Tuesday, November 03, 2009

With doom and gloom all over, why keep writing?

Seems there’s more bad new than good these days in the writing game. Books, as we know them, will soon be no more. Publishers are asking more and more of their authors as sales plummet. It’s hard to get shelf space as the number of bookstores dwindles. Writers receive even less money when they’re published electronically. And finally from Vicki’s blog entry yesterday, “The price war between Wal-Mart and Amazon that is driving down the price of books.”

Sheesh! It’s hard not to be constantly looking up at the publishing sky, cringing at the thought of yet another lightning bolt cast down upon the printed page. Why bother writing anymore?

Because we must. Face it, we’re all born storytellers. Bet you we all can’t help embellishing any story we tell, from what went on at work today, some well-remembered family happening from many years ago, something that happened to us as kids, right up to something that never happened at all, but that we wish had taken place. Sometimes we recount our flights of real life fiction so well, not only do we convince our listeners, we even convince ourselves over time — and as a result, keep psychiatrists in new cars and big houses.

If the above describes you to even a small extent, you are a serial writer. There is no support group for this affliction, well, outside of Type M for Murder and its ilk. The only way you can get your fix is to jot down even a few words, sometimes any words will do. I find myself rewriting ads that come to my door when I can’t get at my latest novel or short story. That illustrates the depths to which we can and will sink to satisfy our craving: rewriting someone else’s words.

And then there’s the Big Score, always just tantalizingly out of reach, that keeps us going: a big book deal we're convinced is just around the corner, the chance to be on the New York Times bestseller list. Our next novel is going to be the one that makes us a household name, a comet in the literary firmament, a guest on Michael Enright’s Sunday Edition radio show.

Writing is better than drugs, isn’t it?


John Corrigan said...

As usual, you hailed it!

Rick Blechta said...

I want to be on Michael Enright's show someday to confess that I read bad poetry, like Lorna Crozier's, when I relax on Sundays.

That's why I write.


Debby (Deborah Turrell) Atkinson said...

Rick, you crack me up! I nearly spit coffee on my keyboard.

Rick Blechta said...


Nancy J. Parra said...

Love this post- and darn if it isn't true! Thanks~

Rick Blechta said...

My pleasure!

Thanks for stopping by. Next time, let us know you're coming and we'll have a pot of virtual coffee brewed.