I’m moving into an area of peace with myself and my writing, something I’ve fought hard to win. It comes from letting go of my own and others’ preconceived notions of what I should write and how my writing life will be. Perhaps as an echo of this, my follower numbers have moved upward. We intuitively recognize those who are comfortable in their own skin.
In the midst of the tension between writing for profit and to express art is a place not conducive to peace. This is where I live. I didn’t set out to be a literary rebel. It’s just that I have strong opinions and a creative urge not satisfied by aligning to the status quo. I am not alone in this. Other writers have trod their own paths, awakening readers to new possibilities. And yet, there are considerations. I once took a fun quiz that asked why Charles Dickens had written A Christmas Carol. The answer startled me. According to the quiz writer, anyway, he wrote it for money. Recognizing that if you don’t please the crowd, you won’t receive a monetary reward tempts a writer to compromise and write cookie-cutter fiction. And yet, it is our very uniqueness that most appeals to readers, provided they give us a chance. And there is the problem. What does it matter if you beat a different drum if no one will hear the music you make?
Finding a balance between art and lucre is different for every writer. I won’t say that I have this nailed, but I at least have a hammer in my hand.
Gone are the days of writers as major celebrities. Sure, there’s still a certain amount of fame attached to becoming a literary icon, but the sun has set on the glory days of Mark Twain, Jack London, and Ernest Hemingway. Most writers are still reclusive by nature, but the writing life these days is about engaging an audience through social networking. Despite a collective groan from the predominantly introverted writing population, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It lets us learn that our audiences are made up of individuals and teaches us their names. It allows us to be touched by the people we have touched with our writing. And as with the Velveteen Rabbit, that makes us real.
©2014 by Janalyn Voigt
Need an escape?
DawnSinger, Tales of Faeraven #1 by Janalyn Voigt
A headstrong young princess and the guardian sworn to protect her fly on winged horses to the Gate of Life above the Well of Light in a desperate bid to release the DawnKing, and the salvation he offers, into a divided land. Will they each learn in time that sometimes victory comes only through surrender?
Purchase DawnSinger today!