Fear, focus, and the future. Here, C.M. Humphries writes about whatever.
What are your expectations as writer?
This is a pretty common question for me, but I think the question itself presumes the person asking the question knows what it means to be a writer.
Writers are often thought of as these lazy individuals too stubborn to procure a "real" job, which insists writing isn't work in the first place. No one wins the title of "author" or "writer" by scribbling down a few thousand words to be found by an agent, editor, publisher, etc. It takes hard work, years of rejection, and discipline.
Even the notion of over-night bestsellers is misguided. It takes most of those writers a decade or more to place their bestselling manuscript in someone else's hands. Writers never stop writing. They never stop reading. They go on tours, which sometimes includes reading to an empty room or waiting for someone to show up a bookstore and for a signed copy of a book.
There isn't some magic hat writers place their name into and are pulled from. There aren't quiz shows or lottery tickets in which luck can grant us literary salvation. There are no shortcuts.
It's about tuning out the world while you write, ignoring the lack of food in the refrigerator, escaping the unpaid bills, the screaming children and animals. It requires the ability to flesh out ideas even when everyone around thinks of you as a bum or doesn't believe in you, when there seems to be no one you can relate to, or when you're expected to accept shift-work as the only way through life.
That's only part of what makes up writing, but what can one expect from it? It sounds like a complicated interview question, as in "why do you like this line or work?" The question could easily be "Why do you like anything?" or "Why do you love what you love?"
While I can't speak for all writers, I think a lot of writing is about standing out. It's about knowing you can make a difference, or at least you can share a story. Some people are good at moving product or leading business, whereas writers are good at writing. Sure, anyone can write, but can everyone write a story worth reading and then rewrite it over and over just to have someone else ask for a full manuscript rewrite within a matter of days?
Standing out as a writer means being able to find success in the form of art and work you hold dearly. To be a successful writer, you must also be good at networking and be business savvy. It's an entrepreneurial position: You employ yourself not only as an artist, but to be a business person who can move their own product.
Personally, I want to evolve as a writer and become one of those "best-sellers" for two reasons: a) To find a comfortable means of living, which includes loving what I do and managing responsibilities; b) If there ever was some sort of financial surplus through writing, I would give much of it back.
If the point of writing is to share your ideas and stories, then in similar line of thinking, success as a writer should include giving most of it back. You depended on people to bring you to new heights. You rely on empathy and sympathy to make a story work. So if you really mean those things, it's only right to help correct the problems you see and help communities that so badly need it.
In the end, what you want as a writer and what you do as writer are all determined by what type of writer you are. But in the end, it's a difficult journey for most people. If wasn't so damn hard, it wouldn't feel so damn good. It's not too unlike anything else in the world. It's a matter of defining your own success, reaching those goals, and finding happiness.
The writer is more concerned to know than to judge.
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.