I write because it is a soul-deep desire from within. When I begin a writing project, it's rarely with the thought of being published in mind, at least not at first.
If I'm writing a Sci-Fi story for example, I write as a way of eventually giving some closure to the characters.You see, every character I have written about (and for) is real to me. They are born from the primordial ooze left in the primitive spaces of my brain. They are raised within an environment of chaos (...yes, it is quite chaotic in there...) and they grow into the multi-dimensional characters I eventually find in my imagination. They each have distinct personalities, dreams, desires, and failings. They are my extended family, and unfortunately, sometimes we are forced to hurt the ones we love. But we do so in order to be honest, authentic and courageous- to allow our characters the same opportunities to either redeem themselves or go down in flames.
It is in this way that writers become quite God-like. A perfect example of this God-like writing would be The Dark Tower series by the very God-like author himself, Mr. Stephen King. You can not read these books without caring, deeply, about Roland, Susannah, Eddie, Jake and Oy. You can't work your way through these stories without being swept up into their stormy Ka-tet, their drama, their fears and hopes. If you are a writer, you have a responsibility to the characters within your story's reality...even if that means having to let them suffer, and even die. Death is brutally honest. It's something that happens to all creatures that are alive and sentient, no matter what.
We are all eternally mortal.
Death is absolutely eventual, so get your shit straight and your chores done, because Death comes to us all.
Poetry is a different sort of bird. For me, she is colorful and easy. Poetry is something that comes in flashes of inspiration...of grief or extreme joy...it is my comfort zone, my wheelhouse of words. I have always been somewhat of an outsider, even among my own friends. Over the years, the only place I have found where I completely and wholeheartedly fit in is when I'm down at my sacred spot, writing words and phrases to decipher my inner dialogue for others to read and understand. It's as if I sometimes speak a different language from everyone else, and poetry becomes my universal translator.
I am currently in the middle of a project, one that seemed at first to be a bit lofty to tackle, but the characters were brave and undaunted, so I felt the need to have courage, take heart, and honor their tenacity by writing.
And for them.
It is a challenge. They are stubborn. They are flawed. The fate of the entire Universe rests upon their weary shoulders. And now that I have given them life, I must see it through so they don't end up drifting alone within an eternity of unfinished thoughts and ideas. The ultimate character Hell, if you will. An unfinished story.
If you are truly a writer, but have not yet been published, this in no way lets you off the hook. KEEP WRITING NO MATTER WHAT! The recognition from becoming a published author is a small part of why you do this, if this is what you do. You do this because you have no choice. Your characters deserve a life, your world deserves a voice and your creative concepts deserve the right words to bring them to life.
If being officially published is important to you as well as the creative process, there are many diverse ways of getting your work out there, so do your research. With the technology available to us in the here and now, you can even self publish your work. If you have the funds, self publishing can become a fun and unique way of creating a beautiful, personal gift to give out to family and friends.
There does seem to be a certain stigma...among many published authors...attached to writers publishing their own work. I look at it this way, self publishing is a dedicated writer deciding to take the bull by the horns to spread the fruits of their labor. If you go through the trouble, challenge, exhaustion and focus of writing a story, kudos to you! You deserve to find a home for your labor of love. You can also research and seek out the smaller, more independent publishing companies to query for interest in your work. You can also save your work for a later time and date, pull it back out, blow the dust off and rediscover the hidden gem you poured your bloody heart and suffering soul into. There is no longer an exact fit for publishing. There are many different ways, almost as many ways as there are writers.
Learn about your craft.
Seek out the solution that best fits your work, and your mission.
And keep writing.
I write because I must. It's what I do. And as writers, we must because it is in us. It's that simple. For some reason this thing is in us, and the only way to maintain a sense of balance in our life is to get those words out of our heads and hearts, and put them to pen and paper. Taking the dream and making it flesh. Taking my reality, blurring the boundaries and creating another dimension, a unique realm we have not yet visited. That is what it's all about, at least for me.
And now, if you'll excuse me, it's time to get back to it. I left my characters in a pretty precarious position, and I don't want to piss them off too badly. They get very difficult to work with if I keep them waiting.
Happy Word Smithing, and a great 4th of July to all of you!!!