Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Insecure Writer's Group: We Are Not the Stars




This is my first time here on Insecure Writer's Support Group. If you don't know what Insecure Writer's Support Group is it is a monthly blog hop in which writer's post about their writing lives and encourage each other and learn from each other. It's a great idea and I am so glad I get to be a part of it.

I had a revelation earlier this week about my writing life.

I was talking to a coworker at the deli I work at about my writing and he said something that perplexed me.

He said "Who knows? Maybe I'm talking to a star."

He meant it as encouragement of course but it got me thinking.

Am I trying to be a star?

Everyone has a right to shine. The question isn't so much a matter of humility as objective. I read somewhere once that you can make a fortune from writing but not a living (possibly that is a Ray Bradbury quote but also possibly it isn't) so in order to make a living with my writing I may need to acquire a certain amount of fame. I'm ok with that if it means I can continue to write and not have to work double and triple shifts at minimum wage retail jobs anymore but it is far from the reason why I write.

I write because it is my calling.

I write because I can't imagine dedicating my life to anything else.

I write because I am bigger on the inside and the light that lives within has been screaming to get out since the day I was born.

I write because I dream things everyone else is afraid to believe in.

But I have come to realize that my writing doesn't really have anything to do with me at all.

Another writing quote that I read so long ago that I have no idea who said it is that we write to be like those who gave us the most joy.

All writers began as readers who fell so in love with books that we began pouring them out of our hearts in thick gushes of ink. Because at some point in our lives books saved our lives. They taught us. They inspired us. They kept us company when no one else could. They understood us.

They fed our souls and kept us from dying from the inside out.

As C.S. Lewis would say "we read (them) to know we (were) not alone" (Yay! I actually remember who said that one).

That is the real reason I write. To tell others that they are not alone. To teach them. To inspire them. To understand them.

To feed their souls and keep them from dying from the inside out.

Because every time we talk to another human soul we are talking to a star.

Writing is never about the writer. It's about the reader. Our job is not to make them look at us. It is to help them look at themselves.

They are the true stars of every book and it is our honor to keep them company and --if we are any good at what we do --offer them a twinkling of hope so that they can grow brighter still.

Because we are all so much bigger on the inside.


28 comments:

  1. I like that: we're writing for the readers to look at themselves, not us. I think that's one of the reasons marketing freaks me out. I don't want attention. I'd love for people to read my work, but do I have to be the one pulling on their sleeve, asking them to take a look? I guess so.

    Plus, people who don't write may not be aware of the hoards of writers on the planet. They know only the stars: Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, etc. So when you say you are a writer, that's what comes to their minds, which is fine, but it puts a heck of a lot of pressure on the writer!

    And, oh yeah, I'm supposed to mention I'm co-hosting this month. Welcome to the ISWG!

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    1. I completely agree. I want readers to know about my books but waving them in their faces all the time feels so . . . rude. It helps a little though when I remember that I am offering them something of value not asking them for a favor :-)

      Oh! I'm sorry. I'll add another link right away. And thank you for co- hosting Tamara!

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  2. YES! Writing IS about the Reader. I love this. Thank you. Too many times I've gotten involved with projects (not just writing, but all manner of creative pursuits) because of the lure of "Fame" or "fortune" or both. But I was constantly thinking, "If I could just make enough money through this, I could finally stay at home and focus on my writing!" It's taken me a long (looong) time to realize that my focus all along should have been writing and writing because I have to. I have no choice. I've even tried giving up writing in favor of other arts but it keeps tapping me in the gut, refusing to give up. Thank you for this wonderful article. We are all bigger on the inside, aren't we? And welcome to the IWSG!! Cheers! ~ Jen

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    1. Thank you Jen! I'm really glad you've discovered writing to be your true calling. I don't want to be the only beautiful nutter out there :-)

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  3. Welcome to IWSG, Taryn. Know that you are with likeminded writers. We understand EXACTLY where you're coming from. It's in your blood. I once had a sweat shirt that said, "I'm a writer. My mother's other children are normal."

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  4. Taryn I like this... I started out reading voraciously... I loved reading for so many years... now I write. I agree that the writing is for the reader, what a great way to think of it. I like to know that what I have gone through in my life might inspired someone else to keep going... I know others have helped me... xox

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  5. Good post! One of the reasons I write is to give others the same feelings I get - excitement, shivers, tears, etc - from reading a great story. And when you know you've achieved that? Bliss! :)

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  6. I love love love this post so much. You wrote this beautifully

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    1. Thank you Karen! That is fantastic to hear :-)

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  7. I feel you on the writing is a calling. So true. And please PLEASE never forget that.

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  8. Welcome. I hope this won't be your last time here!

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  9. I'd sure like to take my writing from a "hobby" to full time job with fame and fortune.

    Too much work, lol.

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    1. Nothing wrong with wanting to be paid and appreciated for what we do :-)

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  10. I see us as a bit different. Stars burn bright then burn out. I mean sure, there are some long-gone favorites. But books make us immortal. We can be discovered many years from now and someone can fall in love when they've never heard of us before. Tiny timeless victories. Sadly, only a small number of us have that happen to any significant degree, but my star chart says I'll achieve fame near the end of life or after death, so that's what I'm going with...

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    1. I'm sure you will achieve many great things :-)

      Our difference in perspective may have to do with a difference of thoughts on what it means to be "immortal". To me immortality is achieved by being fully present and alive in the present moment and less to do with how others see you or how long your "impression" lasts on the world. When I read a really good book --the kind that make you think and believe and change the way you see the world --I feel vibrant and alive and eternal so when I write I seek to give that same feeling to my readers. Because a star --burnt out or burning strong --is still a star and deserves to be ignited. To me reaching one person is just as significant as reaching millions because we are all of equal significance.

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  11. Beautiful post!

    I sort of agree, although I mostly right because I feel like I'd die if I stopped using my imagination. But then, I LOVE sharing my stories for the reasons you mentioned.

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    1. Thank you Misha! I completely understand that feeling too :-)

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  12. And that is an honorable reason to write!
    Sorry I'm late, but I wanted to welcome you to the IWSG. You are in the right place.

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    1. Thank you Alex and thank you for founding the monthly blog hop :-)

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  13. I think you have the heart of a writer. I agree with you, it's not about the fame, it's about doing what we have to do not to go crazy.

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