Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Got an idea for something to write? Write it!

The other day, I was reading a newsletter for writers and came across an article written by a respected children’s book author. This is an author I have admired for some time and one whose opinions I have always respected. But this one thing she talked about in her article was something I totally disagreed with.

This one thing was her belief that if something we want to write cannot be sold or even be written in a way that makes it publishable, then we should not write it.

Personal experience has made me feel otherwise.

I am always saddened by writers who choose to pass on spending time with family and friends because they MIGHT miss out on a job opportunity waiting for them in their inbox, but sadder still is the writer who decides that he or she is not going to write something just because they don’t have a market for it or they feel no one will want it. Or because there is no editor requesting it.

It just seems to me that these kinds of writers let a dollar sign determine whether or not they will write something, rather than seeing it as an opportunity to “play around” creatively or to strengthen their skills.

Especially to strengthen their skills.

The way I see it, any new thing that we decide to write is a chance for us to exercise our writing muscles. It allows us the opportunity to hone our ability to analyze and structure something we write, and perfect our voice. And the bonus is that we are given an opportunity to do all of this without a risk of failure. Without somebody sending it back to us with a rewrite request. And especially without the risk of some editor saying, “You know what? I don’t think I’ll buy this after all.”

This is an OPPORTUNITY. This is a chance to enhance our skill as a writer and capture any weak spots we might have.

On the other hand, just because we cannot sell something we write RIGHT NOW, it does not mean that we can’t sell it later. I have had several instances where a short story, poem or article I wrote years ago ended up finding a home, even in a paying market, at a future time. I wrote The Yellow Rose when my daughter was 5; it became a book when she was 9. A book that brought in some extra money. In fact, I recently sold an article that I wrote 7 months ago! I couldn’t sell it then, but I did sell it later. So even if we have an idea for something to write, and it may not be something we can sell now, I firmly believe it is worth the effort to write it anyway. Chances are you will sell it later. Chances are you will be able to perfect that piece later. Just write it down to get there.

Another benefit to writing something we have an idea for even if there is no market for it right now: We are allowing ourselves to revisit the joy of creating. We, writers, are creatives at heart. We create stories, articles, poems, essays, songs, scripts, books and even business letters. We are creating something and we can take joy in creating it. We can indulge in that creative spark and allow it to take us away, just for a little while, to someplace different, new, and even exciting.

And if that is not reason enough to write something even if you cannot sell it, here is one other benefit: By writing something you have an idea for, you are welcoming more creative ideas. The more you write, the more ideas you will have for other things to write. In a sense, you are “making room” for more ideas to follow. And what writer wouldn’t want something like that to look forward to?

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