I AM Writing

My publisher sent me a message asking that I continue to write. He said, “You’re a wonderful writer and you do no service to yourself, Literature or anyone by saying you’re not going to write; after what you endured with your family (your dad and schizophrenic bro in particular—and the story isn’t over, is it), you have the material for a companion volume to Grief: The Great Yearning —of which I still sell a lot of copies. I want you to keep writing.”

As much as I appreciate the affirmation from my publisher, my life is so up in the air right now, without anything to tether me to the earth (except perhaps my dance classes), that I don’t know if I will ever write another book, though eventually I would like to finish the books I have started, including the book about my dance class. But the truth is, whether I continue to write books or just my daily posts, whether I publish with Second Wind or simply publish on this blog, I am writing because blogging is writing, too.

Anyone who writes is, of course, a writer, though the facility of self-publishing unreadable, unremarkable, and unworthy books has fudged the lines. It used to be that “real writers” were chosen by faceless editors working for megacorporations, but now writers are chosen by themselves, leaving readers floating in a sea of gutless books. (Gutless because so many books have no core. Gutless because so many writers never really risked anything.)

It used to be that money made a writer. If you earned your living by writing, you were a writer. Sometimes it was acclaim by the self-appointed literati that made a writer. And sometimes it was fame that made a writer. But mostly, it was sales. Money.

It still is sales that make a writer . . . to a certain extent. I know many so-called writers who toss out a book they wrote in a month with little editing, and people buy the books for some unfathomable reason. (Unfathomable to me, anyway.) I know other writers — excellent writers who actually have something to say, who work at their craft, and who write the best book possible no matter how long it takes — who have few sales.

So what makes a writer? Since writing is basically a form of communication, perhaps readers make a writer. And I have readers galore — on this blog, anyway. Some of my posts have had more than 10,000 readers. (But, keeping things realistic, some of my best posts had less than 100.) Maybe it’s the ability to touch people’s lives through words that make a writer, and that I have done by being willing to open up and tell the truth about my life. I many never write a book about my dealings with my dad and brother, but here on this blog, I have already written the story as it happened.

I always wanted to be a writer, and for many years it saddened me that I didn’t have the talent. Well, by dint of hard work, I learned how to write. Even found a publisher who loved my books. I just never learned how to sell enough books to make a living at writing, so I’ve never considered myself a real writer.

But I am.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

8 Responses to “I AM Writing”

  1. rami ungar the writer Says:

    Keep writing Pat! We’re glad to read your stuff (and I hope I’m among the latter group of writers you mentioned. I’m certainly not selling like hotcakes, but I put the work into my books).

  2. Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

    Writing helps writers grow and, in the process, breathe.

  3. kencoffman Says:

    We are desperately hoping you unlock mysteries we all struggle with, so we need you to carry on with your exploration. We’re clinging to the dream of your ultimate epiphany so you can lead us from the desert like Moses. I wonder, were all the gurus selling answers they did not truly believe because we rubes needed them and the material rewards were irresistible?
    “…any religion which considers life meaningless and full of misery, and teaches the hatred of life, is not a true religion. Religion is an art that shows how to enjoy life.”
    –Osho, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, one-time owner of 93 Rolls Royces
    One could do much worse than this:

    1. Never obey anyone’s command unless it is coming from within you.
    2. There is no God other than life itself.
    3. Truth is within you, do not search for it elsewhere.
    4. Love is prayer.
    5. To become a nothingness is the door to truth. Nothingness itself is the means, the goal and attainment.
    6. Life is now and here.
    7. Live wakefully.
    8. Do not swim—float.
    9. Die each moment so that you can be new each moment.
    10. Do not search. That which is, is. Stop and see.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      You say such wonderful things to me, Ken. If ever I figure it all out, I will be sure to post it here. Or not. Maybe blogging will become part of the nothinglessness. (Though I prefer to consider it meaninglessness rather than nothinglessness.)

  4. Constance Koch Says:

    You are a good writer. I am particular about the authors that I read. I have a select few, and you are one of them. I like what I have read of your books.
    Waiting to read the book on dance class. Hope you do write it. Like the cover. That’s a start. What about problems back stage before the shows? Affect it has on stage. Practice and personal problems amongst the dancers. Backgrounds on us for your characters. Get some input from us. Would like to help you.

  5. mickeyhoffman Says:

    The NY Times had an article a few days ago about how self published writers are angry with Amazon.com. In the body of the article were descriptions of some of the books and authors who’ve sold lots of books. I mostly wanted to cry and I did cringe. And I read a lot and I’m tired of reading books with dozens of typos in them. I’m almost embarrassed to tell anyone I have books published. What if they think I’m one of those slapdash messes? I have to admit I never felt like a writer and still don’t, but I do think your books, Pat, are superior and hope you feel a sense of accomplishment or something, even if you don’t want to publish more of them. The NY Times article did have some quotes from as early as 1837, I think it was, where writers were complaining that books just weren’t what they used to be. So maybe we’re taking this too seriously.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Amazon gives and Amazon takes away. They have no right to be angry. They did not deserve the great boon Amazon extended to them. It was a gift that few others received, and not their just due.

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