Today I’m pleased to welcome Ani Manjikian to Off the Page asking some tough questions about why authors write.
I was born with a condition called hydrocephalus, or water on the brain. It is supposed to leave its victims either retarded or dead if not corrected by medication or shunts. I was not supposed to walk or talk, but instead end up as a vegetable in an institution. Well, my condition corrected itself within nine months and only left me with a few manageable problems. If you and I were to meet on the street, there would be no way you could tell.
Now if I only could find the doctors who diagnosed me, I would love to show them my college degree, computer, car, and the all around person that I’ve become.
I have strong design, development, and writing skills and an innate sense for composition and functionality. I combine the technical knowledge and analytical mind of a programmer, the creative and detailed orientation of a writer / editor, and the aesthetic instincts of a designer / photographer in any project that I undertake.
There are two very important things that I want to do with my life. I want to own my own large multimedia company. I also want to become a published writer and make a movie or two out of the books. To that end, I’m working on, and have been, for several years, a novel series called Stars of Heros.
Why Do You Write?
By Ani H. Manjikian
The next time you sit down with your tablet, computer, pen & paper, typewriter, or whatever medium you use to compose your ideas, ask yourself one simple question. Why do you write?
If it’s for the money and fame, then forget about it. Go find yourself another job because that’s all writing is to you. A job. A task that your persevere through because you think you’ll one day wake up a millionaire. Yes, there are millionaires out there who are writers. They didn’t become so overnight. Granted, a few lucky ones did but they had some amazing talent or story to tell that hooked people almost immediately. Most, though, busted their butts, sweated through rejections and negative feedback on Amazon, built up a fan base around their idea, and many other things that writers do to make their voice heard in this world full of noise.
Are you doing it to prove someone wrong? Then good for you for as long as that need for vengeance or revenge lasts. What will happen, though, when your fuel runs out? Will you concede defeat and instead of proving the person wrong, prove the person right?
Do you need to yell at the world? That’s okay to a certain extent because sometimes yelling through writing is the only way to lay your problems out in the open for you to solve. But once you solve those problems, can you find value in your writing? Does it make sense to go public with what you’ve written, exposing your dirty little secrets for all the world to see? Or is it better to just stash your manuscript in the drawer somewhere and leave it as a private conversation between you and yourself?
Are you seeking validation? Do you feel the only way you will be considered a person worthy of something is if people know you as a writer? Do you think “I’m no good” when mistakes are pointed out and do nothing to change them? Is it easier to walk away leaving yourself and your dreams in the dust because you feel less worthy than when you started?
Are you writing because you have a story that needs to be told? Do you have characters that you want to bring to life? Do you feel the same passion that you felt on day one, even when years, even decades, have passed? Are you one of those who doesn’t care how much money you make, just as long as you feel the satisfaction of making your dream come true once you hold your book in your hand?
Lots of hard questions, I know. And the answers aren’t easy either, I know that too. I’ve been through all the stages and all the questions listed here. Yet to keep true to myself and my craft, I keep asking them because they keep me focused and on task. They keep me going when all I want to do is give up. They remind me that I am a writer with a story to tell and a soul to expose, if only so I can touch people and change their lives through my words.
Without soul, music is nothing. Same thing with writing. To stand out amongst the crowd of formula books, hot trends and copycats, people must hear and feel your words. But they can only do that, if you hear and feel them first.
So can you answer any of these questions? Why do you write?