Quick Note: This post was originally written back on my old writing site A Writer’s Struggle, sometime around 2012 before I published my first book, started Steam Powered Dreams, or anything else I’ve done. I’ve left it mostly in it’s entirty, but anything I’ve added will be in [brackets]. I may consider adding to this “series” since I still am very far from my goals.
You might be asking yourself what “The Before” is all about, why is it multi-part, and where is “The After”? To answer this simply, the before is a multi-part look at how I view writing, publishing, being published, fame-in-writing, and any other aspects of being a writer that I’m thinking. How many parts it will have, I don’t really know. It all depends on how much I feel like doing and how much I get done before being published. “The After” is, then, self-explanatory, but more about that in a bit.
Or maybe you’re not asking this. Maybe you don’t care about what I think or how I view things about writing, but if that’s the case, why are you still reading after the first paragraph?
Okay, kidding aside, some of my views on writing are probably far off from reality and others may just be outright dumb. I do value feedback on anything I say, so if you think I need a reality check, by all means, comment [This is still true! I thrive on feedback.]!
The truth is, I don’t know much. What I know about the writing process itself was mainly self-taught, with a few good English or Fiction Writing teachers along the way, but I believe that writing is a natural thing, it should be guided by how you feel, not what you’re taught. This is why you’ll sometimes see me break a “rule” of English. When I’m writing an essay or other important paper, I make sure to try my hardest not to do this, but it’s part of my style and it really comes out when I’m writing prose [Whoa! This has changed! Since then I got my bachelor’s degree in English and written upwards of 500k words!].
If you’re an artist of any kind, I’m sure you’ve heard someone tell you that art is a living thing, and this is as true for writing as any other art form. When I write, I may know where I’m starting, where it is headed, and where it should end up, but this often changes, sometimes many times, in the process[Still true. Even though I do plan out my stories a lot more now, I’m still a pantser at heart]. This, along with the fact that a story can always be better, makes this a never-ending process, until you finally just have to be DONE with it.
The part 1 of The Before is going to focus on how I view famous writers and becoming famous as a writer. I’ve recently really gotten into Patrick Rothfuss’ work, both The Name of the Wind and A Wise Man’s Fear, and know that his novels became relatively well known. I know at the very least the first in the series was a #1 bestseller, which in many ways is the Super Bowl of writing [Oh how things have changed]. I couldn’t begin to tell you the feeling a writer has to just get published, let alone get on a major top ten list. Hitting number one is even more far out there to me. I’ve been writing since I was about six years old and have seen a few poems published in collections, but never anything major. It’s no wonder, then, that writing a novel and getting it published is a lifelong dream of mine.
But what must it feel like to be recognized for your writing? For someone to tell you that your novel changed them, even if in the smallest way? I know many novels, including Rothfuss’, have had an impact on my life in one way or another, and this is why I write. Money is great, but it only provides a means to an end, a necessity of life that I don’t value very highly.
On the other side, we have fame.
It would be amazing to go into a con and be noticed without promoting myself, for someone who’s read my book to approach me and tell me they’ve read my book, or even further to be known worldwide, but that’s just an ego-feeder.
What truly drives me is the hope that one day, my writing will help people. I write fiction, but there is plenty of fiction that is “real”.
[Update: I still feel like this in many ways, but my outlook on successful writers isn’t so….god-like. I thin kit would be interesting to write about this. Maybe a good topic for another time.]