Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Justify THIS!!

A post by another writer has stirred some thought in me. She was asking why we slave away at something that’s sometimes derided by others and often doesn’t provide a living wage. She expressed a lot of turmoil about continuing to write when it uses so much of our time, effort and resources. In essence, her true question was - why bother?

This question plagued me for a long time and I couldn’t put my finger on why until today. The answer hit me as I was slaving away at my 9 to 5.

We bother because we WANT to.

Why do we have to justify something that brings us so much joy and comraderie? Especially when it causes no harm. No one questions men about why they spend so much time on their hobbies. My husband just bought $300 worth of new golf clubs. No one asked him to justify why he enjoys hitting tiny balls across the equivalent of a massive backyard. (O-kay, maybe I have asked why he has to spend quite so much a time or two…)

I also find it amusing that the same people who put down others are usually boring couch potatoes. Maybe it’s jealousy that they don’t have the guts to go after what they want or maybe it’s just plain meanness, but these are NOT people qualified to judge anyone else.

If you’re struggling to make any dream come true, whether you want to write, paint or sing on freaking Broadway – GO FOR IT. The world is so much better to live in when we’re doing the things we love. And anyone who doesn’t get that needs to go back to their couch and continue watching all the bad reality TV that’s on.

MINX (blowing a raspberry at life in general)


Eden Rivers said...


Yes, yes, and again, yes!!! It makes me uneasy when I hear people agonizing over how to "justify" writing sex scenes in romances to their conservative relatives.

We're grown ups, we make our own choices; they're sound choices, and if people don't like it, you can talk till you're blue in the face trying to "justify" things, and they're still going to hold their original opinions.

Bottom line, we love what we do (heck, I know I do!), and we should no more feel compelled to justify our choices than a man who chooses to be a low paid artist (maybe even painting nudes, lol) rather than pursuring a life as a lawyer or doctor.

Heck, no one ever asks my husband to "justify" why he chose to work as a low-paid college professor rather than going on to use his engineering degree. He HATED engineering, so he's doing what he was meant to do. I made the same decisions with my law degree -- HATED law, and chose to follow my creative nature.

I took a long time to tell my in-laws I write erotic romance, because I wasn't interested in hearing negative opinions. But having let the cat out of the bag, it wouldn't even occur to me to try to "justify" what I do.

My choices -- as with those of any other adult in the world -- my business.


Michelle said...

Hi Minx,

I decided to come out of lurkdom to comment on this. First, I will give the person in question the benefit of the doubt. I think we all go through those days where we wonder "why am I doing this?" I feel that way sometimes when I go to work; I often feel that way when I sit down to type a story or do a rewrite; I feel that way even more when I get rejection letters for things I've slaved for.

Now that I've said that: it's not the feeling that surprises me; as I said, most people go through that. What is important is what we do next.

Usually, after I go through these periods, I take a break and give myself some slack. I go and relax and then return to writing. Why? Because like you said, I love doing it. I couldn't stop if I tried.

I think if you asked this same author again in a few days, she/he might have a different opinion. I hope that individual has a good support system to help him/her get back on track with writing.

Yes, I think it's very sad that writing, especially fiction, is maligned by the public--especially since it is that same public who supports fiction. Writers are not the ones buying up copies of books off the shelves. It's critics and readers and others who want to write. So I think it's sad that people don't give the craft the respect it's due, even if the genre in particular isn't one's own taste.

I have luckily never had to justify my writing, but I'm sure there are more than a few people who would wonder why I write how I do or what I do. In the end, we have to make peace with ourselves and do what we enjoy in this business. You can't please everyone.

Minx Malone said...

Oh I definitely wasn't blaming the writer in question. We all have those feelings.

I'm blaming the society we live in that makes women feel guilty for pursuing their passions but encourages men to do so.

Some of the people who make these negative comments might not even realize how hypocritical they're being. I just like to point it out to them :)


KyAnn said...

Amen Sista!

I like it! I love it! I don't care if I make a dime doing it! There are a lot of things in life we do for the simple pleasure of it. I don't get paid for cleaning the house, but once it's done I reward myself with a cup of coffee, my current hot hero and stubborn heroine and writing. For years I wrote and never considered publishing. Friends and family convinced me to see what would happen if I submitted. However, if I was still writng just for me, I would feel the same way I do right now- grateful I have an outlet for stress. I hope it never happens, but if someday writing loses its appeal, I'll discover another love. But for now the romance between me and writing is growing stronger.

(who has a new traditional romance novel coming out on Friday from The Wild Rose Press written under the name Lisa Dawn MacDonald. Wild Fires.)

Michelle said...

Hey Minx,

I know you weren't blaming the author. I agree it's unfair that writers (esp of fiction) have to justify their work. I don't think writers of "literary" fiction go through this to the same degree. There are still plenty of people who don't even want people to know that they read romance. I think that's part of why online book sales have gone up.

Meagan Hatfield said...

Amen, lady!!

I think all writer's go through that phase once in awhile. But I couldn't NOT write, even it was just for me and not publication like I did before. There are not many Stephanie Meyers/JK Rowlings/Nora's in this industry and I would hope someone would know that going in. But if they have become disenchanted and depressed, they shouldn't spread the funk to others.

Hopefully, she'll wake up one of these mornings with characters jabbering in her head and she'll remember (with a smile, I hope) why she starting writing in the first place.

Emma Petersen said...

In essence, her true question was - why bother?

My response is three simple words. I have to. Seriously, it's an addiction. When I don't write, I go through withdrawals. My mood sours and I'm generally unhappy. I could get a dozen rejections and all I'd do is write another book and send it to the same publisher. This is what I do. Who I am and the day I stop writing will be the same day I stop breathing.

Do I sometimes want to give up? Hells yeah. Have I sworn never to write again? Hells yeah? Do I slink back to my computer, open a vein and pray I have a couple of drops left? Hells fricken yeah! Why? Simply, I'm writing's bitch. She'll kick me. Slap me. Reject me. Break my heart but I'll come back to her every time and beg for more. LMAO. Whoever said writers were masochists hit it dead on!

Meagan Hatfield said...

OMG, Emma!! I LOVE your reply! Classic. ;-)