Why Write?

I was sure that I’d touched on this before. One of the most peculiar questions to me that I’ve had about writing, is why I even do it. Why write? The question was peculiar to me, because as someone that had spent decades working on stories (even if they amounted to little more than additional memories for me), I couldn’t really understand the question being one.

I definitely knew what it was asking, but “Why write?” was like saying “Why love?”. It had been part of me for so long.

It’s still a valid question though, and one I feel I need to answer. I’ve always seen myself as a note-taker or historian for those worlds inside my head. It isn’t really the case, because obviously I’m forming the ideas myself, writing about them, and pushing them one way or another. I know the character ‘Ithra’ is a knight, a mother, and a deserter. Wait, I’ll make her a heretic instead of mere deserter. Those are the things I do. I choose what she does, form her personality, and ensure she acts accordingly. When I write, I say my characters ‘do’ things I didn’t intend, but they’re always consistent with the personality I gave them first.

There’s stories that I want to read. I’m sure some exist that are similar to what I want, but they’re not the same. I remember saying once (in jest) that reading was for lazy writers, and while I don’t honestly believe that it’s true, I want to explain where that came from. It was during my first NaNo, and had reached a point where I didn’t really know what was going to happen next. As I was writing it. The story went down a certain path, and I was surprised, the same way one would be reading any book where the plot shifted. I have the concepts for ideas, and I want to see where they go – and while I’d love for them to be readable by others, most of that is so I can a) entertain them, and b) talk to them about what happened. I’ll never write everything that I want to – the most I could hope for is writing everything that I want to at the moment.

Things have been slipping with that lately. Nothing has changed. I’ve persisted with the challenge, though the month itself has been something of a write-off… and not the cool writing-based-pun kind. The entire month has been torturous.

I feel a little jaded by it, though not really about writing. Blogging about it to some extent, and once again, it’s because of other blogs. I feel like I’m averting some writer-blog-trope by not going down the same path everytime, but I’m a little tired of every post about writing coming back to a snarky action list. You know the type – a snappy headline, like “GET YOUR ARSE ON THE PAGE SHITFACE”, and a paragraph saying the exact same thing with four times as many words. It’s great if that works for you, but it’s not the only way. If you do happen to run such a blog, I’m not attacking you, just saying that there’s a lot of you at the moment. So many “hey guys, if you only do A, B and C, you’ll be a writer too!” There’s no secret to writing – you just do it. Or as tends to happen with me, talk about doing it. No, waxing lyrical about the written word is not going to get a book written, nor is blogging about it.

Sometimes with an idea, knowing what will happen is enough for me. With others, I want to reach into the idea and pull it all around me, swimming around in it until I feel like I’ve adequately explored a strange land, or another planet, or an emotion or character or– you get the idea.

Why write? Because my current audience of one (me), wants to read something new.

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