Why Do We Write?

Why are we willing to isolate ourselves to create? We have something to say, sure, but it’s a whole lot easier over coffee with a friend.

I’ve talked to a number of writers about this, but I can only tell you my reasons.

The simple answer is that I must because it keeps me sane and gives me equilibrium against the insanity of the world. It is a place where I have complete control, and face it, as individuals we have little control of what bombards us every day. Daily life is rife with choices and deflections, time ripped from us by instances and people that demand our attention. Much of this is good and the normal course of life, moments to be enjoyed like a picnic on a sunny summer day. Unfortunately, much is not.

We choose how to spend the “other” time, and once you remove sleep, family and work, there’s not much left. TV? I haven’t had cable, satellite, or any other television programming for a decade, and am happier because of it. Video games? Tried it. DVDs? That I do, and with a collection of over 500, I watch my share. In defense of that, I watch with an eye on creation, plotting, and character development. Books? That’s a large part and ties directly to my writing as I read with an eye of the how and why a particular author made their choices.

Therefore, I choose to spend a good part of those “other” hours putting one word after another. I watch things grow, and much like a gardener, revel in the blooming. It is a daunting craft while at the same time exhilarating. I have received no greater high in my professional life as having my writing accepted. I also have reached no lower low than when things bog down. The Great Dichotomy.

To get a little more specific, I write because I want to give people another view of the world around them, a viewpoint they may not have considered. I find the best way to do that without sounding preachy or seeming the know-it-all is through fiction. By example, fiction can delve into the soul of the human condition, the motivations of why people act the way they do, and in that, hopefully make us better people. One’s favorite characters are oftentimes one of their closest friends and have great influence.

I’m sure you have your reasons, too. Please share them. It’s like therapy when one knows others are inflicted with the same plight.

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1 thought on “Why Do We Write?”

  1. There was a quote in a Kurt Vonnegut book where something happened to a character , and they asked “why me?” The reply was “why not you .” To complete the riddle I know about myself that if someone asks me the time , I must tell them how the clock is made –

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