During all the clean-up I referred to in my last post, I thought about a very big milestone in my life. Quite recently, I turned 20,000 days old. Yes, that's right - the big 20K. Odd thing, though. I didn't receive any cards, any congratulations, no flowers were sent to me and no big announcement in the local paper. It takes a little over 27 years to accumulate 10,000 days of existence, and I just did it twice - why was there no celebration?
So, what is the importance of all this? Well, simply put, when we decide to write something, our biggest motivation is that it is a subject or topic that is important to us. Whether it is important to the rest of the world is not our immediate concern. First and foremost, we need to care about it enough to throw ourselves into the project with all of the passion it deserves. It needs to be something we want to write about and something where we feel a need to take the subject matter and create a piece of writing from that idea.
Some people will naturally come up with the response, "Why write about it if nobody else cares about it?" Worrying about our audience response is an interesting exercise, but it's detrimental to our process. Just like the 20K celebration, there is the presumption that nobody cares about it because nobody talks about it. However, as I demonstrated, sometimes when something is brought to a person's attention, they see it for the interesting subject matter that it is. Yes, they could've lived a fine life never knowing about it, but learning that bit of trivia actually enriches them for a little bit. We can never know if this is going to happen with a piece we write, but it definitely won't happen if we never create that piece in the first place.
My current work in search of publication is about the legacy of an unsolved crime in a small, Midwestern town. Do people want to read about this? Maybe, maybe not. What I do know is that I wanted to write it, so I went off and made a 98,000-word novel out of it. I also know that I would've done myself a grave injustice if I didn't write it because I wasn't sure about audience response. I wanted to do it, so I did. If there is anything to be learned from today's post, let it be that fact.
And on a closing note, a shameless bit of self-promotion. I have two short stories that were just published in an anthology entitled, "Travel and Adventure," and the book is available on Amazon for $8.99 + shipping/handling. I also designed the cover art, but that's neither here nor there. I hope you get a chance to read and enjoy my works, plus the writings of a dozen other local authors.