Know Why Not

This post comes from Martha Bolton, author of the author of 87 books, including her newest, Josiah for President. Welcome Martha!


It’s just as important to know why you don’t write as it is to know why you do.

You don’t write to get rich. I once had a business card made up as a joke that said, “Have pen, will grovel.” Being a writer is not a fast track to riches. You work long and hard on projects that may or may not ever see the light of day. You’ll find yourself celebrating a $50 cartoon gag sale with as much enthusiasm as you would signing a book contract. It’s nice to receive fair compensation for your work, but a writer should be passionate about his/her craft beyond any monetary gain. If awards and riches come, enjoy them and do some good in the world. But your passion should be in the work. If not, you’ll be tempted to throw in the towel at the first rejection.

You don’t write to get even or compete with others. We’ve all been hurt in life, and even the greats have had to contend with the jealousy of others. Most good writers don’t waste their career on such things. Write what you are meant to write and don’t get sidetracked.

You don’t write to please everyone. You can try, but you’ll only make yourself ill. Write the story that’s burning inside of you. Write for one person, even if that person is yourself. Write it well, but write it. The masses may end up loving your work, but that part is out of your control.

You don’t write to get famous. Few writers are recognized on the street.
For the most part, writing is a “behind the scenes” career. I once saw a book that I had co-written with a famous personality advertised in a catalog. The 20 percent off emblem was placed directly over my name. I had to laugh. But things like that happen all the time in a writing career. So you can’t take yourself too seriously. If you’re writing to stroke your ego, this probably isn’t the career for you. But if writing is what keeps you getting up in the morning and going to your work area, if you’re not seeking riches or fame or anything else other than putting pen to paper, or fingers on the keyboard, and seeing what can happen, then go for it. Who knows, you may end up becoming famous after all. Like I said, that part is out of your control. But I can almost guarantee you will end up fulfilled.

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