Tuesday, May 19, 2009

In The Know: Pt 1

Writing is both craft and expression, both art and business.

When we begin this journey, I think it's important to know what our purpose is in writing. Most of us probably started writing in some form at young ages. Journals, essays, poetry. We poured ourselves into our words.

One of the most important things we must ask ourselves is why are we writing? Artistic expression or with the goal of being published? It will make a huge impact on the level and focus of our writing. Being "in the know" about the heart of our writing will shape our futures.

Do you know your purpose in writing? When or how did you discover your goals?

60 comments:

Marybeth said...

I began writing at a very young age because I loved it! I continued writing as I got older as an outlet. I write now because I love it AND it is an outlet. But I have to admit, getting published would be a gigantic perk!

Kristen Painter said...

Psst. You have a little typo in that second to last question.

I've been writing with the goal of publication for about 4 years, but the reason I want to get published is so that my words can get a wider audience. I want to entertain people!

Jessica said...

Hi Marybeth,
I agree. Publishing is a great perk. :-) It's great that you love it. I really believe passionate authors write better than ones who've lost their flare.

Jessica said...

Eeek! Thanks Kristen. :-)

You already entertain me. I can't wait to read your book when it comes out!

Jennifer Shirk said...

I started writing as an outlet and hobby and because it's fun. Those goals haven't really changed. :)

Jessica said...

That's awesome! I hope they don't either. With all the blahs and stresses of publication, I hope you can keep your joy. :-)

Danyelle said...

I write to quiet the voices running around the inside of my head. ;-) Writing also helps calm me down, along with helping me to figure myself out. Basically, I write because it's something I need to do.

Jody Hedlund said...

I love telling a good story. I think that's what keeps me going. I just love finding new twists and exciting ideas to add to my stories. If no one else ever reads them, at least I've had the satisfaction of creating a story that entertains me! (But of course I'd love to share the stories with others too! Hence, I'd love to publish them!)

Jessica said...

Danyelle,
That's always a good thing. A need can't be ignored as much as a desire or whim. :-)

Angela said...

I start on the whole what if tangent and I need to see what will end up happening. I just love to tell a good story. :-)

Jessica said...

LOL Jody.
I'm a fan of twists and have to agree. If I start getting bored with my story, my solution is always to introduce some new conflict or character to liven things up. :-)
I'm kind of the same way, in that I never really needed someone to read my stories. I'm satisfied in the writing. But if someone else does read them, well, like MaryBeth said, that's an added perk.

Jessica said...

Angela,
What if so fun! :-)

Terri Tiffany said...

I started writing because I loved to do it years ago in diaries and journals. It was a way to get the thoughts from my head out there to look at:))
Now I'd like to do the same thing but make a difference for someone too. Hoepfully??

Cindy said...

Jessica, I like your post. Our purpose in writing will most likely be reflected in our writing style. If it's to entertain, we work toward writing a great story that captures an audience. If it's to reach people, we develop our character and write scenes that touch a readers heart.

In my own case, my writing style changed completely once I became a Christian. Suddenly the purpose behind my writing was different and, therefore, so were my stories.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

I write to grow as a person, and because I love the creativity of it all. Mastering the craft is another good incentive for me. It's so very different from my math background that I find it a huge challenge, but one I don'te ever want to do without.

quixotic said...

I think I just wanted to tell a good story and have other's listen. I'm not writing for fame or fortune (though I wouldn’t mind either), I just want people to be entertained with whatever nonsense comes out of my head. LoL.

Jessica said...

Hi Terri,
I'm sure you do make a difference in people's lives. :-) Diaries and journals was my thing too.

Jessica said...

Cindy, that's very interesting how you put your comment! I agree with you.

Keli Gwyn said...

I started writing fiction three and a half years ago when a story and characters took hold of me and wouldn't let go. I've loved romances since I was a young high school girl and dreamed of writing my own. Now I am, and I'm having tonz of fun.

Janna Qualman said...

Someone used the word "outlet," and that's a good one for me, so I'm stealing it. And I think I pursue publication because, in my own way as many others do, I have thoughts and perceptions to share through my stories. Not in a preaching sort of way, that's not what I mean, but in that relatable sort of way. I like to share my words with others. And what better way than through publication?

Jessica said...

Hey Eileen,
It is an exciting challenge. :-) The creativity is wonderful. We get to make our own worlds!

It's interesting that you're good at math.

Jessica said...

LOL Katie,
That's a worthy enough goal. I feel the same way.

Jessica said...

That's awesome Keli. I've been reading romances since fourth grade too (unbeknownst to my mommy). LOL

Jessica said...

Exactly Janna. I think some people are content to keep their stories to themselves. Others want/need/like to share. Publication is the way to go if you have something to express to others.
I like that you want to do it an a relatable way. Nothing turns me off more than a preachy book.

Warren Baldwin said...

I have multi-purposes, and sometimes they overlap, even get confusing. There are sermons, blog posts, bulletin articles, articles for journals, hopeful chapters for books ...

denise petrovich said...

I do not have the patience or discipline to write, yet.... But I enjoyed reading your reasons. When I found the romance novels of Jessie's I was horrified but quickly realized she was a book sneaker. So we compromised by her agreeing not to read the xxxx???? sections of the books. Her passion began early. love Mom

Jessica said...

LOL Warren, at least you can list them! :-)

Jessica said...

LOL mom! :-) Everyone, she WAS horrified. Poor thing. *snicker*

Lynnette Labelle said...

Hi, Jessica. I noticed you wrote about the Sushi Series while you were over at Jody's. Can you tell me what this is? Thanks.

Lynnette Labelle

”Lynnette Labelle’s Blog”

Lynnette Labelle said...

Oh, yeah. I write because I HAVE to. ;)

Lynnette Labelle

”Lynnette Labelle’s Blog”

Kara said...

I write because I love it, but I agree that if you have a goal or purpose the writing seems to be more driven. Even if that goal is just to write a story for someone you love!

T. Anne said...

Jessica, what a timely question! I'm revisiting my writing goals, genre wise. I'm dedicated to finish my current WIp it's at 56K and I hope I can keep up the pace. My mind has already drifted to the YA I'll be working on this summer. (God willing) =)

Jeanette Levellie said...

Jessica:
My writing goals have changed over the last hmmm... forty-five or so years.

I started writing just because i loved it, some friends encouraged me to try and get published, I've had some success at that, and am now branching out with books.

I would love to have a book or more published, but my main goal is to minister to the people God puts in my path, whether they be few or many.

To hear: "Well done, good and faithful servant" is my #1 goal. I could publish 76 books and not do what God wants, and that would make me sad.

Love jen

Morgan Mandel said...

I do want my stories to be shared with others, so I'm not only writing for myself, no matter how much I enjoy it.

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com
http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com

sherrinda said...

Reading has given me so much joy and the thought of producing something that could do that for someone else...well, it would be heaven. :)

I snuck books too! I would go to my aunt's house in the summer (Jr.High-HS_ and she was part of a Harlequin book club. She would give me a big bag of books to take home, but I knew my mom wouldn't like it so I stuffed them in my luggage and hid them away at home. Later, she found out and (gasp) was horrified. ;) She probably let my aunt "have it"! lol

Jessica said...

That's true Kara.
Goals= Motivation. :-)

Jessica said...

Woohoo T. Anne! I hope you can keep up the pace too. Good for you for having new plans already rooting around.

Jessica said...

Hi Jen,
I think that would make God sad too. You have a great "eternal" outlook.

Jessica said...

Hi Morgan,
That's a good thing to remember too, that we're writing for others. Thanks for stopping by!

Jessica said...

LOL Sherrinda! I'm glad I have a partner in "crime". Snort.
You're right about wonderful books. There are some that are just so incredible, I fly through them. I want to do that too. To give someone an evening of pure mental/emotional pleasure. :-)

sherrinda said...

Jessica!!!! You are a snorter!!! My heroine is too! lolol I love it! :)

anita said...

Great beginning to your series, Jessie!

I used to think that I only wanted to write to express my heart. That if I ventured into the successful "formulaic" waters, I would be betraying myself and get eaten by the sharks of shame. :-)

But I've matured since, and realize that I actually want to be published AND widely read. I also want to make money for my kids' college funds. That means more than just pleasing mom and dad and cousins and friends who are going to love anything I pen.

To be published and successful, sometimes we have to mold our work around forms that are tried and true, while still maintaining that quality that makes our stories unique and special. Though I've written five books, I'm just now working on my first WIP ever with saleability utmost in mind, and it is different than straight following my heart. I'm having to master a balancing act between what is me and what sells, without compromising my heart.

I think it's going pretty well thus far. And I don't anticipate ever regretting this decision, because I some day I'll have my stories read by hundreds (or more!) of strangers and glean satisfaction in that. Not to mention I can finally bag some pay for something I've been doing for free far too long.

Jessica said...

Sherrinda,
I got it from Anita. She's a very bad influence.

Snort, snort.

:-)

Jessica said...

Well-said Anita! It's a fine balance, and that's why I think it's important to know what you're aiming for. If you want to be published, you have to account for more than just your heart. There are others, and they have certain expectations.
You said it awesomely. :-)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Whew, finally made it over here. I've had a long day.

Simply stated, my purpose is to honor the Lord through both non-fiction and fiction. I discovered my goals as I wrote and prayed.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Jessica said...

That is simply said. :-) Sigh. I need to pray more. Or maybe it's listen more. It's so easy to talk to God, but really hard to listen for his answer.
Thanks for stopping by Susan!

Proverbs 27:19 said...

Oh Jessica, can I choose both Artistic Expression and hopes of publishing?

Great advice you offer here, thanks!

smooches,
Larie

Pen Pen said...

wow...I can't believe I'm having to think on this--thought I knew. I've written since I really young- my mom says I re-wrote 'Rudolph' at 4 with pics and made it into a book format with a cover...I dunno if I believe her that I was 4 tho--All the 4 yr olds I know can hardly function :)
In school, I was so terrible at math and I seemed to naturally do well with writing(tho not grammar), so I worked on that-it became my "niche". Tho- I could never say it would have escalated unless I focused on it as much as I did...
SO-I've always written just for myself-almost as a way to be something. I put myself into the writing, and it became me.
I spoke to my bf about this the other day--the idea that I feel writing is what I have. He plays piano, does olympic level tae kwon do, is an award winning teacher, and graduated suma caude laude from college- but I feel I only have writing and psychology. Not that they're not enough, but the potential to fail at what I think of myself "as" is bigger.
That conversation(that I could FAIL at writing) made me start to wonder if I was wanting the validation of publication--and-honestly- I think I am. Is that wrong? To want the validation? It reminds me of people needing to be skinny for validation-tho I'd write even if I never got any...
My current manuscript is a "wish fulfillment"- I've heard a lot about that with first books-that they're the author's wish fantasies, and it's true. My dad had a terrible experience I've always wished I could fix and go back in time to help him with...I realized one day that I had a time machine in writing- I COULD be there. That's a motivational and amazing feeling.

...I hope I made sense--dunno if I know my real answer...

Jessica said...

Hi Larie,
Sure you can. :-) Sometimes they align really nicely. LOL
Thanks for stopping by. :-)

Jessica said...

Hi PenPen,
Made sense to me. I think it's pretty cool that you rewrote both Rudolph and your dad's experience. LOL Are you a fixer? :-)
In a way, publishing is a validation. It shouldn't validate our worth as a person, but it does confirm that others want to read our writing. As long as you separate YOU and STORY then I think you'll be fine. :-)
I'd love to be published and have validated that I can write. LOL Nothing wrong with that, imo.
Great comment!

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Artistic expression is what inspires me to write, but on those days when I just don't feel like it - it is my goal of getting published that makes me sit in front of the computer and just type. At the end of the day I think you need a mix of both things.

Jessica said...

Great point, Kate. I agree.

Dara said...

I think writing and storytelling is something that's been in my blood since, well, forever. I wrote stories since before I knew how--I had my mom transcribe them for me. I still have all my old stories--complete with illustrations--in a folder somewhere. I even did one of those kid-like "books on tape" for one, completely with my keyboard to make the sound to let the reader know to turn the page :P

Not sure how I discovered my goals. Mainly I'm just inspired by something (an event, mainly, or more recently, a legend) and then write a brief summary of whatever tumbles out of my head. I think it's mainly for me, artistic expression. I can't guarantee I'll be published but I have to get the story out somehow--even if it means only close friends and family read it.

Of course I do aim to be published and see my book on a shelf in a store, but my true "guiding light" is just getting the story down on paper. :)

I don't know if any of that made sense; I'm still in "story fog" mode--I was completely taken over by another idea today and my mind is still there :)

Jessica said...

Makes complete sense to me. :-)
Have fun with your new idea! I love it when that happens.
(and how cute about your saved stories)

Irritable Mother said...

I didn't "set out" to be a writer. But that's the path down which God led me. And I believe my purpose in writing (and speaking) is to encourage women and point them to God.
Yep. That's what I know!

Jessica said...

And you definitely do that. :-)

Robin of My Two Blessings said...

For me, it began as a challenge to myself to see what I could do. Amazed myself, discovered a new love. Right now, it's all for me. I didn't start with publishing being the ultimate goal. But some day....

Jessica said...

It's funny how our dreams change, and yet, they're still the same. Just going in a different direction? Maybe?
Thanks for stopping by and commenting. :-)

jessie said...

I write because I like to read what I write. That sounds a little egocentric, but there it is. I guess I enjoy the product a little more than the journey. Maybe I need to change that.

Jessica said...

Maybe not, Jessie. There are all different aspects to art and the reasons why we create it. I think it's okay to like the product more. :-)