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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Why Authors Really Write

Many authors write books in hopes of making it big – movies, best-sellers, and a series of books.  Others write books because they believe passionately about their subject matter and want to share a message that enlightens, inspires, informs, and educates others.  But all authors write, I believe, because it is their gift and curse, because if they didn’t express themselves artistically they’d kill someone or themselves. Or go insane.

I have never met a writer who doesn’t enjoy his craft and the opportunity to share ideas, experiences, opinions and stories.  I went to a book party recently for my client, Howard Schatz, who has put together an amazing photography book called At the Fights.  It was at this literary gathering that I came to understand what drives writers and artists to relentlessly pursue their craft.

You see, an author or photographer never really rests or remains at ease with his or her work.  They continually seek to improve and perfect their artistry.  They cannot be satisfied but for a moment otherwise their entire drive will be at risk.  They don’t have to be perfectionists but they strive for an achievement that feels like perfection, ever elusive and always being redefined so that even if one reaches a state of perfection, he or she has now set the bar higher for themselves.

Photographers and writers observe life and reflect it in their work, but many fail to really see themselves or obtain an honest measure of the role they play in the world.

It is a burden to be creative, but it can also be so rewarding.  I don’t know if Howard can see what he’s accomplished, or even be willing to acknowledge it, but he can be proud that he’s achieved a lifetime of work in just the past two decades.  He has published 19 books and had images splashed across magazine covers.  He is always challenging himself and pushing his limits.  I applaud his relentless pursuit to get to some undefined, ever-moving target that may seem like perfection for a moment.  He may never get there.  He’s more at ease in chasing the top, the ideal, the gold – for he wouldn’t know what to do if someone told him that he’s reached the top of the mountain.

So who am I to say he’s done it all? Perhaps there is more to be done and we’re not even close to seeing his best work.  But I know that even when he arrives at that holy moment, he will already have his eye on the next big thing.  He wouldn’t have it any other way.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This blog is copyrighted material by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2012 ©


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. 'We strive, we seek - perhaps occasionally we find.'
      Artist-to-artist, I can't help but write things down - or even sing them out sometimes - or I will burst. You've expressed that truth very well.
      But what of the unknown artist, who's craft is decent but who remains unknown? Van Gogh went mad with lack of appreciation. For some of us lesser talents, from time to time we may nudge the edge of depression or despair, only because our work, though reasonably good and somewhat useful to humanity, remains obscure. The frustration doesn't mean it's fame we strive for but rather that the voice in the wilderness does wish to be heard.
      Thanks for your item. In my relative obscurity, I wish you Brian Feinblum and Howard Schatz every ounce of success and recognition they have so clearly have earned.

  2. Very good aricle Brian. I agree with Sara that it goes a long way to explaining why artists of any type (I once made a living as a musician) make efforts in their chosen expression.
    When I recieve a criticism or a plaudit for my writing it urges me to continue writing or start a new story.
    On my last effort my editor admitted that she had to do her work three times. The first two times through she started reading and enjoying and had to go back and start all over. I found that admission very flattering and was prompted to slog away at a story that I wasn't particularly happy with but managed to make work anyway.
    Yes, I would like the national recognition, not for the purpose of becoming a "Rich Author" particularly but so that I could achieve the "adrenalin high" more often by writing full time.

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