Friday, July 30, 2010

The Definitive Top-Five List of A Writer's Rewards

Lickety Splitter, a non-writing (she says) follower of mine, has said she tried writing, but it seemed like way too little rewards for way too much agony, and so she quit it. I'm amazed that anybody could be smart enough to see this low reward-to-work ratio and get out while the gettin's good.

But then, no. I could never give up writing, because there ARE rewards.

OK, now you ask me to name them. Details, details.

Oh, you REALLY want me to name them. A little trust, people. If I say there are rewards, then there are -- ptui. You're not going to shut up until I enumerate them, are you?

So for the Doubting Thomases in my readership, here is the definitive Top Five Rewards list for writers.

5) People think you're smart.

It's true. If you let the non-writing public find out you are writing a book, people are genuinely impressed with you. They assume you are going to join the ranks of JK Rowling and Stephanie Meyer and that they will have known you when. Do not disavow them of such beliefs.

4) People will excuse your messy house.

The non-writing public will (generally speaking) give you a pass if your house is cluttered but essentially sanitary. They assume that you are expelling blood, sweat, toil and tears during all your free time, and that you don't have time to deal with dust bunnies.

3) People will excuse your strange behavior.

The NWP (non-writing public) will soon grow accustomed to you stopping in mid-sentence, shrieking, "Eureka!" and then scribbling something on your palm only to dash off for your laptop. When you NAME your dust bunnies and talk to them, the NWP will smile and say things like, "Well, yanno, she's one of those creative types."

2) You may get some dough.

Most writers don't get rich, but they can, if they're lucky and work at it, garner anything from enough to take a vacation to enough to quit the day job and still survive. Doing what you love for a living? That's not work. And what idiot walks away from money that can be made with so little capital investment?

1) You will remain true to yourself.

Eventually the NWP will get impatient with you and say, "So when's that big best-seller coming out?" But there's something about seeing your words in print, even if it's in the local paper, that gives you a thrill that won't quit. It's addictive. If you are a writer, you can't REALLY quit (which is why I suspect that Lickety Splitter, with her keen observations on her colorful blog, is truly a writer in hibernation). But if you did PRETEND to quit, you'd be denying a part of yourself. That would make as much sense as looking at your left hand and saying, "Huh, don't use it much. Guess I could chop it off and it wouldn't be cold in the winter time."

So be honest. Deal in truth. Say it loud and say it proud: I am a writer, I'm for real, even if I haven't been pubbed, and I do it for ME.


~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Fantastic post! Thanks for putting a smile on my face before my first cup of morning coffee.

Happy Friday!

Piedmont Writer said...

I am a writer, I am for real, even if I haven't been pubbed (yet) I do it for me.

Thanks Cynthia.

Al said...

I love the list, thank you!

Quitting is not an option.
I would curl into a ball and rock slowly back and forth I I wasn't allowed to write any more.

Mia said...

Made me smile. And an excuse to be weird? That ALONE is worth the stress of writing.

Writing is a lot of hard work. I honestly don't see the point in creating books unless you are seriously in love with writing. But if you are? You know what, I've tried giving up writing. I can't. Even if I never touch a keyboard or pen again, I'll still be making up stories. It's part of who I am, for better or for worse.

Jessica said...

Hear, hear! A very similar post over @ my blog today (shameless plug: ) *ahem* where I notice that it's not quite as easy as I thought it would be, but I can imagine a day in the future when I say, "I remember when..."

Thanks, Cynthia - a great blog! Very timely!!!

Anonymous said...

I'll take no. 3, please.

Jennifer Shirk said...

This post made me smile. :)
Great list!

Kelly Breakey said...'s always nice to get that smack up against the head. And it always seems to come on the days I need it.

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Awesome! I love this post. I really need to print it off and tack it to my bulletin board as a reminder.

I didn't know people would give me a pass about my messy house. Here, I've been stewing about it and I didn't need to.

I understand the incomplete sentences as well. Happens all the time.

Thanks for the chuckle. :)

Lickety Splitter said...

Hey, I guess I do write, just not books. I write letters, e-mail, work stuff, blogs, poems, thank you notes and to-do lists (to name a few). Is there ever any reward for that sort of writing?

I'm mostly missing the dough and allowance for messy behavior out of the reward bunch. I managed to achieve the rest of those rewards through other means. Granted, some were devious means. But hey, whatever it takes. Right?