The desire of a writer’s heart

Is fame and fortune what a writer’s heart desires? I say no. The writer’s ego might desire fame. The mind, the lifestyle, the budget may clamor for money. But I say the heart of a writer will only be satisfied by readers.

Some writers may be fulfilled with only one reader. Some may need millions. Millions of readers is only a dream for me, but I need more than the few I’ve had. That’s not to diminish those who’ve read my work so far. They were a delicious appetizer, the amuse bouche, and they gave me a taste for more.

Unless my novel is read, it’s only a collection of words, ink on paper. It has no meaning. It has no life. When I announced that I’d completed writing Brevity, several people congratulated me. I felt odd accepting that. True, many people talk about writing a novel, though few actually do, but I didn’t write this book for myself—not just for myself. It wasn’t really completed when I wrote the last word.

A book is something best shared, I think. How often have you finished a book and immediately wanted to talk about it with someone? Whether you liked it or hated it. So, yes, I finished my book, and now I need someone to read it. I need to talk about it with someone. Many someones.

My heart desires it.


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32 thoughts on “The desire of a writer’s heart

  1. Years ago I became a pen pal with some school kids in Mississippi.

    One wrote and said, “I can’t believe a famous writer would write us little children in Mississippi and care about what we had to say.”

    I had just signed with my Lit agent, and called him. “We’ve gotta straighten this out,” I said. “I’m not a famous writer.”

    He replied, “You are now.” He went on to say any time you touch people with your words; people who live far away and who you’ve never met, then by defintion you have become a famous writer.

    I was hooked. (I’m still not famous, but that doesn’t matter and never will.)

    For me, being a writer is all about human communication.

    Dr. B, author, “The Mandolin Case”

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  2. Writing in many ways is like nursing. You must have a passion for it. In either case is it becomes about money then you need to go do something else.

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  3. I certainly understand you’re feelings on that one, Linda. Of course we want to share our words with others. I’ve honestly never understood it when people claimed to be happy to have written it JUST for themselves. To me that seems a gigantic waste. An artist friend of mine will not share her painting with others. I tell her that’s being a bit selfish on her part. If we are given these gifts should we not share them with the rest of the world?

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    1. You ask, “If we are given these gifts should we not share them with the rest of the world?”

      Not necessarily.

      True gifts do not come with strings attached. 🙂

      Some artists enjoy the journey of writing or painting for the journey’s sake and don’t wish to share their work or words with others.

      That’s who they are. They are being true to themselves . . . as we all should be. Life is not one-size-fits-all.

      “It is not selfish to do what we want to do . . . it is selfish of others to expect us to do what THEY want us to do.”

      So, if we want to “share,” we should share.

      And, if we don’t want to “share,” no one should pressure us into accepting THEIR view of the world.

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    2. I think I can identify with your friend not wanting to share her paintings. I do share my art with others, but I have a very hard time selling my work, unless it’s a commissioned piece. For me, it’s like the difference between writing a diary (a private expression) and writing a novel (something most authors want to publish). Sometimes what an artist expresses is too personal to part with or share.

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  4. I am always delighted when others want to read what I have written, and seem to enjoy it. I would love for it to pay somehow and be known for writing well. But at bottom, writing is a compulsion for self-expression from the depths of me. So I write for the sake of my own mental health!

    Hildegard of Bingen wrote 10 books in the 1100’s (on mysticism, art, music, natural health, poetry, theology and more), hidden somewhere for centuries and rediscovered in the 1800’s, and now online and translated into many languages! So even if no one reads me now, there is still hope. She’s my model.

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  5. I agree with you wholeheartedly on this, Linda. I write because my heart is filled with a message I want to share. Writing helps me analyse and cope with life, but I’ll be disappointed in the end of all my work, if no one reads it. This is the risk we face as we write with that innate desire driving the keystrokes, pushing the revisions, and energizing the work that makes the message presentable. Never give up. I’ve come close, but I’m still working at it. Blessings…

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  6. I agree with Laura, I’ve never understood the idea of writing fiction for oneself. Journals fall into that category …

    Your point about the desire to talk about a book that intrigued, entertained, challenged me makes me think about the communication idea others expressed in the comments — it’s not just the communication between author and readers, but among readers.

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    1. Isn’t it exciting to think of readers discussing our books, Cathryn? Of course, it’s a bit scary too. Once you release your work into the world, it’s no longer exclusively yours. It’s subject to love and praise as well as misunderstanding and scorn.

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  7. I expect that you are not alone, Linda. Most writers want readers . . . and lots of them.

    I’ve written a couple novels. I’m not inclined to seek out an audience to read them.

    I expect it’s because I value my anonymity more than applause, and my autonomy more than accolades.

    Fame comes at a price.

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    1. Fame comes in many degrees, Nancy. I neither need nor want “household name” type fame, not that I think I have a chance at that anyway. But I think I could sell a few books. I will be “famous” in a very small circle. That’s fine with me, and I don’t think it will come at much cost.

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    2. I agree. My only point is that YOU should be guided by YOUR desires, not by the expectations of others.

      If you want to share your words, you should.

      For me, I enjoyed writing the novels. That’s enough.

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      1. I think we should all have a choice, Nancy. If your personal goal was only to write a novel, or two, then you accomplished your objective. You proved something to yourself, satisfied a need. The writing was complete in itself. I’ve carried stories in my head all my life, but this story was different. I wanted to tell it to others.

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  8. Linda, I love this post. Once again, you’ve described my journey. My heart truly does desire readers. And I want to be able to communicate with them effectively. I can feel that my writing isn’t quite what I want it to be. And it leaves my heart yearning all the more. I WILL get there. But my goodness, I’m impatient.

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    1. Thank you, V.V. And I’m impatient too. I’ll be rereading my novel after the holidays. It’s been so long, I’ll be reading with much fresher eyes, and I’m afraid I’ll find it’s not as good as I thought. 😕

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  9. My answer, which is my answer to most questions, is ‘it depends.’ Journal-y kinds of things I rarely/never want to share.

    Yes, I do want to share much of my writing. I’m not sure yet how large a pond I need/want to swim in, though.

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  10. Linda, I heartily agree. I have always wanted to share my writing and seen it as something that might one day have an audience. Maybe that is why I never took to journal-writing–because I knew it was personal, the most personal perhaps, and by its very nature, wouldn’t (most likely) have an audience one day.

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