When people ask me why I’m a writer, my response is ‘Why not’? After giving me a strange look, they will usually resort to the logical reasons why writing is a less than lucrative career unless one happens to make it big. They quickly add, “And very few do.”
I smile. I know something that perhaps my acquaintances do not. A writer writes because that’s what a writer does. Maya Angelou said it beautifully: “You write because you have to. A writer writes not because he is educated but because he is driven by the need to communicate.”
The written word, from Plato to Patterson, from Moses to Mailer, has shaped society’s thinking, its values and its dreams. But more than that: the written word shapes the one who writes it. For in our writing, we often discover something of ourselves hitherto unrealized. In seeking to create something worthwhile for others to enjoy, we access untapped reservoirs of thought and attitude that challenge our own inner growth perhaps more than it will ever challenge a reader. A writer is as much on a journey of self-discovery as he or she is on a voyage of self-expression.
Writing is at once exhilarating and tedious, amusing and strenuous. It can be an enemy as well as a friend. It may bring you intense pleasure as well as crushing frustration. Yet the writer never gives up. The thought of doing anything else is abhorrent.
And so we write on.
Becoming an author with something valuable to say to one’s contemporaries is the fruit of consistent discipline, a healthy dose of humility to receive constructive criticism and a persistence that defies reason.
There are days when more pages are consigned to the dustbin than the ones for which you click the ‘save’ button. It’s all part of the process and it’s all for the good. A seasoned author knows that one must be willing to discard as much as one keeps, to edit as much as one creates. It’s not enough to write; it’s even more important to scrutinize so that the ultimate goal of any writing project is achieved with excellence. There is no shortcut to best-seller status.
While various types of writers own their unique motivations and goals, each one’s book, poem, or short story is a vessel for an idea, which in one way or another has something to offer to the public. The challenge is to present one’s idea or message in a manner that will resonate with one’s prospective audience.
For me, writing is an opportunity to contribute something positive and uplifting to my readers. I love to entertain but I also love to inspire. Greatness is not for the lucky few but for all who reach higher than themselves.
Title: THE SILVER LOCKET