Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What do I think I'm doing?

I took a very memorable seminar at a writers convention about the arrogance of writers.  For most of us, we reach a point where we ask ourselves, "What do I think I'm doing, writing a book?  What makes me think I can compete with the big names?" 

For some, it's the need to express oneself.  For others, it's therapy - letting go of feelings they've been holding onto.  For others, it's pure ego.  Wanting recognition.  And then there are those that have a story to tell.

This seminar, in conjunction with a panel discussion by some well-known authors who admit that even after achieving their goals as a best-selling author they've had work rejected, helped to bolster this author's spirits (which were sorely sagging at the end of the first day of the conference).  After the first day, I remember feeling out of my league.  Maybe I should just go home.  But there's an inner voice that helps you along, and then there are those seminars that remind you that you are not alone.  A large number of people at that conference felt the same way and the seminar was a reminder to not give up if you are doing something you (a) truly believe in, (b) truly love.

Writing is not a lucrative career for most of us.  I tell the people at my day job it's a hobby - I don't make enough money at it to qualify it as anything else.  But like a woodworker, I refine my craft and work at it and I'd like to believe, in someone else's immortal words, that at the end of the day, my work "doesn't suck."  It gives me satisfaction -  a creative outlet.  It helps to make me well-rounded, not to mention the things you learn researching a story.

I draw on that seminar from time to time, reminding myself that even if people don't hang on my every word, it's worth something to me.  And if someone else sees value in my hard work, that answer to the question, "what do I think I'm doing?," is entertaining.  If not someone else, then my own self.  (maybe it's a problem that I'm easily amused, eh?)


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