I’ve run into quite a few writers who do it as a hobby, something just for themselves. They write because it’s therapuetic or because it’s fun. I’m happy that there are writers like that. Often times, deep, reflective thoughts come out of their writing, thoughts that can help others, heal others, make others feel like they’re not alone. I appreciate that.
But that’s not who I am, and sometimes I wonder if people understand that people who write novels, who write, not as a hobby, but as a career, that those people are completely different from the “hobbyists” or the people who write just for themselves. Why do I write? I do love to write, and it is a part of me. I do hope that my writing makes people think. But mostly I write for two reasons: 1) because I have all these ideas up there in my head and it would drive me nuts not to get it out and 2) because I want to be read. I want to give readers that same excited, addicted, I’ve-got-to-read-this-to-the-end feeling that I get when I read a good book. I want to inspire people to imagine, to picture different kinds of places, different kinds of people.
This is not a hobby for me. This is not something I’m pursuing because it’s fun or therapuetic. It’s actually quite frustrating sometimes. It’s not easy. I don’t sit down at my computer and words just flow and everything is hunky-dory. This is my work. This is my calling.
And I think that may be the difference between the person who says, “I write” and the person who says, “I’m a writer” or “I’m an author.” So who are you? Are you really a writer at heart, but you’re afraid to really commit? Are you happy just writing for yourself? Either way, your writing has a purpose, and even if it affects just one person, it’s worth it. Don’t say, “Well, I try to write” or “I would like to be considered a writer someday.” You are either a writer, an author, a person who writes to be read, or you aren’t. Either one is okay. And both people who write for themselves and people who write to be read are needed in this world. But know who you are, and don’t apologize for that.