Why write?

A few years ago, before I ever published a book, I confided to a friend that I had received a disappointing rejection. (That may be a redundancy: what rejection isn’t disappointing?)

“Isn’t it enough that you wrote a book? Does it matter if no one reads it?” She clearly felt that was an accomplishment in and of itself, and that I should not push the envelope any further.

I should point out that this woman was an artist. We were in her studio, where her paintings, some complete and some half-finished, hung on the walls or were displayed on easels.

“Do you plan to leave your paintings here and never sell them to anyone?” I asked.

“Of course not! They are meant to be seen.”

“And books are meant to be read,” I said.

This was some years ago. I don’t know what happened to her. She was one of those people who are in your life for awhile and then drift on. But I still remember the conversation.

Books are meant to be read.

Lately I have been a little discouraged. I have achieved that enviable state of being a published author, but to date I am not read by very many people. There are too many books out there, all clamoring for the public’s attention. I haven’t thousands of dollars to invest in promotion and, probably naively, have depended on the promotional opportunities I could afford and word of mouth.

Which leads to me to confess I haven’t written a word in weeks. Some part of me wonders if it is worth the time and energy to produce yet another book that only a few people will read.

Or maybe I should keep writing, if only for my own satisfaction. Maybe, as my friend suggested, it is enough to have written it in the first place.

Maybe I shouldn’t worry so much about it being published, although that would be nice.

And if others read and like my stories, that’s a bonus.










4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. CristineGzr
    Jul 19, 2015 @ 10:12:09

    Sandy, since I’ve only been published as a poet to date, I can appreciate how you feel. Every single journal and small press I’ve been published and the many more who rejected me are not even in business anymore! I got three fan letters from people admiring poems of mine. Back in the pre-Internet days when a hand-written letter was so common, I still marvel at those three people! They inspired me to tell you a story that has encouraged me to never stop writing, regardless of how many read my poems or hopefully someday read my books:

    Back in the stone age of the early 80’s, when I was a newlywed, my husband was diagnosed with a terminal brain cancer. When my friends were having babies and complaining about how overwhelmed they were with motherhood, I sat in waiting rooms and held my breath. I felt like I was sitting on thin ice listening for the cracks to start. I stopped thinking about the future, there would be no old age, we would not be grandparents and worse -I was convinced he only fell in love with me because he had a brain tumor -so, this one shot at love was my last. Yes, I was the queen or melodrama, but when you are alone with no salvation, it’s an escape.

    One day I sat in the radiation waiting room for his treatment to finish. I was reading a Dorothy Sayers book, Gaudy Nights, and I became completely lost in the words. From the corner of my eye, I became aware of the other person in the room. He was a patient, I knew this when I entered the room. He was young like my husband and gaunt, his skin was like tissue paper over his bones. He was trying to get my attention. I ignored him, I gripped the book tighter and held my breath -I could hear the ice cracking.

    Finally, my inner voice chided me and I gathered my strength and looked up. I smiled or tried to smile. He smiled back and held up his book for me to see. It was Gaudy Nights. I was stunned, we were reading the same book! Of all the millions of books written, we two doomed souls were reading the same one!

    “I couldn’t get through this without Dorothy Sayers.” He said.
    “Yeah.” I replied.

    We went back to our books, never saw him again. Time moved on. But, I never forgot what he said. I promised myself to never stop writing. If I could do that for just one human being on this planet I would be happy.

    Sandy, you may never know how powerful your books became in someone’s life! I’ve read your books and enjoyed them immensely. Toss away those fears and get back to the keyboard, someone desperately needs your words!


  2. lorrainequinn4
    Jul 20, 2015 @ 11:25:09

    Sandy- As I struggle to finish the first book for the third time, I ask myself the same question. I write because I love to write. But, I am also a lover of books. I can’t tell you the number of new authors I’ve come across and fell in love with the book. I immediately search out other works and buy them. So, the more books you have published the better chance you have of someone discovering you and making you their new favorite “must read” author. Keep writing!


  3. Sandy Bruney
    Jul 20, 2015 @ 12:06:53

    Thank you for the encouraging words. The truth is, I can’t stop writing. It keeps pulling me back as there is always one more story to tell.


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