Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Worth of Writing

So I had something else planned for today. Then I read Nathan Bransford's blog yesterday about the possibility of being crazy.

Um, anyone who knows me wouldn't hesitate to use this word to describe me. In fact, I have a T-shirt that says "crazy doesn't even begin to cover it". Really, I do.

But his post was more along the lines of this crazy dream of getting a book published. I definitely feel this kind of crazy. I've spent hours writing. Even more hours researching the business. Even more social networking. Critiquing. Editing. The whole nine yards.

Is it worth it?

Reading through the comments on Nathan's post, I see how other people endure their crazy moments. I've had a few things conspire against me recently, and I've had to make some priorities in my life.

While cleaning the garage: Is this worth keeping?

When my girl kidlet wants a popsicle and I want to say no: Is it worth the fight?

When the guy in front of me is going five under the speed limit: Is he worth passing? Do I even have room? Why is he only going 30??!!

But seriously. Sometimes I find myself in front of the computer late at night. The fan is on, cuz I like the white noise. The house is asleep. I've played my Bejeweled Blitz. I've read my blogs. I am calm.

And I'm writing. I've never asked myself if I'm crazy for aspiring to be a writer. I already know I'm crazy on many levels.

But every now and then, this question enter my mind: Is it worth it?

What do you think? Why is writing, and aspiring to become a published author, worth it? Whatever "it" may be.


Abby Annis said...

I'm pretty new to the whole querying thing, and I'm already having these kinds of thoughts.

I just try to remember why I liked to write in the first place. For me, it's always been a way of de-stressing. When I'm writing, I can block everything out, and let go of some of the crap that's weighing my life down.

If I can remember that, then it's all totally worth it. Well, except for writing query letters. Those suck no matter what. :)

Scott said...

Is it worth it? YES!

Why? Heck if I know. I just love to write. I love to journey to new and exciting places and live vicariously through my characters. I love - wicked laugh right about now - to create characters based on people I don't like and have bad things happen to them. Hey, it's a stress reliever and keeps me - somewhat - sane.

In the end, the journey is definitely worth it, even if publication doesn't happen for a few more years or decades for that matter. I love to write. Enough written!

Weronika Janczuk said...

Scott pretty much sums it up. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Why? Beats me.

I write because it's often my source of greatest energy -- there is an odd and a bit crazy type of adrenaline that I get from writing that makes the hours and the struggles worth it, not to mention I love to write.

Alicia Evans said...

It's worth it. And I only recently came to that conclusion. After I had my miscarriage which resulted in me losing my internship at a place I liked...I was wondering if ANYTHING was worth it.

But it is. I would be doing myself and my family a huge disservice if I gave up. My future and the future of my daughter is riding on it. And for that alone, it holds a world of worth.

Writing makes me happy. When I'm online for hours doing research on the business, networking and doesn't feel like work. I'm excited, my inspiration is renewed...and I think 'I'm really doing this'.

It's worth it because not too many other things are...

Unknown said...

Elana, thanks.

Because right about now, I don't friggen know.

So I am trying to figure it out as well. Sometimes I wish I'd never started. Sometimes I can't believe it took me so long.

There is that quote right? I can't remember who said it: "I write because I must."

That is it right now. Just like breathing. Only right now I have writers pneumonia and each breath feels like knives in my chest. (overly dramatic?) ;)

Michelle D. Argyle said...

I didn't answer over on Nathan's blog, so I'll answer here. I know I'm crazy for all the writing I do, for the attention I DON'T give my husband and child at times. It's crazy. It's selfish. It's mean. So is it worth it? I have no idea. I just know that I'd probably be crazier if I didn't write. So to me right NOW, yes it's worth it. I don't have a car. Just the internet and my imagination. So I write. And I hope. And I work.

The one thing that I do know is worth it, even in the long run, is connecting with other crazy writers. That way we're at least not alone, and we make some friendships that will last a lifetime.

Aaron Polson said...

I'm going to buck the trend and say no, just because our culture tends to stamp "worth" on everything with a dollar sign.

I'm not doing this for the pay off. If you break down the $/hour well, it's a worse pay rate than coaching at a public school--and that's saying a lot.

But in my head--clotted with cobwebs, sure--writing is worth it, if only for the sense of balance and joy of creation.

Cheesy...yes. But true. So I contradicted myself. Sue me.

Michelle McLean said...

The writing - worth it, hands down, no contest. I love it, I've always done it, and I always will do it.

The quest for publication, to be an actual published author - sometimes I don't know.

It isn't the writing that brings me stress. It's the querying, the submissions, the constant and never-ending edits and revisions, striving to get the ms as perfect as I can get it. THAT is what drives me to the ledge and leaves me hanging.

And sometimes I don't know if it IS worth it or not. I could write for myself, share my stories with my family (who generally love my first draft material and are happy with whatever I give them.

But the bottom line is....being a published author is my dream. Since I was little, I've wanted to see my name on my very own book on the shelves of every bookstore I walk in to.

So, it must be worth it right? How can pursuing your dream be anything but worth it? When it starts feeling like it's not...I'll take a step back...I'll quit querying for a month or I'll focus on a new project. I do whatever I need to do until the stress goes away and it starts to feel worth it again :)

It'll happen someday. But not if I don't try. ;-D

Windy said...

I think I am crazy, but I also think that it is totally worth it! I try my best to balance things that need to be done and time with my family, but my writing is all about me. Some people go to the spa to relax and vent. I get onto the computer and write. And write and write and write.

While the adventure to getting published does make me feel like I'm going crazy, at the same time, the writing has kept me more sane than anything else!

Wendy Paine Miller said...

This post encompasses so much of what I would have written on Nathan’s comments (no time).

I'm not afraid of crazy. It's apathy, boredom and not doing what I need to be doing that I fear.

Writing: it's worth it.

Great points!
~ Wendy

Tess said...

some days it's worth it

some days it's not

just like the other stuff.

i think - in the end - the joy and purpose it gives me far outweigh the cost.

but it is a good question to ask ourselves.

Katie Salidas said...

At times I feel I am absolutley crazy to spend so much time and energy for a hobby, but then I am reminded that I enjoy writing. It is my escape, and I need it.

Angie said...

Everyone else has such nice long comments. All I have to say is that I want a T-shirt like that, and YES, it's worth it!

Amanda Bonilla said...

I hear you Elana! Sometimes I feel crazy, hopeless, helpless and silly! But even when I try to put a respectable time limit on writing and pursuing this crazy dream of becoming published, I find that I can't drag myself from the keyboard. It's not crazy if writing has that strong a hold. It's not hopeless if the stories keep coming. It's not helpless as long as you have great friends to read and crit, and it's only silly if you want it to be!!!

lisa and laura said...

SO worth it! I love to write and I want to see my books published someday and I won't give up until it happens. It's as simple as that.

Oh and I have nothing else to do. Honestly I can't imagine what I'd do with my time if I wasn't writing. But I'd definitely be MORE crazy with out it.

Elana Johnson said...

Interesting stuff here. See, sometimes I spend so much time thinking about writing, writing, blogging, etc, that I lose sight of my real life. So that's when it's NOT worth it.

But when I'm alone and it's late, and the moon is out, and the words are's so worth it.

Angie, the shirt is one of those crazy bunny ones. You totally need one.

Sun Up, I so hear you on questioning whether anything is worth it during hard times. I've been there. *hugs*

Aaron, dude, I'm so suing you. *wink* Great thoughts. I'm like you. Yes and no. Depends on the day.

Suzanne, I've had times like that too. Like living is so hard. Writing can be that way too.

Scott, I like your style. ;-)

XiXi said...

It's worth it. I don't know anyone who writes who doesn't think it's worth it, because anyone who writes actually loves doing it.

It's more of an addictive thing, really. Even if it wasn't worth it, I would be writing anyway. So it's worth it. Does that even make sense?

Corey Schwartz said...

Where did you get the T-shirt? I want one!

And, yes, it's worth it :)

Kathryn Hupp-Harris said...

It's absolutely worth it. Just like Scott said: It's all about living vicariously. :-)

Cole Gibsen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cole Gibsen said...

Because I'm an artist and I have to create as surely as I have to breathe to live.

And I don't always love it. Sometimes I'd rather stick a rusted fork in my eye than sit down with my WIP. But as a writer and slave to my muse I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I don't have a choice.

Sarah Jensen said...

I'm gonna answer this in two parts.

For me, it's worth it. Even with the trials, good things have come out of this journey.

I've learned tons. Not just about writing, but people, places, and things. :)

I am more fulfilled. I've made great friends that "get me".

Now, part two, Is it worth it for you to keep writing.


I've read much of your stuff, and hands down, you are still one of my favorite writers, published or not. You are talented beyond belief, and even though your books don't yet sit on my bookshelf, they will. I have faith in your work.
So please, do us all a favor and keep writing. It's worth it!

Adam Johnson said...

I think it's worth it because you love it. My wife is aspiring to be a writer right and it feels as if we have had a major set back this week. When I got married I knew I was marrying the most beautiful woman in the world, but I didn't realize how talented, thoughtful, and courageous she was. There are a lot of things she does that drive me nuts from time to time. This is not one of them; because, through this process I have learned things about her I could not have learned otherwise. I'm thankful for that. My heart ached today as I thought about the pain she must go through as rejections come, requests come, hope builds, and more rejections come. Yet, in the end you can only be joyful being what you are and what you should be. I pray that my wife finds joy in this someday.

Elana Johnson said...

Aww... *wipes the tears* Isn't my DH great??

Sherry Dale Rogers said...

Every moment of our lives are worth it even the bad ones...because when you add all those moments together you get "You" and that is something to be proud of. Yes, we are crazy for trying to publish and make the big times as an author but to be an author you have to be crazy. Lets look at it, we never sleeep, we cut ourshelves off from the world and lock ourshelves in dimly lit rooms. Our only companion is the computer and we laugh hysterically, cry mournfully, smile proudly as our characters evolves "all of this done in a room alone". Plus I am sure we talk to ourshelves. "Hello." Yes to be a writer we are crazy.

Rachael said...

Sometimes when I'm writing I'll think "Why am I spending my summer doing this? Is this worth it? When all the work is done, am I going to have anything to show for it?"

Yes, it is worth it. Because I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't write. Writing is my passion. When I'm having a bad day, writing 1k makes it all better. Without writing, I'd go insane. (More insane than I already am, of course.)

Anonymous said...

Is it worth it?

Yes. Yes, a thousand times, yes! Whether or not my words are in print, whether or not my name graces a spine, whether or not I earn the title "author"--yes, yes, a thousand times, YES.

I have never found greater peace, joy, and soulful happiness than I do in the written word. Crafting it is only that much more beautiful than reading it. Should I touch one person with my words--it will be enough.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Is it worth it?

When I learn something new about myself, grow a little through my writing, that's when I know it's worth it. No one ever said learning and growing would be easy, writing's proof that it isn't.

Ryan S. Kinsgrove said...

I've been thinking about doing a post on this recently. Lol. I believe that writing is worth it, and that publishing is worth it, but not in the normal sense I guess you could say. I believe that writing is a journey, every story I write, edit, send out, and get a rejection on is part of that journey. In the journey, getting published isn't the destination, achieving the personal goals I set for myself aren't the destination, and as I see it now, there isn't a destination. I just want to enjoy the journey, that's all. If publishing is a part of that journey than I'll see it when the time comes. Other than that I'll just keep on writing.

Word verification: lessne: seems to me that we all need to learn something

Sarah Wylie said...

I think about it all the time.
I don't know if I can explain further than to say "but it's my dream!" Holding a book with my name on the cover and on the spine makes it worth it!

Jessica L. Brooks (coffeelvnmom) said...

I know I am probably going to repeat what everyone else has said but we all go through that "crazy" part. I feel as though I am going crazy almost every day doing exactly what you mentioned - writing, researching, ect.

I almost had a panic attack the day I finally told everyone I had decided to start writing. I was worried about what people would think of my dream, how they would react when what I have written finally somehow gets out there, and what they would think of the writing in general.

But a good friend of mine pointed out that our job as writers is to share what is on our hearts with everyone and then go from there - and what follows will just be icing on the cake;)

(Course I still want to find an agent and publisher and get my writing published, but sometimes it helps to look at the entire process in a completely different way!)

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