Why I do this – a sincere blog post (for once)

I woke up at 2:30 AM today and really couldn’t get back to sleep, so I’m feeling a bit philosophical right now. If the following makes it seem as though I’m under the influence of some mind-altering pharmaceutical, it’s not that. I’m just a little punchy. But I promise, every word of this post is completely sincere…

I’ve been thinking a lot about the future lately. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about my future as a writer. I’ve spent the past year marketing and selling my first book, focused almost to a fault on reaching a specific goal. After spending so much time among the trees, now that this year has passed, I’ve had occasion to step back and look at the forest again. I won’t know for certain what the future holds until next week when I head out to Portland for BizarroCon, but until then, I’ve been able to refocus on and reaffirm a number of things.

I’ve also put to words what I want. What my goals are. I wrote some of those things down, and those words have been stuck in my mind since. It’s easy to think you know what you want, what you’re about, what your goals are, but it’s another thing to actually put those ideas to words. To crystallize them in your mind and lay them down on paper, as if you’re making it official. Until then, you’re subject to change, maybe a little unsure of the specifics, that what you think you want might turn out to be different from reality. I thought I’d share these with you because the more I read these words, the more firmly I believe in them, and the more resolute I am to prove them true.

First, some thoughts on what I try to accomplish with my writing:

I tend to focus my writing around interesting characters, first and foremost. I think strong characters trump everything else when it comes to what makes a book entertaining and memorable. I understand and agree that title, cover art and concept play a huge part in catching a reader’s eye and opening their wallets, but if you don’t deliver a story that holds their attention, gives them characters they can believe are real, and entertains them, then you don’t gain fans or build a readership that will run out to buy your next book. Story and characterization must be as strong as concept, otherwise a writer’s readership won’t grow.

That leads into the next point, the specific reply to something I’ve been asked many times, and perhaps never given as succinct an answer as this until now – What are my goals as a writer?

My main goal as a writer is to entertain and connect with readers in a meaningful way. I want readers to come away with something that stays with them after they’ve finished reading my stories. I want them to remember the characters and wish their time together did not have to end.

Pretty simplistic, really. But there’s not a whole lot more to add, at least not at this point. People change, life has a funny way of altering your opinions and perceptions, but at this point, it really all boils down to that statement for me. If you believe in what motivates you, what drives you to succeed at whatever it is you’re going after, it doesn’t have to be a long-winded dissertation. Goals can be simple and clear. At least mine are. No extraneous bullshit needed. I want to write books that you have to read, and I want them to be books that you will remember.

I hope to continue doing this for a very long time, and I look forward to sharing the experience with all of you. To everyone who has read my stories, bought my books, told people about my work, and especially, told me personally about what they took away from it, I want to again thank you.

You are why I do this.

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