Monday, August 30, 2010

Do You Really Have to Write?

Tip of the Day: So busy! My new Android phone can take notes and to-do lists; I just have to figure out how to use it. If you have an Android, start with, the online app store.

On Friday, Lisa opened up a very interesting discussion on whether you could quit writing and under what circumstances. Enough commenters said that they could never stop writing, even if they could never get published, to make me wonder. What are people writing that inspires them to keep going without an audience?

So imagine a world where there are no publishing houses. You can't get paid for your writing, novels or magazine articles or nonfiction. This isn't a doom and gloom, we're all indies in the future rant. I'm imagining an alternate universe for the sake of figuring something out. (I think I've been reading too much sci fi.)

So you can't sell your work. What would you write?

Would you write for your friends, like David Levithan wrote Valentine Day stories for his friends every year when he was younger? Would you start creative writing workshops for other writers? Or for teens, like Dave Eggers' 826 Valencia project? Would you write fanfic for an appreciative audience, or would you write nonfiction inspiring people to learn something new? Or would you just write for yourself?

I'm not sure how much I'd do differently, really. I might take more time off to try new things, like poetry, that I'm currently convinced I suck at. I might be more inclined to write nonfiction without the pressure of needing a platform in today's market. I'd be more of a dabbler, which means I'd probably be less good at writing novels.

Hmm, interesting thought.

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages


Summer Ross said...

I'd write for myself and my children.

kat said...

In the world of 'no publishing,' I know I would still write as I don't publish now!

I write stories about my life and send them to my family. I write long letters to my friends and family. I write poems and file them away. I write travel logs of our sailboat adventures for a large e-mail group of readers.

I used to keep an intense and lengthy personal journal but that has fallen by the wayside in recent years for personal reasons.

I send my writing to friends and family mostly, I guess. They are my readers.

I think I often write to straighten out my own thoughts, however. Writing organizes my mind and life knows, I need to organize my mind!

I admit that I 'dream' of having my 'personal work' published, but I don't work at having it happen. My journalistic work was published in corporate newsletters and other media, but I don't count that too much.

I've stored my lifelong 'hand' writing away with thoughts of organizing and publishing it at some future time but I'm too lazy to do it, and I don't think my kids will take the initiative after I'm 'gone.'

My hard disk is full of various work as well. I write, write, write. For me... I guess.

DeenaML said...

Well, in high school when I wrote sarcastic commentaries, and I wasn't seeking any form of $ or publication, my audience was my peers and friends.

And now, until I'm pubbed my audience will be my peers and friends. I'm so lucky to have friends excited to read my work, lol! But I think I'd tend to stick with kidlit and not return to my sarcastic teen commentaries.

Like Kat, I also used to write long letters and emails as well. I would probably do more of that, more communicating with real life friends instead of those only in my head. :)

writerjenn said...

I would at least write for myself. I actually have a few stories in my computer that I wrote just for me, since I figure nobody else would be interested. A romance revolving around the study of botany, anyone? I thought not, but it's one of my favorite comfort reads. I had to write it myself because nobody else would!

Kate Fall said...

Oh, I used to write long letters too! I haven't done that in a long time.

DeenaML said...

Jenn, I love that you wrote the botany romance just for yourself!

Lisa Schroeder said...

In some ways, I wish I was more like Kat. I'd love to write more letters for my kids and other family members to file away. (Although maybe they'd just throw them away, who knows)