Manifesto Of The Point In Writing

Posted on December 19th, 2005 @ 21:10
Filed Under Reflections, Writing | 21 Comments

I’m bouncing off a comment I posted earlier on, itself triggered by several posts I had read on the NaNoWriMo forums. At times, some people would ask “what did your family/friends said when you announced you were going to write a novel in one month?”. And at times, some people would answer that they got told “what’s the point of writing a novel if you’re not going to publish it?”.Perhaps this is why there can be such a rift between authors and non-authors, artists and non-artists. As odd as it can seem to me, who love what I do both as a hobby and in the hopes of taking it onto a professional path, there are people who don’t see the point of writing just for the sake of writing.To each their own, after all (for instance, I don’t really understand why someone would like cooking for hours—I don’t like it much myself), but it got me thinking: back to the very core of the problem, we have absolutely NO way of knowing whether we’ll get published one day. We can make all the efforts needed, undergo all the mandatory steps, but there’s still no 100% certainty that our stories or illustrations someday manage to end up in the spotlight. From this point on, why bother? It’s nothing sure, so why make the effort if it’s not necessarily going to pay off in the end?The answer is so simple that it’s laughable: because we like it. Because these words are in us, and need to be left out sooner or later. Because worlds are born and die within our minds, and deserve a chance at existing outside there. Because we wield the pen and keyboard the same way craftspeople wield their tools. Because we feel like it.Whether we’re working on our writing with a professional aim in sight or just as a hobby, it’s not a road so easy to take that someone hating writing would take it just for… what? The sake of money? Nothing’s certain in the world of publication, right? Nothing tells me that I’ll be the next Rowling.Anyway, to anyone wondering why an author can write a novel without aiming at having it published, or without knowing for sure that it’ll be published, here’s the answer: we love writing. Simple as that. Quod erat demonstrandum.Just like my neighbor next door loves spending three hours in a row preparing delicious dishes that will only get wolfed down in a matter of minutes. Because we like it. Because we love it.Y Tags: | | | |

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21 Responses to “Manifesto Of The Point In Writing”

  1. Chris Howard on December 19th, 2005 11:26 pm

    Brilliant. There’s the pride in completing something as monumental as a 50k+ word novel. (71k+ in your case!) I don’t care what anyone says, it’s not easy. (I’ve had people say NaNoWriMo didn’t seem that difficult). There’s the progress of our art, that we get better with every story we write. I can’t say this applies in every case, but I can look back on my writing and–generally speaking–I am a better writer today than yesterday.>Nothing’s certain in the world of publication,>right? Nothing tells me that I’ll be the next>Rowling.Right. Rowling didn’t know she was going to be the next. Barry Cunningham, who signed Harry Potter for Bloomsbury, didn’t know.Here’s a quote. I think I read this in a writing book, and it applies to writers of all genres, not just horror. I may be getting it completely wrong–so King fans correct me, but here it goes: When someone asked Stephen King why he wrote horror, he replied, “What makes you think I have a choice?” Of course, it works better with horror, but on some level it applies to all writers, right?

  2. Fredcq on December 20th, 2005 1:51 am

    I agree. I have no choice but to write. I have always had some sort of creative outlet in my life; drawing, music and so forth. I found that the one thing that I was really good at was story telling. I learned this craft from running a Role-playing game for 20 years with my friends. You tend to learn a few things about pacing and plot holes from playing RPGs. The funny thing was, I never thought that I would have the patience to write a whole book. Back then I was still playing music. I started to give writing a go when the stories that I wanted to tell were too long and complex to fit into a song.Great job on NANO by the way. I tried it last year but could not finish. I wiped out after two weeks. The sad part is the novel that I was working on somehow got corrupted. 23000 words down the drain :( Even my back ups were bad.

  3. Benjamin Solah on December 20th, 2005 4:51 am

    “I can’t help it!” I scream. :D It’s inevitable. And it gives some interest to an otherwise boring life. Sure the goal is publication, but I doubt it’d be a complete waste if it didn’t happen.

  4. Yzabel on December 20th, 2005 2:24 pm

    Chris – For me NaNo wasn’t as hard as I had thought, but mainly because I had never envisioned my writing in terms of quantity (words), and was fooled by the “OMG it must be a hell of a lot!” feeling. Evidently, given that I type fast, the average 1,667 words didn’t take me three hours every day. It still was more than I was used to do, in any case. Besides, I don’t doubt that hadn’t I had a plan for my novel, it’d all have gone down the drain very fast ;) As a sidenote regarding the progress of our art, I’ve found a few texts on paper at noon while searching other documents in the mess of my desk. I was amazed to notice that I had manage to squeeze “again” five times in two lines. Gah.

  5. Yzabel on December 20th, 2005 2:41 pm

    Fredcq – That’s a case of bad luck here with the NaNovel. Well, if you do it again, I hope you wont’t lose it. Even if not reaching the 50k, 20-25k is still a pretty good basis to bounce off later on.Re: the RPG, I can only agree! It also taught me that nothing ever goes as planned, and that the ‘heroes’ will sooner or later come up with something incredibly clerver, risky, stupid, even (often?) or the three at the same time. The real difference I’ve experienced between GMing and planning a novel is that I need to know from the start where I’m headed to–when I GM, I always leave a wide margin maneuver, so that the players aren’t caught within my net from beginning to end, and can do things in a more unusual way if they like.In fact, when I somewhat lack inspiration, I tend to convert my characters according to the rules of a game which universe is close enough (I did it for some of the chars in my WIP, taking the Cyberpunk 2020 rulebook). Then I roll the dice to see how things go. It doesn’t build the story for me, but it makes certain situations go more realistic/exciting at times (even the hero can botch a Stealth or Alertness roll), and allows me to better vizualize the fights, chase scenes, etc. Moreover, it’s fun to do.

  6. Yzabel on December 20th, 2005 2:59 pm

    Benjamin – Indeed, life’s less boring this way ;) (And it’s not a waste of time as long as it’s at least funny, even if we don’t do much more with it.)

  7. fredcq on December 20th, 2005 3:05 pm

    I sensed that you were a gamer but I wasn’t sure, lol. I ran Cyberpunk for a while when we are all into reading William Gibson and cyberspace. The main game that we played was the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying system. I liked it because it was much darker than D&D and it had a fast moving combat system.When I first started writing, I tried to convert my Warhammer campaign into a book but it just did not work. It had a lot to do with how erratic the characters used to act, lol. My players were really good but their behavior would not translate well into a novel. I do go back and pick out things here and there and incorporate them into my stories now and then, just because some of the ideas do work.

  8. Yzabel on December 20th, 2005 4:08 pm

    I’m more of a World of Darkness player/storyteller (I’m trying to adapt the Mage rules to use them for my SF/Fantasy upcoming story), but I’ve also tried Warhammer. That was 4-5 years ago, though, so I can’t remember everything very well.There was a time I was keeping very precise notes on a Mage campaign, in order to write the ‘diary’ of my character in the shape of a novel (well… several, in fact). It didn’t work out because the whole group split before the end, but I’m sure it could have been great. Then I have my other group, who pulled some very funny stunts at times (including dressing as J-rock idols and descending into a Tokyo gay bar to dance naked, and, errm… yes, yes, they were mages. With power and all. * roll her eyes *)Now, there are indeed ideas who do work. Some of them I’ve reused as well :)

  9. Jennifer on December 20th, 2005 5:04 pm

    Love it. Simple as that. For me it’s the creativity. I love to create and by writing I can share it. By writing it comes alive. Words on a paper enable me to share the worlds in my head and there is nothing more fun than that.

  10. Deborah on December 20th, 2005 6:51 pm

    I started out as a voracious reader of horror and fantasy novels, much to my parents’ chagrin. They thought I should read sappy romance novels like a good girl. But I was drawn to reading horror novels and wasn’t a bit surprised when I started writing them.I don’t think my family was surprised, either. They don’t understand my compulsion to write and worried about whether or not I was obsessed. I’ve given up on my obsession with being a best selling novelist. Whether I become one or not doesn’t matter, as long as I can keep writing.

  11. Yzabel on December 20th, 2005 10:00 pm

    Jennifer – Nicely put. Why keep all of this in us, if we can get it out and share it! :)

  12. Yzabel on December 20th, 2005 10:04 pm

    Deborah – The version I got was “you need to read ‘the French classics’ because they’re the important books”. Good thing that I did read a good deal of them, along with the SF, horror and fantasy books I read as well, at least nobody could give me the reproachful look anymore.

  13. Deborah on December 21st, 2005 3:29 am

    I agree that it’s a good idea to read classic literature as well as other genres, including nonfiction. It sounds like you’ve had a well-rounded education.I’ve hardly touched the literature classics unless I was forced to for a school assignment. Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert Heinlein were two of my classical faves.

  14. fredcq on December 21st, 2005 1:35 pm

    I read what I like to read. If I want to read a classic, I do. I don’t like forcing myself to do something, just because it’s something that I am “supposed” to do to be a better writer or a person. If a book does not hold my attention, it is very difficult for me to finish. Since I started writing, I find that I enjoy more non ficiton than fiction. Although, reading fiction helps me write better and motivates me.

  15. Yzabel on December 21st, 2005 10:54 pm

    Deborah – I even liked it! :D I used to devour novels by Emile Zola, among other things (the Rougon-Macquart saga). Later on, I switched to English classics, after we had to translate some Shakespeare in class and I thought “the results were frigging hilarious, I need to read more by myself”. I know, I have weird reasons at times, but as long as they make me read…

  16. Yzabel on December 21st, 2005 10:58 pm

    Fredcq – For me, it depends on the moments. This month, for instance, I’m reading only non-fiction (and it takes me quite some time, since Dawkins’ book isn’t exactly a short nor an easy one). I don’t know if reading classics can make me a “better” writer, but I still think it helped me in some way, especially in English. On the other hand, some classics I find utterly boring, and I’m not ashamed of saying it. Anyway, after having proclaimed that I really didn’t like The Da Vinci code, I don’t think anything can ashame me in that regard ;)

  17. Fredcq on December 22nd, 2005 1:21 am

    I know what you mean. I have moments where I want to read stuff like Don Quixote (sp?) or Dante’s Inferno. Unfortunately, I sometimes find it very hard to wade through that stuff.I think that I may be the only person who hasn’t read the Da Vinci Code. I have heard a few negative things from people who I trust so I will probably stay away. I have a whole bookshelf of unread books to get though anyway, lol.Your english, your writing at least is very good. If your profile didn’t say that you were from France, I would have never known.

  18. Elvira Black on December 28th, 2005 9:32 am

    I agree–a passion for creating is what can drive a writer or any other artist to perservere against all “odds.”

  19. Yzabel on December 29th, 2005 3:55 pm

    Ah, passion–this is the word. After all, we wouldn’t go as far as to bother so much about the quality of our writing if it wasn’t more than “only a hobby among others” ;)

  20. 2006 Writer’s Blog Anthology » Blog Archive » The Y Logs on February 14th, 2006 3:44 pm

    [...] Manifesto of the Point in Writing [...]

  21. Marti on February 21st, 2006 4:02 pm

    I am determined to get through all of the WBA entries, because I love words and writing as well – LOLGreat post- thanks for sharing!

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