“Write for Yourself” is Bunk. We Write So Others Will Read.

I’m currently sitting outside on my deck and there’s a nice warm breeze. I’m drinking wine and listening to the birds, and it’s utterly peaceful. All it’s missing is me in a sundress and a man with his hand on my thigh slowly working his way up and under the fabric of my dress.

Uhhhhhhhh

This is supposed to be about writing. And it is. It’s also about relaxing and enjoying life. Which I’m doing.

Okay. So there’s something I want to address here. It’s the whole question of publishing. Now, when you’re trying to get published and it’s just not happening, you may encounter the loving person who says “Don’t worry about it. And anyway, you should just write for yourself.” I’ve heard this so many times, and while I know it comes from a place of love, what I want to say is “No. Actually. I don’t write for myself. I write because I have something to say and I want someone to read it.”

Something you’ve written and haven’t shared is a secret. And it’s a rare thing for a secret to be good. No. We write because something compels us to share our story. Something written without readers is like a song without music. It doesn’t work. We want our work read, and we want it read now, and we want people to be touched and to think we’re geniuses.

I don’t think that’s just me. Really.  I think that’s all writers.

Now comes the trouble. How do you get people to read it? You can try to get an agent and get it published. Many try this; many fail. A few make it. Bully for them. I can’t get an agent to look twice at me. Even when I run around in a bikini like I’m a girl on that old Benny Hill show. Blast. I can’t even get a phone number.

So then you submit directly to a publisher. Luckily, Champagne Books took me on. I like them so far. Hope they like me. And while it isn’t my fantasy world of being a Big Published Author, it is a Published Author, and I’ll find more readers through them than I could on my own.

I didn’t start with Champagne though. First, it was hard liquour. (Now that’s just plain silly.) No. What I mean to say is…first…I made my family read my stuff. Then my friends. Then I joined a writing group. Then a second writing group. Then I started reading my stuff out loud on the street corner (or at Dog Story Theater). Then I started a blog. Then I self-published “Easy Does It”. And then, and only then, did I get a gig with Champagne Books.

In my opinion, writing is about telling your story and then sharing that story, in any way you can. So what if you’re not making loads of money? you might. In time. Start small. Start by asking someone those terrifying questions. Even more terrifying than “Will you make out with me?” or “Do these jeans make me look fat?”

No.

You start with this: “I’ve written something. Could you read it and tell me what you think?”

Regardless of your reader or what they think, once your piece is read, it becomes real. You’ve told your story. Now tell another one. And maybe, just maybe, somewhere, somehow, an agent will listen and take you on. And if they don’t…well…fuck ‘em. Get your stuff out there another way. Any way possible. And keep doing it.

Here’s where I raise my wineglass to you and say “Cheers”.