert Nowall
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I started 'cause I ran across various people writing about writing things down and sending them to market, and I thought, "That sounds like a good idea."

Looking back, all these years later, I've got to say that that wasn't the whole of it. I'd always made stories up, from acting things out with inanimate objects I find lying around, or scribble-and-erase cartoons while bored with sitting in school. So I just shifted all that to writing. (I didn't give up the rest of it till my twenties, if I ever really did.)

So I guess I'm just driven to tell stories. Whether there's any success attached to it or not.

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Lyrajean
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I write to get the voices outta my head.

I think most of us do this because for some strangely personal reason we need to. It's a compulsion. While most of us might dream of fame fortune or the like materializing because of our craft, most of us realistically know we have little better than potluck at making that happen.

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Jess
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When I read something awesome, something that sends chills up my arms and leaves me thinking about it for hours, it brings me joy.
I write because I want to create that type of joy in other people.

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LDWriter2
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Finally responding to this one.

Basically I write because I have stories inside that want to be read. Paraphrasing and twisting a bit something from Stephen King. I look into various rooms of a house with many rooms and I want to tell people what I see.

My goals: To have other people read my tales--long and short ones. A secondary goal would be to make enough money so I could make a living at it. Being rich would be nice but middle class is okay.


Of lesser importance is a "thirdary" goal: to have someone say about me what I say about certain writers.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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I have begun to suspect that I enjoy editing (as in helping writers) more than I do writing, which says a lot, because I love storytelling.

But I actually feel that I get more joy out of helping other writers than I do out of putting the words "the end" on a story.

<shrug>

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MattLeo
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I set out as a reader who wanted to know how storytelling worked. This is not the kind of goal that is ever fully achieved, but I have largely met my goal by now.

I understand a lot more about how writers engage readers' feelings. I know how an author has to balance different factors to make a story work. I've gone beyond simplistic models that project my own tastes and biases on "the reader".

Oddly enough, I've never aspired to be an author. I think people expect a certain glory to come with being published, but as a inveterate devil's advocate I've been skeptical of that expectation. As far as I can see there is no evidence that published authors are a happier class of beings than anyone else -- aspiring authors included.

But I've reached a point where I think I ought to try selling something, if only to cap off the experience. There are other things I could be doing with my time to (as the guests in Asimov's *Black Widowers* stories were asked to do) "justify my existence". So I think in the near future I'll be spending less time writing.

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enigmaticuser
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I want to be rich.

Just kidding. I actually worry being rich would make me a lazy writer.

But I would like to make 10-20k per year from writing.

That's the "goal", but regardless of whether I make that goal, I think I write because its an urge. I used to like to write because I couldn't make movies, but now I actually find I think I can tell better stories than I could if I made movies.

So I write because its one of the things God made me to do . . . but I do hope to make some cash to justify the time expense.

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rcmann
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quote:
Originally posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury:
I have begun to suspect that I enjoy editing (as in helping writers) more than I do writing, which says a lot, because I love storytelling.

But I actually feel that I get more joy out of helping other writers than I do out of putting the words "the end" on a story.

<shrug>

I wish you lived next door. Be thankful you don't. [Smile]

I write to keep from going any crazier than I already am.

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genevive42
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Writing is fun. I am consistently getting better at it. And one day I will make a living from it. 'Nuff said.
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KayTi
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Because no one has written what I wanted to read as a young geeky girl interested in technology and video games and boys and nail polish all at once. So I write what I wanted to read and I hope to reach all those other geeky girls and let them know there are people like them.
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Tiergan
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For me its all about the feeling I got when I read Edgar Rice Burroughs books. Tranpsorted, and excited. I still feel it, when I look back and remember my first Tarzan novel, Barsoom novel, or Pellicudar. I want some day to have someone else feel that from my writing.

Right now my greatest moments in writing are my daughters coming in in the morning getting ready for school(1st and 3rd grade) and asking what I wrote that morning and what happens next in the book. Granted they wanted my trolls to have rainbow spiraled horns and all. Those days I feel like I accomplished my goals.

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TempestDash
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Many times I have returned to writing thinking: "I can do that thing I just read/watched/played better." But over time, I've come to realize that my vanity masks deeper concerns.

As an atheist and a cynic with a comfortable existence, I see pervasive dullness and depression in the world around me. A vast landscape of grays build upon a foundation of compromise.

I write to rebel against a world I don't want to belong in. Where passionate people shape the world for the better instead of being marginalized or using their influence to drag us deeper into the pits.

As a result, my stories are always about people rising above mediocrity -- rising above even their own limits -- to ascend to greater glories, in the hopes their actions create a wave of change that can be rode by all those who follow.

I guess in short: I write to inspire.

(... and I'd like to be able to support myself financially doing so.)

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History
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quote:
Originally posted by TempestDash:
I guess in short: I write to inspire.
(... and I'd like to be able to support myself financially doing so.)

I admire the first expressed sentiment; and, in some of my works, I do strive to obtain this goal.

The second...I still can't comprehend.
From what I have read, and in my correspondence with published authors, very few can support themselves financially from their writing.
While I therefore admire those whose desire to write is so great that they are willing to make the sacrifice to live very humbly in order to write, my sense of responsibility to my family (and admittedly my enjoyment of life's comforts) takes precedence.

I work in order not to stress about the expense of living.
I write to escape the stress of work.

I've just agreed to work half of my next week off when I had looked forward to another binge period of writing. This will cover a few unexpected expenses. Rationally, this is a very good decision.

What I need to learn is to be happy with such decisions when I wish to simply write.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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naomisarah
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I write because I feel that I have a unique voice for storytelling and it flows onto the page naturally.
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TempestDash
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quote:
Originally posted by History:
I admire the first expressed sentiment; and, in some of my works, I do strive to obtain this goal.

The second...I still can't comprehend.
From what I have read, and in my correspondence with published authors, very few can support themselves financially from their writing.

I would argue that the unlikelihood of financial stability through fiction writing is exactly what makes it an inspirational goal. We may never achieve what we aspire to, but it is the struggle to earn it what makes life richer.

I say this while still working my 7a-7p desk job to maintain my mortgage payments. We are not all at the same place in reaching for our goals.

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Crank
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I walk into a typical suburbia house, unobserved.

I see the mother sitting on the couch, a cup of tea still steaming on the end table, her hands cradling a mystery / romance novel.

I walk into the teenage son’s room. Heavy music blasts through oversized speakers, and he’s keeping the aggressive beat by tapping his fingertips against the pages of a science fiction novel.

I walk into the daughter’s room. Her smart phone is beeping and ringing nonstop, her laptop is chiming with incoming message alerts, but she’s too engrossed in the young adult story she’s reading.

I walk into the father’s man cave. Three huge plasma screens are showing three different sporting events, but he’s ignoring all of them. He downs a swallow of his drink, then turns back to the murder mystery novel he’s been reading.

I walk out of the house, smiling. All four stories bore my name.

----------------

I had this very vision a few years ago, and I’ve been making my way towards it ever since. Too lofty a goal to reach during my lifetime? Probably. Am I going to have fun making a go of it? Absolutely.

S!

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BoldWriter
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quote:
I admire the first expressed sentiment; and, in some of my works, I do strive to obtain this goal.

The second...I still can't comprehend.

I think the real, base reason that most of us write is because we enjoy it. Our reasons for enjoying it are myriad, but it seems a logical progression from doing something you like to getting paid for doing something you like.

I am in the position where I am barely able to scrape by a living with my normal J-O-B, because I am not very 'educated'. Growing up, I didn't have the things that I think many people take for granted, and I've worked very hard to even get where I am now. But's that's far from where I want to be.

I think that many aspiring writers whose goal is to make a living writing may be in similar situations.

I work to (barely) feed myself and I write with hope for the future. A mansion in Malibu may not be my future, but I'm hoping maybe own a home some day.

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naomisarah
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quote:
Originally posted by Crank:
I walk into a typical suburbia house, unobserved.

I see the mother sitting on the couch, a cup of tea still steaming on the end table, her hands cradling a mystery / romance novel.

I walk into the teenage son’s room. Heavy music blasts through oversized speakers, and he’s keeping the aggressive beat by tapping his fingertips against the pages of a science fiction novel.

I walk into the daughter’s room. Her smart phone is beeping and ringing nonstop, her laptop is chiming with incoming message alerts, but she’s too engrossed in the young adult story she’s reading.

I walk into the father’s man cave. Three huge plasma screens are showing three different sporting events, but he’s ignoring all of them. He downs a swallow of his drink, then turns back to the murder mystery novel he’s been reading.

I walk out of the house, smiling. All four stories bore my name.

----------------

I had this very vision a few years ago, and I’ve been making my way towards it ever since. Too lofty a goal to reach during my lifetime? Probably. Am I going to have fun making a go of it? Absolutely.

S!

Beautiful vision! And how very non-genre-biased of you! :-)
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Nick T
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To crush my enemies, see them driven before me, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

Oh, why do I write? It’s fun and every now and then people might pay me for it.

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Robert Nowall
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But what if your enemies are women?
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Crank
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quote:
naomisarah: Beautiful vision! And how very non-genre-biased of you!
Thanx! I discovered a while back that the story tells me what genre it's going to be told in.

S!

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Natej11
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All of my brightest dreams of the future involve a successful writing career. My love of good stories is so great that it drives me to try to create good stories of my own that inspire others the way the books I love inspired me.

I'm not sure I'll ever have the success I want through writing, but no other kind of success really interests me so I'll keep at it until it happens.

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InarticulateBabbler
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I write because I enjoy it. I like the adventure I go on. And this:

quote:
Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else. - Gloria Steinem

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History
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Hmm.
Too often when I'm home writing I get the look from Mrs. Dr. Bob that "I should be doing something else"...cleaning out a closet, the basement, the garage, throwing stuff out, etc. [Wink]

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Scout
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I started out with RPGs and as a game master have guided countless stories. The sad part is that I have a crummy memory, and that most of those stories have been lost as they were never written. Granted they may still be remembered somewhere deep inside me, and maybe someday they will come out in the stories I actually write. I have always enjoyed leading a story, and writing them can provide me with some of the same creative (though not as immediately social) outlet. I have ideas and characters and stories just waiting to get on paper (so to speak).

If I can make money that would be cool. But more than that I want people to enjoy the stories that I write. I want to bring to other people some of the great joys I have received from reading. I do not expect to really make money from writing.

I am also somewhat motivated by reading a poorly written book. As I have gotten older I find that fewer books please me. While I think the general quality of books has actually improved, I find that I am much more discerning. I want more books that I like to read, and if I have to write them... so be it.

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babygears81
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I write because I have something to say.
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Wordcaster
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I don't write for a specific reason -- it's just something I'm drawn to and find myself doing it in one form or another in my spare time. It comes in the form of blogging, writing non-fiction, preparing for classes that I've taught, and most enjoyably with fiction.

I don't have aspirations of making a living at it, because it requires a dedication that I am not willing to give and a chance at failure that I am not willing to risk. Fame isn't really a goal either, although compliments and encouragement are always nice to receive.

I will consider it a success if I publish multiple novels in one form or another. Writing them is perhaps the hardest part.

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KayTi
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I've honed this "personal pitch" over the years, started in one of these Hatrack threads! [Smile]

I am a card-carrying technology geek, having cut my teeth on BASIC on my family’s Apple II Plus computer. As a young woman with a passion for reading that equaled my interest in technology, I found science fiction titles were written with the male reader in mind. I didn’t want more space battles and buxom aliens, I wanted to know how technology would change our lives.

I write because nobody wrote what I wanted to read when I was a 13 year old girl geek with ambition and smarts and a heady passion for reading sci-fi. I write what I wanted to read, and I write it for all the young people out there who aren't really sure what they want to be or who they are, but are eager to figure it all out.

I write because I have their stories to tell.

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Brent Silver
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I write because it is one of the only ways I can "speak" and nobody will interrupt me. Whether they're "listening" or reading never really mattered all the much--I prefer that they do, but it's still their choice and I'll respect it. I just like being able to say everything that I want.

That's writing in general, be it essays, fiction, blogging, whatever. The reason I like writing fiction in particular is because I'm not a very good oral storyteller. I have too many pauses and umm's, even when I'm telling my sisters' a fairy tale story. It's bad. Those weaknesses do not show in writing--just the rest of them. [Big Grin]

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Jemster
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I write because I have to. The characters in my head will not leave me alone. And it's better than checking in to the "home". What? Padded walls and a jacket with lovely buckles? No thank you. You see, I have this scene to finish first...

[ October 06, 2012, 01:42 AM: Message edited by: Jemster ]

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Grumpy old guy
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I write because I never thought I could. Previous to this, the longest missive I'd written was a half-page letter.

My goal? To be published and have people enjoy the stories I tell. Money, never needed much and still don't.

Phil

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