Why I Write

Today, a friend asked me where I get the will to sit down and write. Here is a (refined) Copy of the answer I gave:

I write because it’s what I love. Well, there is more to it than that, but that’s certainly the first step.

And if that is the first step, then next are inspiration and confidence.  I love my characters, I love my stories, I love my settings – and I really think that, once I have it all written down, other people will love it too. When I’m planning something, I make sure that every character, every scene, every theme – everything that goes into it – is awesome, even on its own. I make sure every sentence I put down is something I would enjoy reading.  Then, when everything has been combined into a novel, I know I’ve come out with something awesome.  And that Inspires me. It is important for me to be inspired by what I’m writing about, and by the characters. It’s important I feel for my characters – because if I don’t, how can I expect readers to?

But the actual task of sitting down and writing? The act of pushing keys until words form, and doing that over and over until I have a string of letters that make some sense? That can be hard, sometimes. I’m Lazy. It’s easier for me to browse the internet, or watch a movie. Heck, it’s easier for me to sit around and stare blankly at my plot outline imagining everything as a movie (or rather, Imagining everything as an anime). Sometimes I’ll sit and write a few sentences or a paragraph and then get distracted and float away. Sometimes I’ll stare at the blinking cursor then decide to check my e-mail, then Facebook, then whatever else I can do to avoid writing.

Out of everything I do as a writer, starting is the hardest part. So I give myself a goal and promise myself a reward, just to start. I force myself into it. Just grit your teeth and do it, I think. And then, a few minutes later, I’m fully immersed in writing and nothing can pull me away until I hit the next bump. Then, usually, it’s off to see what shiny things are on the internet (it’s amazing how much more productive I am when I unplug the Ethernet cable). Sometimes I delete the last paragraph and re-write it from memory, as close as I can, just to get my fingers moving on the keys and my brain ‘into gear.’ Sometimes I do some reading before I write, Sometimes I log onto LegendFire and give a short critique. Sometimes I just listen to music.

But what drives me? Where do I find the will to do any of it, at all? There is no real easy answer to that question.  I could say that I write because it’s what I love, because it’s ‘my thing,’ but that ignores the fact I fantasize about giving people I know a copy of my book.  That ignores the fact I fantasize about seeing myself in the bookstore.  It’s true, though. I do write because it’s what I love, and even if no one could ever read it, I’d still spend hours tapping away.  Writing, Just the simple act of writing, gives me an amazing feeling I can’t get from anything else. I can look back after hours of work and think ‘I wrote that, I created that. Without me, that would not exist.’ Maybe writing is my way of proving I exist. I write, therefore I am. Maybe. But even if every word I put down was to be erased at my death, I’d still write. Showing my work gives me an amazing feeling, too – being read, having another sentient Life-form read and enjoy something I wrote. The feeling is pure euphoria.

I guess it all comes down to this. I write because that’s me. Its who i am, it defines me. I know that sounds cliché and useless, and maybe it is.

But that’s really the only answer a writer can give.

 

I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my greatest inspirations:

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”

– George Orwell, ‘Why I Write.‘ 

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3 comments on “Why I Write

  1. I think we might actually be the same person. Or perhaps slightly alternate versions of the same person, brought forth into the same reality at the moment the tail was severed from Steerpike’s monkey.

    Seriously though, this is basically how I feel on the subject, in some cases word for word. Really, just about the only difference is, I don’t find that removing the internet etc helps my productivity…although the distractions slow me down, the lack of them slows me down more…I seem to work best with some sort of multitasking situation taking place.

    It’s always nice to find another writer with the same identity-related view of the practice, and who also likes anime. Quite a wonder.

  2. jmmcdowell says:

    I should probably pull the cable more often 😉

    When I’m on a roll, it’s hard to be distracted. But when I’m at a stall or trying to get started, it’s so easy to “just check my email,” or see if anyone’s posted anything good on Facebook….

    But that desire to write pulls through. I’d love to see my books in a store or on the library shelves. But even if only a few people ever read them, there’s still that amazing feeling of “I wrote a book.” Somewhere, those characters and their stories are now free for others to see.

    Great post!

  3. Heather says:

    I have to agree that turning off the wifi is a great way to stay focused for me. I’m a little like jmmcdowell, in that if I’m on a roll it is hard to get distracted – but then the urge to check email or facebook during a brief break can be too tempting!

    And I love that Orwell quote – though I like to include the first sentence of that paragraph: “All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the bottom of their motives there lies a mystery.Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle…”

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