Suzannah over at Write It Sideways posted yesterday about 37 questions new writers should ask themselves. It’s a fascinating list, and I’m working my way down it. I’ve thought a lot about a lot of these questions, others not so much, but I really think any/every new writer should think about these at a bare minimum as they begin to negotiate the very long journey to publication.
I’d add another question to that list. Why do I write, and would I continue to write if not for publication? That question looms large in my mind as I continue to look at the genre and type of writing that I seem to gravitate to. I think that became most glaringly obvious, yet again to me, during the Nine Muses Challenge I just finished.
I promised a break down for that experience, and here it is in short-form. Nine themes revealed over nine days. Once you began, the stories you wrote had to be linked by these themes, and the world you created in the first story is the one you stayed with through out the challenge. I wrote in first person, which dragged me very deeply into my character’s head. I was buried so deep I couldn’t wait to crawl out. And for the first time in my writing life, I cried. While I was writing. I had to get up and leave the computer. My chest hurt and the tears flowed.
Now mind you, I write dark. I’ve killed babies and entire worlds in my fiction without batting an eye. This left me feeling physically ill and in pain. My body hurt like I’d been slapped around and maybe pummeled. I couldn’t breathe. And I couldn’t stop writing. I could have stopped at any point, and didn’t.
And yet, I think what came out of that challenge was some of my better writing. And I would do it again. Insane? Maybe. I don’t know. I don’t think my writing, which is literary in genre, is something that there will be a big mass market for. So as much as I’d love to be published, I’m not sure what I’m writing will do that for me. Which is another question I suppose I have to ask myself.
So how about you? As you peruse those 37 questions, why do you write? And would you continue to write if not for publication?