Those who say “There’s no use spending significant time writing since no one can possibly make a living at the craft (as if that was the only logical reason) comes from an embittered throng who have either given up or else been re-forged into dreamless equipment who write what they are told. However, those few who are content to remain “failures” in search of an original voice press on and ignore the nay-sayers. Beyond the flapping caws of those who would discourage are levels of gratification that provide fulfillment and satisfaction to an aspiring artist to the following degrees:
To have a project fully developed in a visible format that only needs a bit more honing to whet the edge to its sharpest. Smoothing out content kinks, fixing typos, replacing cliches, repairing scene repeats, refining character personalities, and enlivening dialog at this juncture is a joy unspeakable complete with tears and/or laughter. Regret comes at the end like a first child leaving for school.
A project completed in a visible format with a less than vague direction toward a determined end while having a more than passing relation with the characters. The excitement of getting to know intimately new personalities and overcoming unforeseen conflicts lends thrills or else heartaches that inspire a passion few ever experience. Mornings can’t come fast enough and days are filled with complexities seemingly impossible to resolve until out of nowhere comes a revelation like the cavalry in a B-western.
To have a roughed-out draft of a situation along with meeting strangers willing to take part in the endeavor. While this is not exclusively the creation process, the effort is by far the most laborious part. This is the critical stage where all hope can be lost, but with dogged resolve a murky shape begins to take form with the possibility of actually being sculpted to a sensible illustration. This stage as scenes are completed makes the anguish suffered worthwhile as hope mounts.
To stare at a blank slate, so to speak, in search of a method of expression that will release a pressure in the mind of a formless wish, want or regret. There being no instantaneous outlet, the only remedy is to begin a word at a time. For the pragmatic that starts with an outline; for the ethereal less adverse to punishment, they turn into treasure hunters without maps or destinations but only a hunger to find the mother-lode. Whatever the writer’s bent, this stage tests the resolve as mediocrity beckons seductively, but for the stalwart who resist the siren calls of conformity the self-discipline and perseverance gained will never be regretted. Then at the last moment, an inspiration will dash out of oblivion like a wild un-broke stallion that must be mounted on the run, bucked-out, and ridden at a full gallop through a series of crevasse jumps, race-track sprints, and double-backs at impasses. The ride is an exhilarating one for those who can stay in the saddle.
Collect revenues for a work completed and accept acclaim. It is the dream of every beginner and the disillusionment of those who find success. The benefits are a bank account.
Hemingway famously said “Hate to write, love to have written.” That’s the perspective from wealth and fame, but there is another view from the less avaricious–must write regardless of appreciation or frustration or set-backs. Otherwise, callousness seeps in.
But that’s not all. Next comes the mercenary aspect to writing. Marketing–the literary equivalent of door-to-door cold-call selling. Songsters travel the highways and byways and so must writers who wish popularity and readership. After graduating courses in self-discipline and tenaciousness, now comes a master degree in hawking wares like the traveling snake oil peddlers of old with pots and pans and elixirs. The rewards other than recognition are scarce.