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I've been thinking (and this could be the Woodchuck Cider I'm drinking talking, but what the hey?) that I've been taking this writing stuff way to seriously lately.

I was reading some threads here and on some other forums about how to know whether or not your writing is good enough, and when you should self-publish, and I even weighed in on them. And then I thought, "Hold up!"

I'm acting like this decision to put my books on sale is a big deal. It's a book. It's entertainment. One would think I'd run around the world and held people at gun point and forced them to read my book. I didn't. All I did was have the gall to ask people if they wanted to give me money for it. They don't have to give me money. They don't have to read it. I just gave them an option. Even if they do buy it,read it, and hate it, at worst, they're out a few bucks, and they waste several hours or a day or their life. So what? Did I do a terrible thing there? I don't think I did.

Really, this whole writing thing should be about having fun. I write a book and it entertains me for months or weeks. I have a blast living in a world I created and hanging out with people I made up. That's cool enough as it is. And then, if people read it and they have fun too? Well, that's even more awesome.

But, overall, this is not serious business. It's entertainment. And I need to remember that more often.

So my new view on all of this is: Have more fun. Publish your books. It's not really hurting anyone, is it?
 

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valeriec80 said:
It's a book. It's entertainment....But, overall, this is not serious business. It's entertainment. And I need to remember that more often....So my new view on all of this is: Have more fun. Publish your books. It's not really hurting anyone, is it?
I concur wholeheartedly. This ain't some grand noble calling, some uber-meaningful world-changing thing we're doing here. We're telling stories, for fun. And hoping to make some $ from it. Nada mas.

And you know what? It was the same for Shakespeare, Dickens, and all those other "giants". Think they were concerned with some huge deep meaning, or that they wallowed in self-delusions about how sublime their "art" was? No way. I guaran-damn-tee you Shakespeare was more concerned with getting butts in seats in his theatre than on fulfilling some lofty artistic vision.

We aren't curing cancer here, people.
 

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Michael Kingswood said:
I concur wholeheartedly. This ain't some grand noble calling, some uber-meaningful world-changing thing we're doing here. We're telling stories, for fun. And hoping to make some $ from it. Nada mas.

And you know what? It was the same for Shakespeare, Dickens, and all those other "giants". Think they were concerned with some huge deep meaning, or that they wallowed in self-delusions about how sublime their "art" was? No way. I guaran-d*mn-tee you Shakespeare was more concerned with getting butts in seats in his theatre than on fulfilling some lofty artistic vision.

We aren't curing cancer here, people.
Exactly!
 

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Y'know, sometimes I think we all need to hear this. So, thank you, Valerie! :)

Michael Kingswood said:
I concur wholeheartedly. This ain't some grand noble calling, some uber-meaningful world-changing thing we're doing here. We're telling stories, for fun. And hoping to make some $ from it. Nada mas.

And you know what? It was the same for Shakespeare, Dickens, and all those other "giants". Think they were concerned with some huge deep meaning, or that they wallowed in self-delusions about how sublime their "art" was? No way. I guaran-d*mn-tee you Shakespeare was more concerned with getting butts in seats in his theatre than on fulfilling some lofty artistic vision.

We aren't curing cancer here, people.
Wonderfully put!
 

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Are you crazy? Stop this thread right now, you'll kill us all! We must take it seriously, or we'll have nothing else to live for.

I think writing's a lot like baseball. You have to love it to keep playing after those awkward first moments in school when you're forced to try it. So people want to play lighthearted games and end up in beer leagues. But in order to even go to the minor leagues (the mid-list), you have to either have great talent or you have to work your butt off like nobody else because everyone else is trying too. If you have the talent AND are willing to put in the grueling work it takes to be good, then and only then can you get to the majors. Getting to the majors isn't easy. All that said, you have to enjoy doing it, or you'll never put in the work.
 

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"All that said, you have to enjoy doing it, or you'll never put in the work."

And if you do enjoy doing it and have put in the work, but nothing comes of it, what then? I'm certainly not going to take to drink or worse yet, a pistol to my head as one posthumous Pulitzer winner did.

All we can do is our best, and if that's not enough, we have our families, our health, other interests. My opinion anyway.

Joyce
 

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Joyce DeBacco said:
"All that said, you have to enjoy doing it, or you'll never put in the work."

And if you do enjoy doing it and have put in the work, but nothing comes of it, what then? I'm certainly not going to take to drink or worse yet, a pistol to my head as one posthumous Pulitzer winner did.

All we can do is our best, and if that's not enough, we have our families, our health, other interests. My opinion anyway.

Joyce
If you enjoy it and nothing comes of it, then you keep playing in the beer league. Those are fun too. But even at that level, why not strive to be the best beer leaguer out there?
 

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I don't see anything wrong with writing for fun and not taking it seriously. If I just want to put my fun stories out there, that's fine, I can earn a few dollars here and there, and it will be fun.

However, I have four kids to feed and a mortgage to pay. If I want to write full-time, I have to take it seriously. I don't want to put a book out that will only sell one copy a week, and get bad reviews because I didn't put the work into it to make it good.

This writing thing is fun. It's also a business. Publishers take it seriously. We should too, if we want to excel at it.

If you don't care if you ever make a career out of this, then no, don't take it seriously. It can be a fun hobby.

Vicki
 

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I think it is a tendencey for a lot of authors.  They act as if what they do is somehow more than it really is.  write to entertain people.  I am not looking to change the world with a horror novel. 

I am also always amused at how authors turn on each other.  If a book or series of books becomes popular, the writers savage it...as if having a book that 6 people read in some obscure college somewhere is more noble than being a millionaire.
 

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Valerie, I completely agree with you. And Victorine, I agree with you, too. The reason is, there’s a balance to strike.

You cannot take yourself or your work too seriously or you’ll end up screwing yourself in the head, fretting about the fact that you didn’t sell a book in the last 75 minutes, worrying if your next book is going to sell in the numbers that you want it to, trying to make it all things to all people and ultimately pleasing no one.

You have to enjoy the writing and you can’t do that if you’re constantly worrying about the above things and many more like it. If you take yourself too seriously when you write it will show in the work…and not in a good way.

That said, you also need to work your butt off if you really want your work to reach an audience and ideally make some decent money for your efforts.

Take the work seriously (marketing, etc.), but the writing and yourself…not such a good idea.
 

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Andrew Biss said:
The reason is, there's a balance to strike.
There's also a sliding scale to that ballance, and everyone has to determine where they fit on there. at the one end, you have the person to whom writing is everything. It is their identity, head to toe. That's the person who gets a divorce because the spouse talks too much when they are trying to write, and quits their job so they can get a job that's more conducive to writing time. Every ounce of energy is expended to be the best writer they can be. On the other end you have the kid who throws together a few paragraphs when he's drunk and stoned and posts it on Kindle to see if anyone will buy it. The rest of us fall somehere in the middle. The people who dream of being the best writer in the world, and are driven whether by financial needs or competetive juices probably smile at the writer who tells others to not take it so seriously. The people who know it's a lot of work and know they'll never want to put in that much time and effort, applaud it. So, balance is a relative term.
 
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I think we can be entertainers and still create something deep and meaningful.  And I also think that creating something poignant and moving can be fun.

As a business, I take this very seriously.  I'm in this for the long haul--I want to make a full time career out of this.  But when it comes to the work itself...if I'm not having fun, why the hell would I ever want to do this for a living?
 

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I write to entertain myself. If it doesn't entertain me, how can I hope to entertain others. When I get to a chapter, or to a point in a short story that doesn't excite me, I tear it up and start again. That is the only serious side of my writing, 'the tearing up'. I start to get serious only when the project is complete and I turn to edit mode. As for the publishing side, I treat every aspect of that as a deadly serious business.
 

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Joe Vasicek said:
But when it comes to the work itself...if I'm not having fun, why the hell would I ever want to do this for a living?
lmao! Spot on. This is why many people are trying to become writers, because they're not having fun where they work now.
 
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