Writing for Oneself

With book two winding down and the third one all set to begin rolling out, I have begun to turn my attention to book five. I hadn’t really settled on a suitable main character, partly because I felt as though there were too many directions in which the next novel could run. I was torn between two terrific options. As it happens to be, I settled on a third. This isn’t unusual for me. Anyone that has ever played a character in my games know that I believe in a fluid storyline that can go darn near anyplace. I despise having my characters hemmed in by preconceived notions and “immovable” literary barricades. I like a background figure that suddenly leaps into the spotlight, performs some sort of bewildering feat, and then scurries off to the next thing, be it fame, infamy, or obscurity. This is life in a nutshell, and I love it.

I reckon you could say that “every dog has his day” neatly sums up my attitude towards the characters in my writing and in my games. This adds a delightful flavor to their interactions with other players or readers. As a writer accustomed to having an audience consisting entirely of myself (my musings seldom register as popular as throwing oneself into a wood chipper) I have determined to write precisely that which pleases me. It is fruitless to do anything else. Whenever I see an author bemoaning how a particular book of theirs ended, or regretting that a character of their own creation and completely under their control did or said something, I have to wonder “just what in the hell were you writing for?” If not your own pleasure, and to release an artistic urge to free your imagination to pursue yet another dream, why would you write something? Especially if you ended up disappointed. Was your publisher pushing for you to meet a deadline? Was the money too much to pass up that the story was secondary as a goal? Did you just get bored and run out of steam?

Theoretically I suppose that I can’t fault any writer for these or any other reasons. I’m not them, I have no earthly idea what is running amok in their psyches. But for myself, I write what I enjoy writing about. Popularity isn’t a factor, nor does it seem that it will ever be. Money isn’t at stake unless somebody has the courage to pay me not to write. I have no deadlines largely because I am the only person who cares if I finish or even if I start. That is how writing ought to be. It is a creative outlet, whether to inform, entertain, teach or confuse. It is one person putting down their notions and letting those thoughts be available for other folks to read or just sit in a box as a reminder to their author that once upon a time they were important enough to be set down on paper or in electronic media in order to give their creator a sense of having done something. They wrote. We write. Take joy in that, let that be your payment and satisfaction. The things that please your artistic whimsy are immeasurably valuable, so express them as often as you can regardless of any or no audience. Do it for yourself.

And now let’s begin book five.