I’ve been an author/writer for years. Since my early years at college and following my Bread Loaf School of English courses, I’ve worked quietly and consistently–plugging away at my vocation. Little known, but read by a small and faithful tribe.
Every writer or author I know (and I know many) writes to be read. He writes to communicate. She usually has something to say.
Some write for self-gratification. Others seek recognition, perhaps for a cause or personal fame. Some hope to make a living at it. Some write to change their tribe or the world. Most write because–know it or not–they have an innate desire to create.
I write because my Father is an author. And His writing has changed my life forever. I know the power of words. I’ve tasted the power of His Word. I’ve experienced the effect of words from both sides–changing and being changed. And I want to see lives changed for the better.
Though many writers may not know or acknowledge it, this subconscious, creative drive to write is in them because they are made in the image of God–who is Creator. Consciously, we all do it because wonderful rewards come from both the finished work and the process itself. Here are some of the rewards for writing well which I’ve been able to identify.
Many write just to write, but writing well can end in recognition. I’m not convinced that those who set out to be recognized get recognized, but it can end up being one of the rewards. Especially for those who write well.
Recognition can lead to influence. Perhaps they desire to influence history or simply a few souls. It can also lead to the next reward.
Some of us go on to receive remuneration. Perhaps we don’t make our living at our writing–though undoubtedly some do–but we receive some form of remuneration. For my first published writing, I received only experience. Then, mugs, thanks, and more assignments. Once editors know that you will deliver and that you meet your deadlines without excuse, invitations increase.
For a while, I wrote for an online magazine that paid nicely and gave me regular work (until the editor left and the new one went in a different editorial direction. It happens). But remuneration–payment–can be a huge motivator and reward.
Joy in the Process
Being in the zone is a great reward of writing well. I love “the zone” I enter when writing. Everything else kind of fades away. My writing mentor–Ron Hansen–once told me, “David, turn off the editor, teacher, preacher, critic, and simply tell the story you have to tell.” Don’t be the perfectionist at the first draft stage. That can come later.
Jeff Goins once gave the same advice. That first write is such a creative act. Just get it out! And when I’m doing it well, I’m in the zone. Perfectly at peace, I’m writing what flows. Sometimes I may need to stop and mull things over, but I try to just keep going.
By the time I’m through, reentry is always amazing. Twenty minutes or several hours may have passed. Then I leave the work. Coming back to it later, I’m always amazed at the material I have to work with. Editing is its own kind of enjoyment for some of us. Hell for others. But nothing tops being in the zone or flow.
Satisfaction at a job well done
Good writers take great satisfaction at a job well done. They love the feeling of reading the finished work. Hearing themselves read to others and having them feedback is almost always rewarding.
I love knowing I’ve done my best. I enjoy knowing that something I wrote worked something good in someone else. That brings us to the superlative reward for writing as a believer.
A reader once told me that my first book literally changed his life. He has a whole new perspective on his value to God. If I never wrote another thing, that would be enough reward for me. Another reader, and friend, actually adopted a child on the basis of something I wrote. It doesn’t get any better for me. Not money, not fame or notoriety, not awards can compete with the joy that comes hearing you’ve altered someone’s life for the better.
I’m sure I’ve left out other rewards for writing well, but these are some of which I’m aware. I’d love to hear why you write.
QUESTION: What rewards for writing well have I left out? Are there some you agree with? Why?
I’m participating with fellow traveller and author, Jeff Goins.
He has challenged his tribe and fellow bloggers to put into practice “15 Habits of Great Writers.” Coincidentally, this is also the title of his most recent book. If you haven’t purchased it yet, you owe it to yourself . . . if you consider yourself a writer . . . and if you believe that you can learn from fellow writers . . . to buy it, read it, and put it into practice.
The word for today, the first day of the challenge, is: DECLARE.
The idea is to declare to others (and more importantly, to yourself) that you indeed are a writer.
Long-liners are much like writers. They fish for something they know exists but can’t be seen, swimming in the depths below. They catch a fish on line and pull it in careful to ease it in and not to lose it. Then, when it’s close enough to reach, they gaff it and together pull it aboard, shouting and rejoicing. What was once invisible below is now visible on their deck.
I declared myself a writer, a fisher of the invisible, more than a half-century ago. I write because I’ve got something important to say to a particular group of people. I write because I want to communicate. I write because I have a vocation to write that is God-given. I was created to be a writer. I was created to speak publicly what I hear in private. I was given stewardship over a gift to hear and see what is invisible.
Writing is making visible the invisible so that others can have a share in it. Shakespeare described the process of creative writing:
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name..
“Gives to airy nothing, a local habitation and a name” Is this what you do? Then you, along with me and others, are a writer.
The characrter of Billy Tyne (Captain of the Andrea Gail) , in the movie “The Perfect Storm” described what it was to be a sword boat Captain. At the end of his description he stares straight ahead at the sea in front of him and says, “Is there anything better in the world?”
I would have to answer “Yes . . . to be a writer.”
QUESTION: What about you . . . Have you DECLARED that you are a writer? When? How?
- E-Book Review: You Are A Writer by Jeff Goins (fantasyfic.wordpress.com)
- Book Review – You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins (bookshelfontilt.wordpress.com)