Why I Write

Writing fiction is supposed to be fun. An author can do anything. Write about a big space adventure? Sure! How about a crime drama set in the old west? No problem, knock yourself out. But what about writing fiction for money? Well, it’s still supposed to be fun because you can write about anything. One would imagine it’s like being a race car driver and being paid to have fun racing around a track. It’s the same thing. You pen something up, and then people, ohh and ahh over your fantastic words. Then somebody sends you a check. Simple. Right? That was supposed to be my motivation…
I began writing with the goal of profit for a seemingly unlikely reason. They laid me off. Sunstrand (Pratt and Whitney, a division of UTC) dissolved their San Diego location. I could see what was going to happen long before my coworkers suspected there was a problem. The company was in such poor shape that I sent my resume out six weeks after I started working there. There were rumors and all kinds of plans to keep the place going. In the end, I worked there for two years. The work was good. I made several friends.
After they laid me off, I began working part-time for a medical product development company. This work was sparse, and there was little money, but it kept me sane. For many years, I had several stories I wanted to write and thought about them often. One day when I was not working, I wrote up my best three ideas. I had great hope that these three books would lead to instant cash. Unfortunately, I was naïve about how publishing worked.
It was time to publish my three ideas, and I started with my first one, Interviewing Immortality. My first step was to have my mother edit them. She has a lot of English talent, and this helped me immensely.
After I did a beta edit, I was ready to make a profit. At that time, I had written three books, and surely one would be popular. Obviously, the Internet would provide a simple path to profit. Just send the Microsoft Word document off to hundreds of publishers. One of them would like it, and they would send me a big fat check. There is probably a website that will do all of this! Instant payday!!!
Well, sending your book off to publishers no longer works that way. In fact, it never worked that way, but it is a delightful dream. The reality was that publishers “do not accept unrepresented manuscripts.” (Hey, quick author’s tip. Publishers call your book a manuscript. It makes them sound sophisticated.) Getting someone to represent your work is expensive and nearly impossible. Then, after somehow getting a book represented, they want at least 20% of your profit.
It was pure luck that I got connected with a self-publisher helper who convinced me to try self-publishing on Amazon. The problem was that I had to use my money to get the ball rolling. And again, I thought that after this simple self-publishing step, the fat checks would magically appear. I quickly learned that Amazon self-publishing does not work that way. A smart individual like myself would probably have done some background research on self-publishing.
So, I had a book on Amazon and needed to get the word out. In my natural state, I’m a quiet person. I didn’t have a Facebook account or other online presence. (Well, a few patents… But that is another painful story.) But, I quickly understood and began building my outward personality. There were ~100 sites for promoting books, and I found ~30 free sites. That was a start, but there was no solid audience connection.
I had always wanted to start a blog. This seemed like a fun thing to do. When I signed up for Goodreads, there was a blog section. This seemed like a good idea, and I decided to give it a stab. Hopefully, people will enjoy my ramblings and want to learn more. BUY MY BOOK!! ITS LIKE THIS BLOG BUT MUCH BETTER!!!
But this still does not answer the blog title question. Why do I write? I find ideas easy, and I can quickly write them up. For the moment, I also have the time.
Do I get any joy out of the process? That is a more complex answer. How cool was it when I did an internet search and came up with my name as an author? The answer was: so-so. There was also not much joy in telling my friends about my book. I wrote for two years, and they did not know what I was doing until I showed them a copy. One friend shook my hand, which was a nice gesture.
The true answer to this question comes from a strange place. After I have written a book, I self-edit many times. Tighten a sentence, add a concept, clarify, delete, and re-arrange. Each time I go through my book, I experience the story again. It may sound strange, but I feel happy while editing. The story is familiar, and I know entirely what is happening within the words. I can fully picture what the character is doing and feeling. There is a comfort level to the editing process. Similar to putting on shoes that you have had for a long time. They fit, they work, they get you to where you are going, and I know for an absolute fact that they will protect my feet.
There was an unexpected end to this warm feeling. I had to let the book fly out of the nest at some point. The edits had to stop, and I braced myself for the reaction. Will they like it? Will they hate it? In my case, I have had mostly positive feedback with my book, Interviewing Immortality. (Hey, quick author’s tip. Mention your book a lot. Repetition leads to sales.) The real issue is getting others interested and then having them tell their friends.
Well, there you have it. I like to re-read my work, and that’s probably the strangest answer for why a person wants to write. It makes me wonder if other writers get joy out of self-editing. I read an interview in high school about an author who loved their characters. I thought this was weird at the time, but I recently thought a lot about this statement, and it now makes more sense. I have an attachment to the characters I create, but I would not use the word, “love.” A better word is “relate.”
This is a strange way to end my first blog entry. With some luck, there will be many more blogs to follow. One last thing. BUY MY BOOK. Seriously, not having full-time work is killing me. I need the money! Spending $2.99 will really help. Putting a review online will help me out even more.

You’re the best -Bill
September 10, 2017, Updated February 22, 2023


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