Thoughts of a First-Time Author
October 3, 2018
I have no idea how many first-time authors there are, but I imagine that our number stretches into many hundreds of millions. Why do we do it? Why do we spend countless hours of precious personal time in pursuit of a vague, elusive opportunity to publish a single piece of work?
We all recognize the animal… the aspiring writer who knows that she or he ‘has a book in them’. We would rather work towards the prospect of earning cents per hour for our efforts than do almost anything else. Our efforts have no logic. The business case is pathetically weak—yet we persist.
Why? Because each of us knows that, inside us, there is a story “just bursting to be told.”
Why are we relentless in this pursuit? Honestly, I don’t know the answer. From limited experience, I can suggest a few of the many elements that explain our drive to become a published author.
One influence, I think, is that we believe we have something to say. Not just that, but we also believe it’s something that other people will want read or listen to. Today, “sharing” is a popular buzzword. But isn’t it also the essence of what authors have been doing for millennia?
I’m convinced that few first-time authors set out solely to influence people. Some do, of course. Leave them aside and focus on the mainstream. Most of us want to share something with our prospective readers. We want to share an experience, or a thought, or ask them to consider an issue.
As writers of ‘the script’, we don’t expect our readers’ endorsement, even though it’s flattering to receive supportive recognition. Mostly, we don’t aspire to great heights of fame and adulation (but who among us is going to walk away if they come knocking?).
So, I’m left with this thought. At one time in their lives, the greats of world literature probably asked themselves why they were writing… for what purpose? I doubt many of them initially sought only fame and fortune. Simply put, they had something to say. Something they felt was, and maybe still is, of significance.
Realistically, few of us will ever achieve such notoriety. We may not sell a million copies of our books, or even a hundred. Even at one hundred copies sold, each of us is doing what writers throughout the centuries have been doing—in countless cultures: we are advancing information and ideas. We are seeking to capture readers’ attention and entertain them. Maybe even cajole them towards some purpose.
Fundamentally, we want to share. Isn’t that why we write?