“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Jeremiah, not the bullfrog, but the Hebrew prophet, decided one day that he had had enough. His words had gotten him beaten, scorned, and thrown into a deep, dark hole. He made up his mind that he was just going to shut up. Silence, however, made him feel like he had a fire shut up in his bones. He went back to writing and speaking.
Sometimes writers don’t just have something to say—they have to say something. St. Paul, a prolific writer, and speaker, once said, “Woe is me, if I preach not the gospel.” Who he was in his own eyes, and in the eyes of God, depended on him expressing the message he carried inside.
I readily identify with both men. There are simply things that must be said, and you are the only one who can, or will, say them—consequences be damned.
It’s like having a huge, festering infection set up in your leg. You’re feverish, moaning in pain, you can’t walk, and there’s no one around to help. You must open the wound. You know it’s going to hurt, but you also know it will kill you if you don’t do it.
I have made the mistake that other people understand that about my writing. This is not a knock against anyone, it is just that writing truly is one of those things where unless you seriously write, you don’t really understand.
I have written, at least, one book that I didn’t particularly want to write. I wrote it anyway because I felt I must. It has made virtually no money and garnered few readers. I have no regrets because I wrote it for my own well-being.
Writing for acclaim and riches will leave you disappointed and depressed (as some very successful writers have discovered). Any real satisfaction or joy you find in writing comes only when you put into print something that must be said that only you can say.