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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Why be a writer?

Author Topic: Why be a writer?
Member # 2265

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We here at hatrack have been talking around this subject. But here is the question:

Why do you think a career in writing would make you happier than a career doing what you are doing now? Writing is one the most dry labor intensive careers in existence.

If your making decent money and you have time to be with your family why not remain where you are and save all the extra hours for your family and friends versus writing?

Artistic Vanity?

Fear of being a nobody?

Fear of being forgotten after death?

The desire to be self employed?

Validation that you have worth?

My reason is I love to create and I want recognition for my work. My desire is to be able to work fulltime from home and make a decent living. Plus it makes me really happy when somebody buys something I made and says I love it!

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Just Jo
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Because the story must be told.
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Member # 2267

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Because the story must be told.
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Member # 1411

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Because no one has been able to discourage me yet.
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Member # 2422

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Because I've got all these great ideas that I want to share with people.

Also, I probably dont plan on writing replacing my job. Maybe supplementing it would be a fine achievement if ever I got good enough.

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Member # 2083

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Writing is something I've always loved. Especially creative writing. Everytime I try to walk away from it and find something else to do, my sanity suffers.

When I was growing up, writing seemed to be one of the things I excelled at, but there was always that nagging thought that you have to be both good and lucky to actually make it so better off finding something else to do to pay the bills and keep the writing as a personal pursuit.

I guess I've just reached a point in my life where I want to try and be lucky, too.

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Member # 1680

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Ditto Robyn_Hood.
Plus, I don't want to give up my dayjob. There's also...how do I explain. I'm fairly competative, so on some level, getting paid for writing means that my writing must be good. See? I work in a field--puppetry--where to people outside my field I have to fight to be recognized as even having a career. Writing, for me, falls into the same territory. It's something I love, but without publication credits I have to listen to the same old, "Oh, you're a [blank], isn't that cute."

I have two short stories published and feel very comfortable now talking about the novels that I'm working on, because the fact that someone gave me money makes me feel like I have credibility. My first novel...? I think five people in the world know that I wrote it. I know this is all in my head, and I applaud those who don't need an outside measuring stick. I do.

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Member # 2002

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Because God gave me a gift and if I did not develop and use it, I would be ungrateful.

[This message has been edited by djvdakota (edited April 14, 2005).]

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Member # 2327

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Basically, I'm a writer because since my early years, reading and writing has been pretty much my only real escape from the world... basically, it's my safer alternative to drugs.
And why turn it into a career... well... as I kinda said before, if someone wants to pretty much pay for my version of therapy, far be it for me to try and stop them... I like money...

[This message has been edited by RavenStarr (edited April 14, 2005).]

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Member # 213

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I don't want a career in writing.

I'm a writer. Having a career doesn't enter into it.

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Member # 2192

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I completely agree with Survivor on that.

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Member # 2387

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Writing is the one thing that I can look back at and honestly say that it's been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. With other things, I went through phases: a horse phase, an astronomy phase, a teacher phase, etc. All of those phases taught me things that will make my stories better.

And it's not as if I don't like horses or astronomy any more, because I still love to go for a ride with my dad and I still love to learn all that crazy stuff they're figuring out about our universe. But I don't have the passion for other things that I have for writing. So why do something that I don't have that passion for?

If I can do it, I would love to write for a living. But even if I can't survive on what I make writing, I'm not going to stop doing it. It'll be a supplement.

I sometimes envision myself similar to my high school French teacher, who taught as her job, and then worked at the Disney Store in order to support her habit of spending money... at the Disney store. So she wasn't really earning an extra cent, but she was doing something she loved and getting something she loved out of it.

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Pyre Dynasty
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Because I am.

In the words of Martin Luther, "Here I stand I can do no other."

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Member # 2056

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I simply want to return the favor; to give back what others have given me.
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Member # 1563

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Because it is one of the few things worth doing.
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Stormlight Shadows
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I love to see the ideas in my head in written format. Have you looked back on the things that you have written and seen the progression of becoming a better writer? That is what I think when I look back. Some love poems that I wrote in High School I keep thinking how could I ever could of wrote that thing with not having a girlfriend or a close relationship with anyone. I see my self in the stories I write!
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Member # 2442

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I write because those pesky characters inside my head won't give me any peace until I help them live and breathe through the flow of my words...
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Member # 2147

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I write because I would dearly love to inspire the same emotions and excitement in other people as I feel when I read.
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Josh Leone
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Because otherwise I'd be flippn' burgers at Wendys.

Seriously though, “Why do I write?” Because I love to.
Why did I choose writing as a career? That’s little more complicated, but not much.

I spent most of my childhood in poolhalls. Made some decent money at it. Eventually, I got into sales. Made good money at that too. But after several years of selling everything from mailing machines to law books, I burned out, mostly because my bosses were asking me to lie. Writing had been a joy since my earliest memories, so I decided to just go for it. Starving artist? You bet. But when the articles started getting published and the small checks started coming in? Oh boy! The first time I went to a store and bought a new pair of boots using money I'd earned from writing? Or the first time I was able to take my girlfriend out to dinner on a check from a magazine? The best! I still supplement my income once in a while, but one dollar earned from writing is better than a hundred earned in any other way I know. That’s why I write as a career.

Josh Leone

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Member # 2283

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Poolhall junkie turned writer, huh? Sounds familiar. I doubt I'll ever make a career of it, though. Not that it wouldn't be nice.
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Member # 2208

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couldn't've said it better than God himself: I am that I am.

I write because I write... It's just simply what I do. HOWEVER, it is not, never has been, and most probably never will be "A Career." Computers are where my career will be, owner of a Software and Support company to be specific.

What's really interesting is that i plan on wedding my two greatest loves, writing and computers, by developing video games as one of the divisions of my company...

ahh, to dream! even if my company never comes into existence, i will become a programmer and probably go to work with some smaller development companies.

*shrugs* what else is a computer geek and storyteller going to become?

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Josh Leone
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There's a reason that's one of my favorite movies.

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Member # 2408

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I'm a writer because it's something I enjoy doing. To me, it's not really important to get something published. Sure, I want to, but if I don't, then that's just the way things go. For me, as with many others, writing is one of the ways (along with music and art) that I can express myself.
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Member # 2470

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because of all those reason...but also because it is a practise that allows you to grow, that you can never loose unless you loose your mind. Because you can never be alone if you have words and a story. Because I live too much in my head. Because a good sentence / paragraph / phrase is a beautiful thing, and a thing of beauty is a joy forever.
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Member # 1629

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Because I can't not write. As ungrammatical as that sentence is, it's the plain truth. I have to write. I'm miserable if I'm not writing. I'm happiest in every aspect of my life, even those not part of my writing, when I'm writing.

Also, it's part of the way I view the world. I create stories around me from anything and everything. It's who and what I am. I refuse to deny it, so I write. I just keep hoping that people will enjoy what I write. However, if they don't, I'd still keep writing. I've come to the conclusion that if they stopped publishing stories forever, starting tomorrow, I'd still write. It's the only thing I do where the possibility that it's going nowhere doesn't stop me from doing it. I can't not write.


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Member # 2446

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Hi Gang--- I write because I can.
I can’t say this has always been true. There was a time in my life when I was literarily a mute.
I’m dyslectic and although this can effect one perception of numbers, in my case it involves my perception of letters.
So for the first three\fifths of my life I was in a literary straight jacket. Even to-date I don’t participate in chat lines, because I never know what, that which I write, is going to look like.
Along came the computer with its spell check and punctuation aids, [WOW] I was like the mute who suddenly discovered he could speak. I have been writing since about 95 and the stories that were rattling around in my head, now spilled out in print.
I set out to prove to myself, friends and relatives, that yes I can write an interesting and entertaining story. I have finished a novel (western) and about ten short stories; only one of them has been published.
Hey that’s okay I have proved what I set out to prove, that I’m a writer and I can write.
Talk to you soon---ablelaz.

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Member # 1429

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The stories keep happening in my head, why not put them on paper for others to share?

Career? Wouldn't it be nice, but I'm not counting on it.

BTW, one thing I've gotten rather tired of, writers (pros primarily) going on about how writing is such a lonely tough occupation, blah, blah, blah.
Bah! For the last fifteen years I've been an independent consultant/trainer/developer. My life is hardly different in many ways from professional writers. I can have whole weeks where if I do no work (because of lack of motivation, coding block, etc.), no one but me knows. I can waste immense amounts of time on the internet and call it research, even if it isn't.

Writers aren't the only ones who have to buckle down and motivate themselves in an empty room. The one thing where I am significantly different, my pay cycle is ususally much shorter. So my pain of procrastination comes home much sooner.
Enough of the rant.

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Member # 2354

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My reasons for writing are different than my reasons for wanting a career as a writer. I write because I enjoy it. I like meeting new characters and experiencing their stories. Somehow the emotions I feel while writing are even more intense than those I feel when reading a great book.

I'd like a career as a writer for all the reasons JB mentioned plus a couple others. I could write all day long and enjoy it immensely but it would probably totally suck. By attempting to write publishable material, I ensure that I write my very best. I just don't like the idea of dying and someone finding my musings and thinking, "how cute; she was a writer. Good thing she kept it in the drawer though because she's terrible!"

It would also give me MORE time with my family rather than less. Currently, I work outside the home but my husband is self-employed. I'm away from the house a minimum of eleven hours a day so even if I wrote all day long at home, I'd be near him and could visit with him on breaks. Writing revives me whereas my current job wears me out. As frustrating as writing can be at times, I can't imagine it being worse than my current situation. Not that my job is that terrible; it's not. I mostly enjoy it but I hate being away from home. If I could do something I enjoy even more and spend more time at home...I'd jump on that in a New York minute.

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franc li
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I had kind of given up on being a writer until I turned 34 last June and I was thinking about what it would be like to to to a 20 year class reunion, what I would want people to know about me- lawyer, scientist, or lady with the most kids , and I realized it was to be a writer.

Though when I was in school everyone said I should be either a detective (because I dressed in baggy coats and kept simultaneously untilitarian and bizarre items in the pockets) or a life insurance salesman because I have an honest face.

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Member # 2398

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RavenStarr, Survivor and so many others have it right.

For me writing is not a career. Rather it just makes me whole.

from Harry Chapin's Mr. Tanner

But music was his life, it was not his livelihood,
and it made him feel so happy and it made him feel so good.
And he sang from his heart and he sang from his soul.
He did not know how well he sang; It just made him whole.


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Member # 2145

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I don't want a writing career.
I write. I will probably always work a regular job, keeps me from becoming insular. It makes life seem less desperate.

Nothing worse than a desperate, needy writer.

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New Member
Member # 2501

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Being a writer is as much as a fantasy as the stories I create. I imagine myself traveling around the world with my laptop, meeting people by night, having adventures, and then putting them down on paper by day to be shared, liked photographs. MOney is no object. There are interesting protagonists, antagonists, conflicts, resolutions. I'm just another character in a novel being written by myelf.

Like any good dream--night or day--it doesn't always look exactly the same in reality. But there are always pieces that seem satisfying. So I live somewhere between the words I write and the life I feel.

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Member # 1619

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Because I love creating beauty and having other people experience emotion through my art.
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