So, you want to write a book. We have been tackling the five Ws and the H … that’s What, When, Where, Why. Who, and How. We started a couple of weeks ago with What, followed by When and Where. Today we’ll discuss Why. They are all interconnected.
This is perhaps one of the hardest parts for a writer. You can have the greatest idea in the world. Your thoughts can be riveting. Your story might click mechanically, words flowing like a master wordsmith. But if you can’t answer the question — “Why am I writing this?” — the sustainability of your work is in peril.
For some — especially journalers, poets, and to a large extent, bloggers – the answer is self-satisfaction. They’re not necessarily writing for profit. They are satisfied capturing their words and sharing them with a narrow audience.
For others it is the prestige of seeing your name in print and, hopefully, a few coins to offset the costs. As I mentioned before, we’ve glamorized the author profession and we’ve made it easier to self-publish at low cost. The reality is the majority of writers are just squeaking by or writing to an audience of one. You do have to realize most writers sell very few books. Most writers look at their sales reports and do back flips when one book is sold at a time on Amazon.
That’s not to say there are not success stories. All I am saying is, take off the rose colored glasses and recognize successful books and authors are the result of hard work, perseverance, and sometimes a little bit of luck.
I always advise prospective authors to write for themselves first. It might be a reflection of your beliefs or your history. Remember, these are your thoughts. The value is in the eyes of the reader. Count yourself as your No. 1 reader and expand from there to family and friends, then outside your circle. Don’t try to do it in reverse.
The “why” is the heart of your story. It drives your tale and leads to development of the other W’s and H as you develop the story scene by scene. But, always remember to ask yourself, “Why am I writing this?”
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Beware of your thoughts for they become words. Beware of your words for they become actions. Beware of your actions for they become habits. Beware of your habits for they become character. Beware of your character for it becomes your destiny. — Diane VonFurstenberg