06 March, 2013

You're All So Dedicated, And I'm Not: An IWSG Post

The blogosphere is rife with people pursuing their writing goals. There are a lot of inspiring stories; there are many success stories, a lot of ongoing journeys, and numerous struggles to actually get a book out there. Some of you have been writing for decades. I've seen posts on what feels like practically every writers' blogs saying something along the lines of "Writing is my life!"

Me, I sometimes feel like I shouldn't be part of some discussions because I'm not on a one-road quest for publication. Getting a book published (in print! On shelves! As an e-book! Through a publisher!) would be one of the highlights of my life, I'm sure, if it were ever to happen--but it's not Priority 1.

Basically, I worry writers will dislike me for not being dedicated enough, as writing is more of a hobby for me. I worry about being perceived differently because I'm not as passionate about the craft, unlike what seems to be the majority of people who write. I'm not about to throw myself into the painful process of querying and critique partners and pitches; I don't care enough at this point to run my work through that kind of stuff.

I sympathize with the trials of the writing process; I like to learn about the craft; but literary success is not something I'm going to be miserable about if I don't achieve it before I die. Writing is something I enjoy but I've never felt like it's my "true calling" or what have you. It's just fun, with occasional blood and sweat (and epithets hurled at the computer screen, if it's a particularly bad day).

What about you? Do you see writing as something you have to do and seeing your work published as your ultimate goal--or do you see it as something you do for fun, when you can, and without the publication process as the necessary endgame?


About the IWSG (from the creator Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog):
It's time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic.

-----The Golden Eagle


Mark Means said...

Great post and I know exactly how you feel.

I would love to write for a living and get a nice book deal...to have people read my stuff and tell me that they love my characters...all that sort of stuff.

I often don't feel like I'm 'dedicated' enough either, but I hang in there.

As for people disliking you because you're not dedicated enough, I highly doubt it. Everyone goes at their own pace and is at their own level.

Writers write. The end result shouldn't really matter :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Golden, I was in your shoes. Still am. Writing and becoming an author was never a priority for me. I feel bad when I hear other struggling writers say that is all they ever want.
You just never know where the path may lead. You're a talented writer. I think it's there for you if you want it.

Gail said...

I am a story teller. That's it. I never think about publishing a book because I don't think a full book is in me.

For now I will just tell a few more stories and hope someone along the way enjoys them.

D.G. Hudson said...

Don't ever feel inferior or guilty and compare yourself to other writers. There will always be those who can devote themselves to their careers and those who have to deal with life and careers.

Do what's important to you. Life is about making decisions, and they should reflect your choices.

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

Enjoy it!

Writing is on my front burner now, but it wasn't always. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.

Pat Hatt said...

Yeah it would be nice to do nothing but write one day, but pfft to all of that stuff right now, just run the blog each day and make sure the cat can meow, that is about it, not dealing with that umm stuff. haha

Andrew Leon said...

It's not one of those "writing is the air I breathe" things for me. It was something I always sort of intended to do, but I made the decision to start doing it at one point.

Which is not to say that I don't get cranky when I'm not getting my writing in.

Elise Fallson said...

Writing may be the common denominator in this community, but everyone is on a different path with different writing goals. Don't worry about trying to fit into a mold. Be yourself, that's why we think you're awesome as a blogger and a writer. And if your interests take you on a different path, then go for it, and know we'll still be here to support you.

Krista McLaughlin said...

I know how you feel! Sometimes it can be overwhelming and I don't always want to be a writer and it's not always top of my list. I work 40 hours a week, and have family and friends on top of that. They feel more real. And sometimes I just don't wanna write. Being published is the goal, but it's about the journey's we each take to get there. :)

Trisha F said...

Nothing wrong with this! I'm very passionate about writing, but it's not my only passion, and I also have other important goals in life...like paying off the unit I'm about to buy, and so on. :)

A said...

While there are definitely some who might look at what you do differently as a result of how you present yourself, in the end it's the quality and originality of the writing that shines through and really makes the difference. Do what you want to, how you want to, and don't worry about the rest.

Charity Bradford said...

Heh heh. I'm glad you can say writing is a hobby. Most of the time I want to go back to that time. I enjoyed writing more then I think. It didn't matter what the quality was and I could just have fun. Now I'm feeling pressure, which is silly really.

I say, keep enjoying it and live your life the way you want!

Anonymous said...

I can totally relate to this post, and I agree with Gail, Andrew, and especially Elsie. Some people have the means and motivation to make a career out of writing (or trying to, anyway). I just write what I can, when I can, and if there are established authors who don't want to bother with a novice like me I don't blame 'em. But I don't let 'em stop me, either.

Keep writing how/when you see fit, and don't let the accomplishments of others overwhelm you. As Alex said, they've been where you (and I) are. Where you go next is up to you. Good luck, and happy writing!

Flying high in the sky.... said...

writing is a soul thing...wonder how a timer can produce creative juice suddenly ...but i am not an author so i guess this is not my platform to put across any opinion i have about writing :) ....very interesting post :)

Jamie Gibbs said...

I like your attitude - writing should be first and foremost a passion. If you start worrying about the have to's then it becomes nothing but an obligation and you'll lose heart.


DWei said...

I think writing for me is just a skill that I gained and it's more of an ends to a means.

I blame all the papers I do.

Deborah Walker said...

Your writing belongs to you, to use in anyway that fits into your life and other interests.

I think that's great. I wish more writers would enjoy the journey.

Donna Hole said...

My day job is my priority Aerial. I feel like a hobby writer too. I've got a few short stories published, but I don't fall apart if something gets rejected. And I only submit to one place at a time. I have fewer rejections than most, but I don't spread my works out there and pin all my hopes on the publication. I'd sooner win the lotto, truth be told :)


Rachna Chhabria said...

Writing is becoming more and more my priority. I am sure no one is going to dislike you because you are not dedicated enough.

JeffO said...

Anyone who gives you a hard time about how much you want to write probably isn't worth your time.

the writing pad said...

Hi Eagle
I think you as a person, and certainly your blog, are the more interesting and appealing for NOT being solely dedicated to a quest for writerly success. The blog is a breath of fresh air - posing scientific and real-life questions and theories, and generally sharing something about you, as a whole person. Your interest in eagles, and dedicating time and effort to a web site, all about them, is inspiring. Don't change a thing :-) And, if writing success does come your way, you deserve that too!

Rusty Webb said...

I think as I age I'm beginning to reek of desperation. At first I had tons of other interests, but being 'pretty good' at a dozen different things started to annoy me. Why can't I be great at something. That's where the obsession began.

I hope to be a well rounded person again one day.

michelle said...

I love writing. But I started late. I'd love to publish a story/novella/novel BUT my world will not fall apart if it doesn't happen soon. Well, I know it will happen one day...
One thing I DO know - writing is a never-ending journey and I'll be writing until my last breathe!

Charles Gramlich said...

There are as many different kinds of writers as there are books and stories. Don't sweat if you are not exactly like others. Writing is extremely important to me but certainly not the only thing to me. outside of my family, I tend to get my most sincere joy from it, however.

Beth said...

Well, I do want to write for a career. However, it's hard to make a living at, so I'm doing an MFA to teach writing ;). But I don't think anyone minds that you write for a hobby. You're still a good writer.

Marsha Sigman said...

The most important thing is to not lose the joy you find in it. Sometimes ambition can kill that.

Anthony said...

You are more dedicated than I am...

Mark Noce said...

Quite the opposite:) I think writers will respect you for your openness...I know I do:) Also, it's good not to be dead set on one road. As the saying goes, if you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there:)

Suzanne Furness said...

Enjoying what you do is the most important thing. Seeking publication isn't for everyone but I don't think this means people take you any less seriously. Do what is right for you.

Michael Di Gesu said...

HI, Golden,

Don't ever worry about not being LOVED, because you are a GREAT ASSET in our community. You obviously have a love/passion for writing. And there is NOTHING wrong with keeping it as a hobby. You are still young, and in the future years you many change course.

From reading your posts I know your true passion is in the sciences. NOTHING wrong with pursuing you life's dreams this.

As you had said MANY are die hard writers. As for me I fall somewhere in between. I can go days without writing. I do want to be published and I am determined to make it happen. I also illustrate, design, draw, and paint. I am HEAVILY engrained in the arts. Writing is another expression and outlet for my creativity.

Music will be my next great challenge. BUt for now writing is my passion.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I set a goal when I was 13-14 of becoming a published author, and I'm happy that I achieved that. I also had a couple other goals, so it wasn't the only thing I wanted out of life. Just keep writing and enjoying it. If it becomes a burning desire, then you'll know to pursue it farther.

Heather said...

There's nothing wrong with writing because you enjoy it and are having fun. I think that's great. In fact, it's key. Telling a great story should always be the goal, not getting published. Me, I have to write, my characters demand it, it is what I was born to do. But, the story is the reason, not publication.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

If writing is something you love, it's something you love - whether it's a hobby or a career. You should NEVER have to feel bad about that, nor should you feel bad because publishing isn't priority number one - if anything, I think I personally need more of that attitude. Write because I love writing. :) I don't think there should be a special room for the 'writers who pursue writing as their number one goal' and the rest of us who get stuck outside. We're all writers, we all readers, we all love stories. I think that's fantastic. :)

Wendy aka Quillfeather said...

There is 'much' more to life than writing anyway.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I love writing, but I'm not sure I'm as dedicated as I should be - I never queried my novel, I just decided to self-publish. I like to write and so I write. Yes, getting published has always been a big dream, but it's not my only dream.

If you write because you like to write, and you don't want to go crazy pursuing publication, that's ok with me. Take your writing where you want it to go. I have to agree with Alex - you're talented and I'm sure that publication could be there if you want it. If not, enjoy anyway!

Susan Kane said...

My writing goals constantly change. Like Gail, I am a story teller and one who chronicles events from different perspectives. I hope someone will someday enjoy my writing.

Romance Reader said...

You are dedicated, you just don't realize it yet!

All the best!


Carole Anne Carr said...

Lucky you, if you're not on the treadmill. Happy International Women's Day!

Carol Kilgore said...

Each of us has a path, and along that path we find our passion. For some, there's only one passion they find early that consumes them for their entire lives. Others find and enjoy many. When you find yours, you'll know :)

Never apologize for your path or your passion. It's what makes you, you.

Michael Offutt, S.F.A. said...

I see it as something I do for fun. To be serious about it would only lead to frustration as there are so many people vying for the same thing. HV recently had an open call and received 4500 submissions (and they are only taking 12). That would be frustrating if I were not entering it for fun to see what happens.

Paul Tobin said...

The feeling that we are not dedicated enough occurs in all aspects of life, I often think other people are better at writing or whatever, that others have it sussed while I flounder on the outskirts. It does not matter. I think your blog is excellent. I'd like to read one of the novels you have written, it would be interesting. Self doubt and the honesty that you show in saying that writing is not the be all and end all of life for you is refreshing.
We are all visited by what you describe at times. Just do what feels right to you. If you follow your feeling then you won't go wrong.

laughingwolf said...

published in magazines and newspapers for many years, i'd LIKE to have a book [or three] published, but it's not the be all - end all for me, either

the thrill is in the doing, same as in videography/animation/music, etc... i do em cuz i enjoy em...

The Golden Eagle said...

Mark: Thank you!

That's the way I see things, too. Writing success would be great, but it's not something I'm dying or.

Alex: You've done amazing things. And I don't think you need to feel bad about your progress!

Thanks. :)

Gail: I think most writers start from that premise--they want to write and for other people to enjoy the product.

D.G.: It's the devotion that I can't match. I'm just not that into writing.

Jennifer: I admire you for putting so much of yourself into writing.

Pat: And you certainly do that well! :)

Andrew: I can usually put aside the crankiness if I don't think about writing . . . but once I begin mulling over the words I could have written, then I start going a little crazy. :P

Elise: Thanks so much for the support!

Krista: You must be busy. I admire you for balancing all of those things! :)

Trisha: Sounds like you've got important goals in front of you. Good luck with the unit!

A: I agree, I don't care as much about the writer's stage in the process if the writing quality is good.

Charity: I don't think it's silly. You've set standards and are trying to meet them; that's natural in any pursuit.


Chris: I like your approach toward the process.

Thank you. And backatcha. :)

Flying high in the sky: Feel free to share your opinions! You write poetry--that's a creative process, and the subject can be extended to a lot of things other than writing.

Jamie: So far I have yet to lose heart; part of my lesser dedication may be that I'm afraid I'll stop enjoying the process if I pursue publication more.

DWei: I'll probably be in your position once I'm in college. :P I can't really imagine getting a ton of writing done while at a school for higher education.

Deborah: It does strike me that some writers put themselves under a lot of stress.

Donna: LOL. I know what you mean--at least with the lottery you know if you win you'll actually be paid something in the end. :P

Rachna: Good for you! People who can stick to writing are impressive.

JeffO: I think that's true--I'll keep it in mind. :)

The writing pad: Thank you for the kind words. I'm glad something about me as a person is conveyed through my blog!

Rusty: I'm not exactly in your position, but being "good" at a lot of things yet not deeply rooted in any of them is something I sympathize with.

Michelle: I hope to write for a long time as well. I'm not sure if I'll still be at it when I'm old, but I doubt I'd regret keeping it up.

The Golden Eagle said...

Charles: That's why I consider myself a writer--there's something special about writing, over music, drawing, dance, etc., that cannot be replaced.

Beth: Kudos to you!

Marsha: I'm definitely trying to keep the joy of writing alive. :)

Anthony: You certainly blog more consistently than I do, though! I'm always impressed by your posts.

Mark: Thank you. :)

I haven't heard that saying before, but I suppose it's true . . . though I tend to think it's better to figure out where you're going and set out to achieve it!

Suzanne: That's good to hear. It's just I see so many writers really pursuing their goals and here I am, pouring out novels with no real plan in place. :P

Michael: Yeah, who knows what might happen in later years . . . maybe I'll go after writing seriously.

I love that you're so involved in artistic pursuits. And you're talented in all of them!

Can't wait to hear about Michael the musician. :)

Diane: Congratulations on meeting your goal like that. That's dedication!

Heather: Good point--there are always characters to fall back upon for motivation. ;)

Bethany: True. We're all bound by our wordsmithing!

Wendy: Agreed. :)

Tyrean: I like your take. You wanted to publish a book, so you did it!

Thank you.

Susan: I know I enjoy reading what you write and post on your blog.

Nas: Well, I guess I'll find out sooner or later. :)

Carole: Happy IWD to you as well!

Carol: I think I may have found mine; writing's a passion, but it's not No. 1.

Michael: I agree! I'm glad I'm not on the stress bandwagon of writers waiting for replies from agents and publishing houses. Though I do sometimes imagine what it would be like.

Those are a ton of submissions! Good luck with your piece. Maybe your interest to just see what happens will pay off. :)

Paul: Thank you. That's relieving to hear; and thank you for your words about my blog, as well!

Laughingwolf: Having publications like that must be an asset, though. It wouldn't surprise me at all if you were published one of these days!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Not everyone who writes has to set publication as a goal; sometimes the sheer joy of writing is more than enough. Enjoy it, without worrying about what anyone else thinks. Someday, your priorities may change, and writing may become more important to you. Then again, it may become even less of a priority. No matter. Your priorities are your priorities.

Deniz Bevan said...

I don't think you should feel badly just because your focus is different! I wrote your way for many years - purely for the hobby, for the joy of writing. Only in the last little while have I tried to buckle down with a view to publication. Everyone's paths are different! :-)

Anonymous said...

Publication was always on my mind.

You're still a writer no matter what your goals are. People write for different reasons.

Angela Ackerman said...

You have nothing to apologize for--not everyone has a end goal of publication with no if ands or buts. I Think the main thing is that you get joy from writing :)


Susan Kane said...

As a fellow over-achiever, I understand your desire to be, to do everything. Cut yourself some slack. You haven't even finished your education yet. You amaze me, Eagle.

The Golden Eagle said...

Susan: Thanks for the support. :)

I have no idea what my priorities will be years down the road . . .

Deniz: And you seem to be very dedicated to publication! I'm always amazed by how much work you do.

Medeia: Good for you for achieving it!

Angela: The joy's still there. :)

Susan: Yeah, over-achieving is something I usually try to do . . . us over-achievers have got to stick together and remind ourselves to give ourselves room sometimes, don't we?

Simon Kewin said...

Writing is something I have to do and I guess I'm pretty focussed on getting published. But that doesn't mean this is the only approach. Writing for self-fulfillment and fun seems absolutely fine to me.

Krispy said...

I sympathize with you so much! I love writing and I do actually want it to be my career in some way eventually, but like you, I feel like I'm not dedicated enough. I'm still trying to figure out how to get on my feet in all these other aspects of my life that it's a challenge for me to make writing my top priority, though I often feel like it should be if I want to make it, as it were, in this business. So sometimes I feel guilty that I don't seem to be struggling, bleeding, sweating, writing enough. But I write because I enjoy it and because I feel a need to do it; I don't want to do it out of guilt or if it's not enjoyable anymore, you know?

Thanks for this post! Glad to know I'm not the only one out there who feels like this!

The Golden Eagle said...

Simon: Glad to know you think so. :)

Krispy: I wouldn't want to write if it wasn't an enjoyable thing, either. I don't think anything near as good would emerge from unwilling writing as opposed to something you actually wanted to do.

You're welcome! It's nice to know I'm not the only one, too.