Yes, I Want People to Read My Writing
Imagine a chamber where every last possible aspect of writing is discussed by someone. Many someones in fact. This isn’t an organized chamber run by Robert’s Rules of Order, oh no. It’s a place where writers expound upon writing itself. Imagine Raphael’s The School of Athens, with less organization and more laptops and coffee.
Many in the chamber shout (or tweet?) about how money is the idea of writing, like any other profession. You write things that can be sold, and draw a profit. It will seem like the chamber is full of those types, because they shout louder and more often.
But there’s another group, quieter but no less insistent. They expound upon the glory if not the euphoria of creating words, sentences, plots and characters out of nothing and into nothing, (that is to say, not caring at all if anyone reads them.) Some even write with the intention of nobody ever reading what they write. They are artists, dammit, and they are moved by spirit. How gauche in fact, to write something with hopes that people will ever read it.
Then there is a minority within the chamber. Some are louder, some are quieter. Some hand out pamphlets to the distracted multitude while others engage in subdued conversation with a few others of their ilk in the corner of the chamber. Their expressed viewpoint is not exactly rare within the chamber of writers and their advice to the world and one another. Yet they don’t seem to get as much airplay, as it were. When I summon up the stomach to enter that grand chamber of advice and counsel, I am in this group, though I don’t hand out pamphlets.
What is this group? What do we say? We say:
It’s okay if a writer wants his work both read and enjoyed by other people, so long as it’s authentic.
Yes, at first this view seems to be a mashup of the other two I’ve mentioned. We write how we feel we must, and we still want a lot of people to read it. So we can make money, right? So we can crap on the establishment, right?
Not really. And, not really.
We need money like anyone else does. We’d be thrilled if we could someday make money. But I write this blog in hopes that someone will read and enjoy the posts, and I make no money from it. I create content here simply to share thoughts, and perhaps make others think, or sometimes to entertain.
And my novel? The same thing. It means something to me, and though I tidied up the structure and language in places based on advice from smart people here and there, overall the book is mine, true to my vision of it. I’m not going to turn down money, or course, so long as it is legal money. But I wrote a book because I want people to read it any enjoy it. I charge for it because it took a lot of work, but I created it in order to share an idea. A story. In some ways, to share my love.
I market the book, or I try to. I want more people to buy it than have bought it so far. I’m studying how to achieve that. Of course I want and need money for it, but in the end what i am truly marketing is a story that i want people to enjoy. If a thousand people read the book for free and loved it, felt moved by it, I believe I’d be happier than if 200 bought it, and either hated it or said nothing at all about it. I want people to enjoy my writing, call me crazy.
Yet I am not crazy, and neither are you if you hope lots of people will read what you’ve written, whatever it is. I’m not knocking you if you’re only in it for the money, (though good luck…) and I am not judging you if you write 100% for yourself, never wanting anyone else to read what you’ve written. Yet if you find you are like me and the rest of that minority in the chamber, and you write first and foremost because you want other people to enjoy it, don’t let your view get shouted down by advice. Leave the chamber if you need to, but hold on to both loving you work, and wanting other people to love it.
You are no less a writer for feeling that way.
- Posted in: Writing