While you read this passage about writing from an interview with Chris Baty, ask yourself if it applies to education in general. And how it parallels homeschooling:
“I think that the writing world is a very weird place. When I was a college student, I was a full-time music nerd. In the music world, you realize there’s so much room for the notion of amateurs and practice. You know, most bands are amateurs. People get together to make music because it feels great—it feels wonderful to lose yourself in that sound, in that noise. For some reason the writing world has been so slow to catch onto that. The idea is that unless you’re on the New York Times bestseller list, or are headed there, you are woefully off course. That’s so strange. In the music world, there are so many groups and performers that just play once a month in a bar or play in the student center and put out their own CDs, and that’s as high as they want to get on the ladder of fame, because it comes along with its own sense of satisfaction.
“One of the responses to NaNoWriMo that I get a lot is, “How many of these people have sold their books?” And at this point I think the answer is that we’re up to fourteen over the entire course of National Novel Writing Month. So fourteen people have sold their manuscripts to major publishers, to big-time publishing houses, which is not a great percentage. I mean, we had 79,000 last year alone. You know, more are coming in though every couple months, and some of the deals are getting to be really sweet. Last year, we had the great news that Sara Gruen, who is an author who does National Novel Writing Month, got a five-million-dollar book deal … and then promptly sat down to write the first of her contractually obligated books during National Novel Writing Month.
“But the vast majority of people will not even revise their novel. They spend the month writing it for the sake of writing it, to feel that electricity and ideas pouring out onto the page. I hope that National Novel Writing Month has brought the writing world closer to that musical model, where it’s okay to create something that only fifty people will ever encounter, that there is a sense of accomplishment and fun that comes from making art on any scale. And I hope that whatever happens with the future of NaNo, that enough people have had their eyes opened to this simple pleasure of creating and practicing, and making mistakes and learning from them.
“I think that nobody has it as bad as aspiring writers. Look at the world of sports. If I went out and played a round of golf, when I came back from it, none of my friends would say, “Oh, you going to join the PGA?” The sense is that you do it for fun and you do it regularly, and it doesn’t have to be something you make your living at. My goal for the last decade has been to make a living as a writer. And I think there are other people in National Novel Writing Month who share that ambition, but I think that represents 10% of the overall population, and the other 90% are doing it for completely different reasons.”
Hat tip: Karen M. Gibson