Why I Write

Why do you write?

People ask me this with some regularity, generally not long after they discover that I spend the one commodity in this life you can never buy more of trying to cram a story into a glowing box. The answer is pretty simple: I have stories to tell.

Stories are some of the most powerful creations in human history. They can inspire us to greatness, warn us of the consequences of our deeds, make us fall in love, or remind us we have an obligation to the world around us. They can impart knowledge, teach wisdom, bathe entire pieces of history in a whole new light. They have been around since the first precursors to homo-sapiens grunted out the glory of the hunt and will continue to be until our evolved descendants tell one another the virus has already infected them, there’s nothing to be done.

Even then, some asshole will write the story of that virus and some future alien race will read it make a movie about it.

I want to be a part of that cycle. I want people to look at the things I write and say ‘that was not a waste of the time it took me to read it. In fact, I will recommend it to others so they can also not waste their time with it.’

I’ve had people who, in their ignorance, seem to believe authors make barrows of cash and drive pretty cars and date gorgeous women. I assure you there are perhaps a dozen such authors, and none of them got that money from selling books. That money came from film and TV rights based on their books. I’m not in this to make money, though being able to get by on nothing but writing would be beyond cool, and what’s cooler than cool? Ice cold.

So, no, I’m not in this for the money; I’m not in this for the fame; I’m not in this to learn the cool handshake all SFF authors learn upon their first publishing deal (though I hear Chuck Wendig will teach it to you for tacos and beer). My reasons are much more selfish and one is unbearably vain.

I write because I want people to be entertained. I write because I want people to know my stories.

To make that happen I must be published.

I want to be published because I want respect from those who are successful with their writing.

Reading vs Writing

Hey there Internets,

As the inaugural post for my newly published blog, I thought I’d ramble about my struggle with reading versus writing.

I’m trying to get published, by that I mean I’m desperately seeking validation from a group of people who have standards in the field I’m struggling to break into. In order to write well enough to get into this field, I have to– wouldn’t ya know– write things. This takes time. A lot of it. I’m also not getting paid for any of that time, so it has to be found in the moments when I’m not earning a paycheck to keep a roof over my head. Oh, yeah, did I mention the wife and two children who actually care about me and want to be around me and interact with me? All of that shit takes time.

Here’s where the problem comes in: in order to know what good writing looks like, know what’s selling, what publishers are buying, and what sorts of stories the readers want, I have to read. This also takes time. Noticing a theme yet?

A few months ago this was a serious problem for me because I didn’t know diddly about some of the more contemporary authors in the genre. I had heard/read names online (thanks to reddit.com/r/fantasy) and knew there were some books I needed to read, but for the most part I was pretty oblivious and had to stay that way due to budget constraints, because books cost money. This changed with WorldCon (referred to by some as LoneStarCon 3) coming to San Antonio Labor Day weekend. I met some pretty incredible people there, and won a stack of free books that will set me up for the next few months. Now I’m forced to take a hard look at my writing and reading habits.

Here’s what I’ve concluded: when I get home from work, I will hug and kiss the children and my wife and disappear into a dark hole to write. This will last until roughly dinner time (2 hours). On a reasonable day, that should get me 1,500 words, assuming no major distractions. After dinner will be family time: games, legos, TV, whatever. Just me being Daddy, no publishing business in sight (about 2 more hours). Then, when the kids are in bed, I will snuggle up with my beautiful, supportive wife and a book, and I will read until it’s my turn to fall asleep.

If this doesn’t work, I guess I’ll just have to start working on getting that Time-Turner from McGonagall.