Uh-oh, you may be saying. What is she thinking about now? Well, writing, of course. But, in more general terms than that, I've been thinking about the right to write.
Before I say that one more time (because it's fun) I'll beg your understanding that these are only my thoughts, musings, and wrestlings about the subject. No fingers pointed, only thoughts directed to spur honest conversation :)
The right to write
Told you I'd say it again. What does that mean? It's more a question than anything else. I've been thinking about the publishing process and listening to interesting stories from writer friends - both good and bad - about their publishing experiences. It's quite the ride they go through. The question of acceptance. The agony of edits. The joy of holding a newly-born/printed book in their hands. Seeing their tangible legacy covered in paper and baring their name for all to see. The nervousness of wondering if book two will be as good...
Then, in the corner, covered in dust and ashes are the authors who's hearts have been ripped out, much like zombies searching for...whatever it is that zombies search for. They struggle to be heard. They feel the bite of rejection. They cry a little, clutch their manuscript to their chest, and heave a great sigh thinking, "Maybe I'm just not good enough."
That's not for me to say, nor is that really what this post is about. But I will say it's a scary thing to imagine. Which side of the divide will I fall on? How long will it take me to know which side I'm on? >Insert eerie shudder< I'm not sure that I want to know the answer to that.
But I have the right to write, right?
The overbearing question I'm finding myself asking is do I get to choose what I write? Do I get to be as creative as I want? Because, at the end of the day, if a reader isn't willing to take a chance and a ride with my wild imagination, then maybe it's best to tame it down. To change it. To imagine something else.
I'm sure if you're a writer who's considered publishing you've thought about this. How much do I write for me and how much do I write for them.
We all know who they are...the voracious, sometimes brutally critical, at other times loving and kind...READERS. But before we even reach them, we have to get through the other them. The publishers who decide to put money into our vision. Our imagination. Should our precious manuscript even make it that far.
I guess I don't really have a final say on this post. Like I said, it's more my thoughts about the matter, but it does beg the question:
I'm not saying writing for the reader is a bad idea, or even a sell-out. We write so that others can enjoy--can read. But how much do we believe in what we are doing to do this well? Do we believe in our story enough to wait? To hear what others (the right people) say and put in the hard work to finish it? Do we strive to be the best we can be in craft and character development, or are we so focused on our own right to write that we ignore all but our own voices reminding us about that right.
I want to be a published author. I want to be good. And that's not because I want to sell a lot of books (though that would be quite fantastic). I want to be good so that I can take the barriers away for my readers. So that they can see why I deserve the right to write. So that they can experience the story as it should be.
What do you think?
Readers: Have you read books that make you reconsider a writers "right to write"? Are you willing to take a risk on a story-journey that may be different than what you're used to? What's the pull for you?
Writers: Do you ever feel the weight of having to fit your story into a category instead of "just writing"? What sacrifices do you/have you made in order to "fit in" and was it better for your story?