Tuesday, March 7, 2023

I is for Interest

 There's an adage in writing to write what you know, and so many writers are guided by their interests. In non-fiction, this is unsurprising, and it's fair to say that most of us who write in this genre truly do immerse ourselves in topics we find interesting.

This carries over into fiction, too. Most of us find bits of ourselves scattered among our characters, whether we do so intentionally or not. In addition, we may populate our stories with characters who are familiar to us -- friends, family, colleagues, and even people we don't like very much. The fun is in mixing and matching character traits to create new, well-rounded protagonists and antagonists.

And then there's the business aspect of writing.

To take our writing to the level of publication, someone else has to be interested -- in the topic, in the characters, in the work. On one level, it's easy to understand that this is a business decision, albeit one influenced by personal tastes. Still, these projects that have arisen from our interests and, arguably ourselves, are personal. When the interest isn't there, it's disappointing, to say the least. And, when the interest is consistently not there, it's crushing. 

Which can sap a writer's interest in continuing to play the game.

The writing itself can be hard sometimes, but at least we have some element of control over it. We can rewrite, revise, change the slant, and shore up our stories' sagging middles to make our work more interesting.

But we can't make someone else like our work. And that's hard.

Writing is, itself, an interest and most writers who are in it for the long haul can't imagine abandoning our projects and our characters, despite days when that exact thought crosses our minds. Typically, something draws us back in -- a good night's sleep, a new idea, a reminder of how good it feels when the writing is going well.  

Or, perhaps, the dream of attracting interest from a reader with the power to launch our writing out into the world. 

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