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Saying you write for yourself doesn’t make you an enigma

There are people who write for themselves. They compose story after story, poem after poem and squirrel them away from the public eye. I’m not one of the of them. I write with hopes that I can entertain an audience with my words. Now, that’s not to say that I don’t have my share of stories that won’t see daylight; but when I write, I write with the intention of submitting the piece, somewhere. I’m not one of the self-absorbed writers out there, who swear on a stack of market guides that they only write for themselves. Bullshit, you know it is.

Can I be blunt? People who say they write for themselves, yet continually send out their works for publication are liars. If you’re writing for yourself, then why the hell are you wasting money on envelopes, postage and paper? If I wanted to write stories for myself, I could do that in my head. I could close my eyes, follow the narrative in my head until it comes to a conclusion. There, I have my story for myself.

That isn’t to say that people don’t write for themselves. An acquaintance of mine — we will call her Brittney, because I like the way it looks on the page — is such a person. She writes, writes more, and then continues to write; only to file away her writing and move on to something else. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent trying to convince her to submit the work somewhere; only to be told in a pretty intense matter-of-fact tone, “I don’t write for you, or anyone else. I write for me.” I never asked again.

But — and while I haven’t crunched the numbers to come up with a concrete figure — I would wager that Brittney belongs to a small and unique group of people that write solely for themselves. And the rest of us? We write because we want to be published. Sure, you can say that you write for this reason and that reason, but in the end, whether you throw it up in a blog, scribble it in a greeting card or post it on Facebook, you write because you want your work to be seen. And there is nothing wrong with that. Just be real about your motivation. Ask yourself, “Why do I write? Why do I want to be a writer?”

Go on, do it. I dare you.

Published in On My Mind

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