Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Why do you write?

Writing has always been my passion, and for nearly twenty years, it's been a part of my profession as well. At different times, I've written for different reasons and purposes, but it's always been an important part of my life. As an editor, however, I've noted some interesting differences in people who write (or claim to).

  • People who write for themselves; they don't need to worry about what anyone else thinks of their writing, because they simply never show it to anyone. This is lovely and I highly encourage anyone who is considering starting a journal -- it's amazing when you go back several years and read old ones.

  • People who believe they write for themselves, but really want to receive accolades. As an editor, this type of writer is the most difficult to work with because they tend to be haughty and unreceptive to any suggestions that things could be improved.

  • People who want to be authors. These people write, but they do it because they think it will bring them fame and fortune. They resent successful authors quite a bit and they bring the targets of their resentment up frequently. When their books fail to sell, it's because the publisher treated them shabbily. When they fail to find a publisher at all, it's because the publisher is stupid.

  • People who love to write and just do it. I love working with this type of writer. They're always interested in improving their craft and they're open to suggestions. When I'm evaluating queries, I always look for clues that an author is this type of writer because that's what I'm looking for.

  • People who have something to say. I originally forgot this one, but they're very important; in fact, sometimes their work is the best, because it often has enough real meaning for them that it carries through to the reader.

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