Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Time To Read

I've been down sick for a week now. I won't bore you with details--they aren't particularly pleasant--but once I quit sleeping most of the day I realized I had time to read. I've been slogging through Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Now don't misunderstand. It's a good book, a very good book. But it's long. Over 800 pages long. And the chapters are long. So when you pick it up, you've committed yourself to a bit of time. It's a book that's hard to put down once you start, but hard to pick up in the first place.

The book is a best-seller so I don't think the length was a huge turnoff. However, how many people who bought it have read it? Would it matter to you? I mean, she's got the money. So what if no one really got past the first hundred pages? Some authors would be okay with that.

While, yes, I do want to be able to make a buck from my writing, I also want my words to mean something to others. Maybe over-reaching in the long run, but what can I say? I'm a dreamer.

So what motivates you to keep going? Is it the bucks? You can be honest here. No judging. Or do you want to make an impression with your words? Or both?

4 comments:

The One and Only John said...

I think you've hit on the whole point of why people write in the first place. Yes, it would be nice to earn millions of dollars for just sitting down and typing, but that's as glib a goal as becoming a day trader and hoping to strike it rich. Right now, I'm on page 347 out of 1006 in my mass market paperback version, and I'm dragggggggggging. I feel like I've already read one book and it's time to pick another up.

Jenny said...

I was thinking about something similar recently. I just read *Change of Heart* by Jodi Picoult and it's the newest book she's put out: 2008. However, the book I'm reading now was written in the 1500s. So, I guess I'm thinking that if they buy my book they'll be more likely to read it...partly because it's there. Eventually they'll get around to it and if it takes 500 or so years, well, at least I made a buck off of it now. I know, sounds cold. But words last a while. It's not like movie making where there's all kinds of instant gratification.

Courtney Suzanne said...

I have been reading A New Earth and watching the Oprah podcasts, which are actually really good. This week in the podcast, Oprah and Ekhardt Tolle were talking to a guy about finding your "purpose", and they said something that resonated with me: the people who are successful at what they do (rock stars, for example) do it because they HAVE to; it's a part of them. I think that's true about writing, too, that you just can't imagine NOT doing it. When you are in "alignment" with your "authentic self", they argue, you can't go wrong. I have to agree with that, to an extent.

Mishell said...

Money vs. artistic integrety. Tough one. I know that I want to make lots of money with my writing, but then again, wouldn't it be totally cool if they forced high school kids and college freshmen to read my work.

I guess what it comes down to is that I want my work to be accepted, and a paycheck is the surest indication of acceptance. Anything on top of that (Pulitzer, Nobel Peace Prize, inclusion in Norton's Anthology) is all gravy. But still, wouldn't it be cool...