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Writing for Myself

me in my old writing days

When I was a young writer, I had that big dream – to become the next Anne McCaffrey, or Piers Anthony, or Isaac Asimov – this was well before the days of Harry Potter. I was sure of my writing brilliance.

Once in my junior year of High School, I proudly handed my English teacher (and still dear friend to this day) the intro to a story I was starting, and stood back, ready to bask in the warm glow of her amazement and approval.

Her response? “It’s a good start.” It cut me to the bone.

Over the next few years, I concentrated on finishing my first novel. I went through several rounds of edits, finally polishing it up and sending it off with UPS into the world.

I chose ten publishers, paid for ten printed copies of the behemoth, and wrapped them up as neatly as Christmas packages for the Editors who, I once again assumed, would immediately see my brilliance.

One by one, the rejection letters trickled in. The last one took a full year.

I was, apparently, not as brilliant as I had assumed.

So I gave up. Oh, I came back to writing in fits and starts over the next fifteen years, but all my attempts petered out. Finally, one day in 2012, I tried again. This time, I vowed, it would be different. I dusted off the old novel, and read it from cover to cover, making notes. I prepared to dive in for yet another rewrite.

And then Mark’s mom died, and we had a lost month while we dealt with that.

My writing streak was broken, again. I mentioned this to Mark, saying that his Mom’s death had stopped my writing in its tracks.

He said “the only thing stopping you from writing is yourself.”

Talk about a slap in the face. But he was absolutely right.

So I gave it s lot of thought, and realized I had been going about this whole thing the wrong way. I had been writing for other people, for the fame, for the money (yeah, I know). This time, it turned out, would be different.

I’m now more than a year into my new writing phase. I’ve finished or rewritten 14 short stories and have sold or placed four – my first sale was just a couple months ago. I’m gearing up to write a trilogy, and am also slowly working my way back to my old novel, which will eventually be ready for publication.

What’s different? I’m now writing for myself. If I get published, great! if I make a little money, fantastic. But that’s not the point anymore. The point is that I’m writing.

What motivates you to write?

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