Why Writers Write
I've had the privilege of connecting with a few established writers in Melbourne while working on my debut novel (honestly, I've never worked on something as exciting as this one). I've been seeking out mentors along the journey through Writers Victoria and have been grateful to connect with a few prominent local writers, all of whom are female. The writers' world in Melbourne is indeed an enchanting and somewhat mysterious one.
Out of four of the female writers I connected with (and I will connect with a fifth one soon), two of them were not native English speakers. In fact, for one of them, English was even her third language. She was a Russian-born Israeli Australian writer, and she writes about sexuality boldly. Her memoir was fascinating. Their writing has really inspired me to make me believe that I can, of course, write a novel in English, despite English is not my first language.
Also, there is the hard to swallow truth that is known to many writers - that is, not many writers can actually make a living purely by writing. It is indeed not that easy. First of all, you ought to write a good book. Secondly, there needs to be a well-known publisher that is willing to publish your book, so it is available in many places (unless you have a massive following on social media). Thirdly, the audiences who buy your book have to like it.
"Only perhaps a handful of them in Australia can make a good living purely by writing. I only know two, or three of them," One of my mentors said, "the lucky ones, the blessed ones." I believe her. There is indeed some luck, some faith in play when it comes to "make it big one day."
And writing is not that easy, particularly for a novelist. Some novelists may spend years to write over a hundred thousand words and only ever sell a few copies in their life.
"Writing is a dog's life,
but the only life worth living."
- Gustave Flaubert
Gustave Flaubert, the author of Madame Bovary, died penniless.
Just like not many musicians can make a living by playing music, not many actors can make a living by acting, not many artists can make a living by creating art alone. Vincent Van Gogh too, died pennilessly.
However, there are always exceptions in the Universe. And when you become one of those exceptions, you can manifest abundant wealth.
I bet J.K.Rowling probably never imagined that she could be richer than the Queen one day when she started out writing Harry Potter (A few hundred million net worth by selling Harry Potter alone, a book that nearly did not get published!!) Even Elizabeth Gilbert had doubts about if she could ever make a living one day by being a novelist. She was always doing odd jobs to support her writer's dream, such as waitressing, bartending, even after she had published three novels, one by a notable publishing house.
Let's just say one thing is clear. Many writers know that they perhaps may never make a living out of writing alone, even those who had made it didn't think so in the first place, but they still keep on writing anyway. Why?
Because writing is not really about money.
Writers write because the satisfaction comes from writing alone.
Writers write because it is not really a choice for many of us;
Writers write because it is our souls' calling - when Divine sends messages to us, when poetry comes to us, when novels speaking to us, when the characters haunt us in the middle of the night; And unless and until we follow the Divine guidance to fulfill our soul's work, we feel that we are not really living.
Writers write because writing is therapeutic and we have so much fun creating our own world, immersing ourselves in the process.
That's why writers write.
“If you do not breathe through writing,
if you do not cry out in writing,
or sing in writing, then don't write,
because our culture has no use for it.”
― Anaïs Nin
Also being a writer is not really a job. Being a writer is a lifestyle. The lifestyle you choose to fulfill your soul's work, your dream, a world you create out of the mundane existence.
If you know you have an inner writer within you, then I urge you to also pick up a pen (or your laptop) and write away. Do your soul's work tirelessly, without attaching to the results, the outcomes of your actions, as attachment and expectation are the root cause of suffering, and we want to enjoy the process without suffering too much. Some degree of suffering is good for creativity, but too much suffering may overwhelm the creators for them to create anything productive.
Everything in moderation (even moderation).
To all aspiring writers, don't ever lose hope, but also don't expect too much. Keep the balance and enjoy the ride :)
My second poetry book
This Eternal Romance
is now available for pre-order here.
Worldwide release on Amazon
on 30th March, 2018.
First poetry book Songs from the Soul
is also available here.