There has been a lot of chatter in the Twitterverse lately about sales numbers, hitting the lists, debuts, sales expectations, and (the often inevitable) disappointment.
Writing a book is hard.
Getting that book published? Harder still.
Maintaining a career in publishing? Probably hardest of all.
There is no question that all of those require a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. And luck. Don’t forget the luck part, because that is a big component of anyone’s success.
Furthermore, as writers—whether unpublished, debuts, or seasoned veterans—there is very little about the industry that we can control. We can control the writing, and that’s about it. Everything else is out of our hands. That is a recipe for frustration and angst, so it is inevitable that heartache will find us at many points on our journey.
But I’m not going to talk about that today. Today I’m going to ask you to take a step back. No, even further back than that.
Why do we write? Why do humans write?
To tell stories.
It’s the purpose of all art, really, to tell a story, to capture a moment, a feeling, a transformation. But for writers our medium is words.
But stepping back yet again: What is the purpose of stories?
With readers, with our own voice, with a shared truth, a voice that resonates.
With the human experience.
So whatever other reasons compel us to pick up that pen or keyboard, whatever lies or rationalizations we tell ourselves, at its most basic it is a desire to connect.
The thing is, we can never truly know what our own life’s purpose is. We can know what we think it is. Mark Twain says two of the most important moments in our life are when we’re born and when we understand why.
For many writers, we think we understand why when we discover writing.
But what if that’s not truly our purpose? What if it is the connections we make through pursuing writing that are actually our true purpose?
Connections with other writers.
Connections with our own truths.
Connections with readers, even if only a handful.
What if writing is simply the medium the universe uses to foster it’s own connections? [Read more…]