“Who Would Ever Read What I’ve Written?” (or One of the Worst Questions an Author Could Ask)

“Writing in a diary is a really strange experience for someone like me. Not only because I’ve never written anything before, but also because it seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl.” – Anne Frank

Admittedly, I don’t know many writers. But I do know many people who want to write. Especially after I tell them that I’m working on self-publishing some books I’ve written, they tell me that it’s something that they’ve always wanted to do as well.

The problem is that they usually follow it up with another statement. Well, actually, a question. “I’ve always wanted to write a book,” they say, “but who would ever read what I’ve written?”

To me, this is one of the worst questions an author could ask.

First off, it’s debilitating. After all, why would anyone want to start writing something they thought no one was going to read? From the start, it would seem as though the countless hours of writing and editing would amount to nothing more than just hard (and meaningless) work. That’s hardly the motivation needed to get anything done.

It’s also a question an author could never hope to answer.

Society has so many different opinions and expectations. There are topics which have been done over and over and over…and yet still keep going. There are others that haven’t been broached and are waiting to explode. To complicate matters, there have been great ideas that have sat unnoticed for years.

So, in the end, why bother asking who would ever read it?

The reality is that our words affect others in ways we can’t predict. And this is the main idea I have in my head when I sit down to write.

I won’t lie, there are many times when I question what I am doing. I’m sometimes embarrassed by the genres that I have fallen in love with – Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. There so many dark themes and bizarre situations to contend with. But, in the end, that doesn’t stop me from letting the words come out. And, most of the time, I’m more than happy with the results.

I guess all I’m trying to do here is encourage you to write without any serious doubts or expectations. The most important thing is to get your stories out.

Let others decide if the writing speaks to them. That way, the only pressure on the author will be to sit down and write. And, more often than not, that’s no pressure at all.

Of course, that isn’t to say not to edit your work. I think a polished, cohesive story is important. Just don’t give into all of the extra added stress. And don’t constantly second guess yourself to the point where you change your words a hundred times and, more than likely, your original meaning.

Simply have faith in what you do, and patience to see it through.

That’s all any of us can do.

Good luck and happy writing!

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