We’re always being told that if we want to succeed as a writer then we must take our writing seriously. What the hell does that mean anyway? I feel like I’m taking it seriously. It’s super important to me. I use my spare time to write. I buy Writing-for-Dummies books and go to conferences. I daydream about my stories. So yeah, I take my writing seriously.
I read a blog post this past week, Don’t Eat the Butt by the awesome Kristen Lamb (seriously, read her blog!). This post describes lies that can poison our writing career. It speaks of writers as professionals, who treat their writing as a job. Hmmmm. This stopped me and a lightbulb went off in my head. (woah, look at the cobwebs in here!)
I take writing seriously, but… life gets in the way, right? Everyone is busy, but how busy am I really? To take my writing seriously, I need to treat it like a job, a too-much-overtime-not-enough-pay-mom-won’t-approve-of job. Still, a real job.
A teacher wouldn’t be late for his class because he had to get groceries. A doctor wouldn’t skip surgery because no one had clean underwear in her house. An airline pilot wouldn’t hold up a flight because he was having lunch with his buddies. And a police officer wouldn’t not respond to a call because they wanted to watch the latest episode of Being Human. (fantastic show BTW)
Why is the reason that these people always show up to their jobs? It’s because people are depending on them. This more than pay is why they ‘show up’ on time and do their work. They have real live people (not just the ones in their heads) needing them, depending on them. But what about writers? No one but our characters and ourselves are depending on our stories, right?
Wrong. As a child, stories were the light in my darkest times. They helped shape me and helped me understand myself and my world. I clung to them. I still do. This is why I believe that readers depend on writers. They need us to finish our stories, so they have something to escape with, something to comfort them, to excite them, make them laugh or cry. They need our stories to help them experience and understand things beyond themselves. I believe writers make a huge impact on our world.
So will I be taking my writing seriously from now on? Damn straight. My butt will be in my chair during my writing time. How about you?