On Chance and Air

Why I Write…

It’s a strange thing to tell people you’re a writer. The first thing I hear is how they want to write or have written something. If you say you have published books, they assume you mean self-published, and when you correct them, as I always do, I get the inevitable double look over. Yes, me, short-round, me. Yes, you heard right. I am the published, award-winning author they introduced. Maybe there’s some persona I’m supposed to capture in my walk or talk? Am I supposed to wear a long silk scare and stiff tweed jacket? Maybe I should stand aloof, holding some solidary pose. Maybe, I’m supposed to look like Tom Clancy or WEB Griffin, except I don’t think those guys look like any of the super adrenaline fused warriors of justice you find in their books.

Then there are the snarky comments. They always kill me. Like I went out of my way to make their life harder. “You write full-time? It must be nice!” Yes, it is. Thank you very much.

And it’s work. Some days the words fly from my head without prompting. I would like to say are those my best writing days but alas, I’m not that good. I need to work on it; I need to practice my craft every day; I need to write like I need to breath. This writing is my addition. It gets me up on bad days. It gets me high on good days, and it makes me try harder every day in between.

And how do my books stack up against the competition? Better than you would expect. Still, in a world where four million books were self-published last year, it’s getting harder and harder to stay above the noise. Competition is good for the work. It forces us all to try harder and do better, but it’s still more chance than capability that will push one book to the top while others simply tread water. Chance. I’ll write for that chance and keep writing. For most of us, a chance is all we get in life. My advice, when chance comes your way? Aim higher; especially if this is your one chance! Literary success may be a lottery, but it’s the only game I want to play, and yes, I’ll play like a pro or an addict, however you want to imagine it. Like the Lady said, “You can’t win if you don’t play.”




1 thought on “On Chance and Air”

  1. You describe the need to write as an uncontrollable compulsion. I couldn’t agree more. It’s the same as a musician who can’t help but play a tune if they should happen upon a piano or guitar. Yup, don’t pass up the opportunity to take on a large project. The payoff is worth the investment in time.

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