All About Me

Today, I got to thinking how, every now and again, I have a spasm of, “No one’s going to want to buy this…”

At first, the spasms upset me, but now I’m finding them weirdly freeing. If no one but me ever wants to read this story, then I can write it entirely for myself. If there’s no market for it, then I don’t have to take the market into consideration when making my choices.

I thought maybe there was a bit of flim-flam in thinking this way: if I’m the only one who’s ever going to have this story told to her, why do I need to write it down in the first place, and why do I spend so much time revising and fixing it in the second?

The answer is that there are a few things at work. One, there’s the pleasure of creating, and for me, that pleasure includes revising and polishing. The first draft of a scene is a rough approximation; the work that comes after is all about discovering the real thing. Two, there’s nothing like the feeling of “I made this.” To get that feeling, I have to make something. A rough, unpolished draft isn’t the finished product; the finished product is the story after it’s been revised until it’s the best fail I can make it. Finally, my recent experience reading my own Lord Sebastian’s Wife is playing a part. I hadn’t gone near that story in years when I opened it up this winter, so it was almost new to me. I couldn’t put it down, and that showed me that I can write a story that I will love. So, on some level, I really am writing this story for myself, for the me I’ll be in a few years, when I’ve forgotten most of Dragonfly and will be ready to read it with fresh eyes.

So, at the very worst, I’ll have a story for myself in a few months…

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. anne gracie
    Apr 30, 2009 @ 20:14:46

    Katie that’s very wise. I think every writer has those spasms — I certainly do. And writing to please yourself is the answer, I agree. And maybe to please your “ideal” reader. But I also have to say, I’d happily read anything you wrote. You’re a wonderful writer.

    Reply

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