I get asked sometimes why I write. Or how I choose what stories to tell. The answer is a simple one but it doesn’t seem to be easily graspable by most.
I do it because I can’t not do it. I tell the stories that need to be told. How do I know which ones those are? Simple. I don’t let the idea of deadlines or money distract me from the storytelling. As soon as you make writing about the bottom dollar, you cheapen it.
Yes, it’s important to get paid. I’m hoping to sell a million copies of Bellica, truth be told — as much because as I want people to read it as because I’m a student and money sounds like a nice thing that I’ve never really had.
But if Bellica were my only major financial success, if all my other books only did moderately well or not well at all — whatever. If in my lifetime they’re not read, they will be later. Or not at all.
What’s important is that I wrote them. What’s important is the stories got told. Maybe two people read them — those are the people who need to read those stories.
Fact is, I’m not going to let my future success or unsuccess with Bellica distract me from the most important part: writing the stories.
There are authors who do this. Authors who let the idea of money become more important than the story. And it shows in their work, whether they write fiction or non. Books written by that sort of author are loved by their creators only for the amount of money they bring in.
It’s as if your parents decided to love you only if you got good grades. Or became a star football player. Or a good dancer. Or a famous actor. One C, one injury, one fumbled pirouette, one moment out of character…too bad, buddy. You weren’t good enough for your progenitor.
I’m sure there are people out there who don’t have to imagine what that feels like.
My books — my stories — deserve more than that. I will continue to love Bellica no matter how much money she brings me. She’s a good story, a good book. I’m proud of her for that.
Why do I write?
Because it’s what I do. Because these stories need to be told, and they need me to tell them. Because it’s about the process.