What’s the most important thing to remember as a writer? From where I sit (and write), two things. I never want to forget why I’m writing and who I writing for. It’s easy to forget these two things if you’re preoccupied with publication or you’re enjoying so much success that you forget what got you there. Thankfully, there is enough rejection in this business to keep us grounded, focused, and consequently, writing.
Yet, I love the advice Walt Disney and F. Scott Fitzgerald bring to the essence of storytelling despite their immense success. Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby, said, “You don’t write because you want to say something…you write because you have to say something.” This speaks of the innate compulsion all writers feel to express themselves and why we must write—or burst.
Walt Disney also never lost sight of his reason for being, “We don’t make movies to make money, we make money so we can make more movies.” In other words, it’s about “the work,” the craft, the story, and the audience entertained, changed or moved by that story. Writing is about the “process,” not merely the end.
Writing. It’s hard work. Painstaking work. And yes, often painful work. Yet, it’s also there’s-nothing-I’d-rather-be-doing work, despite often delayed rewards. We persevere because we know every master began as an apprentice and good writing is nothing more than good rewriting.
Never lose sight of why you write and who you are writing for. Besides, there’s a fringe benefit to doing the work; the desire to write grows with writing.
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