I’ve decided that there are two types of writers: writers who care, and writers who don’t care.
Writers who care write in order to be heard. They post Facebook status updates about the bickering matches they’re writing for their characters. They spend hours pounding away at the keyboard, and go to writer’s conferences, and endlessly promote themselves. They keep stacks of rejection slips, knowing that all the great writers had to deal with rejection slips too.
Writers who don’t care write just to write. They may compose funny stories for their little sisters, or letters to their grandparents, or extensive diary entries.
They don’t care if the world hears them or not. They just write, because they can.
Fun Fact: The year I was 16 I wrote over 90,000 words in my diary. For comparison, my book was about 30,000 words. So in one year I wrote three books worth of words about my feelings and a social life that consisted of roughly fifteen people.
I don’t know why I wrote that much.
When people ask me why I write, I have no good answer. I just do.
Some writers who don’t care have become very successful. Jane Austin comes to mind. But usually it’s the writers who care who become successful, because they put in the time.
Writing a whole book takes time, you know, and dedication to one project instead of whatever strikes your fancy at the moment.
The world is big, and in most cases, if you want it to notice your work, you have to care enough to hand it over.
That it why I would like to become a writer who cares.
But at the same time…
When I come across unpublished works by writers who care, I find myself gasping and flinching and seeing every error. It may have potential, and it may end up a best seller, but between every line is written, “trying, trying so hard,” and reading those unwritten words over and over again drives me batty.
But when I come across unpublished works by writers who don’t care, I devour them. Old diaries at garage sales. Handwritten letters from my cousin. Family newspapers. Funny essays by my students.
Words that were written, not to be heard by the world, but just because.
I guess I would like to be a writer who cares, but still write like I don’t care.
I don’t know if that is possible.