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Friday, 10 February 2012

Why do we DO it? Asks Author Miriam Wakerly

Author of three published novel, Miriam Wakerly poses the question we ask our self from time to time, why do we do it?

Oh, the pain, the heartache! The worry, the precious time it gobbles up! Why do writers write fiction?
Some authors will be absolutely clear about their motivation and will no doubt tell me so. Please do!

Do we chase the dream of writing ‘for a living’? As with many artistic endeavours, to be able to earn money creatively, pleasurably, seems the ideal lifestyle. Perhaps you do! Do we want fame and fortune? Do we love the thrill of aiming high? A bestseller? Enjoy a bit of a gamble? Or is it just a big ego-trip? Are we basically insecure beings who need adulation or approval? Perhaps we want to leave something tangible for posterity.

Some authors may have a burning issue, a message or cause they need to convey; or an experience to share, wrapped up in a story. Perhaps shy and introspective (see para 3 here we are more at ease, and more effective when communicating in print, or on screen, rather than vocally. A teacher may have once inspired us; or a love of language may simply propel us forward. Finding ‘le mot juste’ or a turn of phrase can be immensely satisfying. A lively imagination cannot be denied an outlet or something will burst! Ah, to escape reality – there’s another one.

Amazing how many possible reasons to write there are! Have I missed something? What’s yours?

For me, well, there may be minuscule amounts of all of the above, except for fame. I have no wish for that.

The reason I write is that I enjoy it! I find the research fascinating too – to really get under the skin of a subject. I suspect most writers are the same. I love to create characters and places; weave a story through a maze until it all comes together at the end. Perhaps I am a control freak, presiding over my imagined world, moving people around like pawns.

But – and this is a big BUT – there seems little point or purpose in writing a novel that will never see the light of day! There comes a point when writing is bound up with ‘who is this for?’ and before you know it, you are thinking ‘readers’, ‘genre’, ‘target audience’ and thus inexorably we are drawn into the world of promotion and marketing. For some this may even be the starting point.

One thing I never predicted was the wonderful side effect of this solitary psychosis (building castles in the air and living in them!), and that is meeting so many warm-hearted, like-minded people both for real and online.

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  1. Miriam, Thank you so much for this post. I am reading "Shades of Appley Green" now and this post is So You! Such a gentle humor and a deep understanding you have, it seeps through in all your words, even the ones that "never see the light of day" But somehow they do. Write on! Susan

  2. This is so wonderful! Thanks Susan. And you are in Chicago? I would love to know if the English village novel is loved by American readers. I do hope so! I guess you write from your amazing experiences, do you? Miriam

  3. It's an addiction, Miriam. when I had a day job I used to go into withdrawals when my work life was so busy there was no time left to write.

  4. Americans can't get enough of English village novels.

  5. Why DO we do it? I like to think of it in loftier terms—like, it's the only time I feel good or it's a gift from on high—but, actually, I think you're right, Chris: the devil makes me write. I just think the addiction part reveals itself more in the constant revising, the niggling, the "if only I could think of the right word, this one's not right"—that's what keeps me up at night.

  6. Chris - yes maybe you could describe it as an addiction - obsession, passion, can't live without it, all that. And I remember having to write from about the age of 7, even when my parents were shooing me out of the door to go and play and get some fresh air!!
    Susan, Good news Americans like village novels, as Shades of Appley Green is the first of a series! How do I get the entire USA to find out about my books?!! by the way, I expect you know the two Gypsy themed books are also in Appley Green?