A question I am frequently asked, especially by friends and family, but increasingly by others who do write, is…
“Why do you write?’
It’s a fair question and one I’m going to suggest you ask yourself, or allow me to ask it of you.
If the answer is as simple as “because I enjoy writing” or “because I’ve always wanted to,” that should be good enough to get you started. You can skip the rest of this essay and move on to Mile 3.
I know quite a few people who write only for themselves, or maybe to share with close friends and family, and with absolutely no intention of ever having their work published. And guess what? That is a perfectly valid reason for writing, and if that’s your reason for doing so — get started! You’ll find that you share many of the same joys, pains, highs, lows and stumbling blocks as those who hope to be published, or published again. The work and talent required to write a good book are no different for those whose audience is a handful, or maybe even one, than they are for those who hope to have tens, thousands — or millions — of readers.
But, if you have different aspirations (not better or worse, simply different), and you’ll be going down a path that includes planning or hoping to be published, you will have plenty of additional questions you’ll need to answer. Traditional or self-publishing? Do you need an agent? How about a publicist? Maybe a website, a Facebook page or a Goodreads page? An editor? A proofreader? What about Instagram? Are you hoping to make money as a writer? Are you writing Westerns because you love them?
I’ll be tackling all these issues as we go down this trail together. If they pertain to you, or you have an interest in them, read along. If not, skip them, and take advantage of the Trail Notes that apply to and work for you.
As for me? I write because I love it! And, as I move further down the trail, I’m also enjoying being published, selling a few books, and savoring the new experiences and the new people that come along with doing that. There is something very fulfilling about having people outside of my family and friends read, enjoy and review my books. It’s not why I write, but it’s a tremendous bonus and, at least for me, has become addictive. And now, I’m enjoying the process of sharing some of my experiences and insights with you.
So, as you think about why you write (knowing the reasons can change with time), let’s spend some time together and see if we can’t — working together — make it a more enjoyable and successful journey for you, regardless of how you define success!
If you have something you’d like to share, or a question you’d like to ask, send me an email at Scott@scottharriswest.com.
Thank you and keep writing!