Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Is Writing For Self-satisfaction Enough?

Publication! That's our goal as writers. You and I know that having a goal and achieving it can be miles apart. We must work diligently, a step at a time, toward that twinkling star in the sky.

Meanwhile, consider this. Your audience doesn't have to number in the thousands, or even hundreds. You can write for one or two and still be a writer. That one might be you and you alone.

There are writers who don't give a twit about being published. They write for family. Perhaps a grandmother, who is also a gifted storyteller, writes childrens' books for no one other than her own grandchildren. Wonderful! What a longstanding and personal connection there will always be between her and the grandchildren. Others write family stories meant to be read by the people they claim as relatives. For them and no one else. That's not only fine, but commendable.

We also have writers in this great big world of ours who write simply for an audience of one. Themself! They write for self-satisfaction. There is something within that urges some people to write. It's no different for the writers who don't strive for publication. They have achieved something whether published and read by thousands or read by one. If it's the actual writing that brings satisfaction and joy, I applaud those writers. The rest of us look for those two qualities but want more than that.

Look at this sweet little boy playing for the little black and white cat. There's some satisfaction on both sides. It reminds me of a program that we have at our library and many other libraries. It's Read To A Dog every Sunday afternoon in our library's children's department. I believe the dog involved is a service dog. A child sits down with a book next to the dog and reads to that small audience. It's the perfect plan for children who are poor readers, who are self conscious when reading aloud, who fear failure. They know the dog is not there to judge them as another human might (teacher, parent, schoolmate). The fear a poor reader has melts away with his/her audience of one four-legged, furry, non-judgemental dog. And before you ask--yes, children who are good readers enjoy reading to a dog, too.

Some writers also harbor fears of showing their work to others. Maybe there should be a Write For A Dog program developed. We know that submitting our writing for publication may be a goal but it might also be a goal fraught with fright. What if the editor hates it? What if it gets published and the readers give nasty, horrible reviews? What if no one ever purchases my book? Writers who write only for family or only for self-satisfaction never have to deal with these difficulties.

Is it wrong to write only for yourself? Not at all. Is it wrong to want to be published and widely read? Again--not at all. Writers are like other humans. Each one is unique. Each has different goals. Each takes different steps to accomplish the goals. If you are in a writing group of any kind, you know that every individual in the group has different goals, works toward them in different amounts of time and kinds of work, You do not have to use the same methods or achieve in the same amount of time as the others. Do what you are capable of. Do what you want to the way you want to. Do move at a pace that is comfortable for you. Do what satisfies you. If that happens to be writing for an audience of no one but yourself, go for it.

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