A PuzzleI was talking to someone at work and they mentioned one of the other people there had written a book. I asked who, naturally. Turned out I already knew about it, but I mentioned that I also write. You know, part of the conversation. Not selling anything, just continuing with the flow she had begun.
She looked at me and said, "Yeah, well, anyone can write a book." Then she walked off.
She wasn't nasty about it or angry. She was smiling and she seemed to think it was a normal thing to say. I wasn't sure how to respond so I didn't. I could have asked how her novel was coming along, or how many books she had finished. I didn't. It was at work and we try to get along there, no fighting or arguments, just us folks doing our jobs.
It still bothered me. Why would someone say that? Do they actually believe that writing is so simple? The insurance commercial comes to mind as the caveman sits at his typewriter. So simple everyone can do it.
So why don't they?
I think I know why I write. It's fun, most of the time. I get into the story and come up with how stuff works and why they did this or that. I invent a villain and a hero and a few in between. It's fun creating a world and then populating it.
I also like the idea that people read what I write and like it. Not millions of them, not even thousands. Maybe two thousand so far have downloaded one of my books. I assume they read them. Why would you download a book if it was just going to sit there taking up memory in your reader?
I even make a few dollars every month. I can't quit my night job yet, but I can put a tank of gas in the car every month and have a little pocket change left over.
I can imagine a future where I write and not work elsewhere, but the dates elude me thus far. Probably not this month. Not next month. Maybe next year or the year after. I will keep writing until it happens.
Anyone can write. But how many actually make the effort? Few do and fewer still stick with it to learn from their failures, to improve their skills and to increase their audience. Those few earn great rewards, even if it is only self satisfaction.
NaNoWriMo is going on this month and there are hundreds of thousands of people writing for this contest. Write a fifty thousand word novel (or more) in thirty days. It's a challenge. It's interesting. It's fun.
I'm going to win. Anyone can do it. You just have to start.