Photo By lynne bernay-roman
I’m up early, as is the norm these days. It doesn’t matter what time I go to bed. My body will wake up around 6:30, whether I’m done sleeping or not. So, I’ve been awake for awhile.
I love the quiet of an early morning. It’s even too early for social media to be much of a distraction. The sun has just come up over the horizon. The day is still sort of pink. It’s not even warm yet, but my fans run almost non-stop. I need to circulate the air.
I sleep with my laptop next to me. Actually, all of my devices share my bed. Two cell phones, Nookie, and my laptop all charge while I sleep. When I roll over in the morning, it is an automatic response to reach for something. I’m addicted to email. Seriously. Unread email drives me bonkers. I love to wake up in the morning to responses from the night before– blog posts or discussions or emails to people in other countries whose day has already begun.
This morning, in my early morning internet jaunt while I’m still lying in bed, I came across a few posts where people were discussing why they write. I read stories of writers who have known they were the next Great American Novelist since they were children. Writers who were influenced by someone or something. Writers who recently discovered the power of the written word. It made me think, to ask myself the same question:
Why do I write?
Why, when it’s so frustrating for me, lately? Why, when I seem to be not writing more than I am actually putting “pen to paper”, so to speak. Why don’t I quit?
Why do I write?
To make the voices shut up. When something really gets going in my mind, it is a record on repeat, playing the same song until I’m singing along. And I’m not actually singing, I am talking. Playing the scene out in the car, at home while watching TV, whatever. If you pass me on the freeway, I’m usually talking. I’m not on the phone. I’m talking out a scene. Doesn’t everyone do this?
To feel accomplished. There are few things I’m really good at, that I can show off. I am not musical. I am not athletic. I’m smart but not brilliant. I can’t do magic tricks and I am not a gymnast. But with my words, I reveal
talent. With my words, I’m a show-off. With my ability to paint a picture on paper or help a person escape to another world, I am a genius. It’s something I’m good at. I excel at. Even if I don’t always feel that way about my own work and even if I’m not writing more often than I am writing.
To encourage others. I took a very long break from writing. Years. Decades. When I decided to kick it back up again, I was so encouraged by other great writers. To this day, I love to read something compelling and moving and beautiful from a fellow writer. It fertilizes my creativity, like plant food does for plants. From their words spring ideas and prose and setting and scenery. If you write, know that people are encouraged by your talent, your wisdom, your way with words.
It beats any other kind of addiction. I’ll admit it– I really like praise. I don’t mind critique and opinion, but praise is addicting. “Oh my goodness, this is so great! I just love it!” feels good. Cannot deny that. As part of a fanfiction community, fanfic writers in particular (because we submit our stories for public opinion, using software that provides for feedback) have huge opportunities everyday to encourage one another, stroke egos, and feed the Praise Addiction with positive feedback. I always say that I don’t write for reviews or feedback or comments. Much of what I write doesn’t get a huge response. I have an entire archive of stuff that has no response… but when I get it? Wow, what a feeling. Unless they’re faking it. In which… I’d just rather not know. Don’t fake the funk but if you’re faking it, keep doing it well.
To prove to myself that I can do it. For no other reason than to sit back after I type the last sentence, the last word, the last bit of punctuation and feel like I did something I can be proud of. I start a lot of stories. A lot of drabbles and ficlets and one-shots and a lot of them go nowhere. When I finish one? I have proven to myself (again) that I can do it. And then I should keep doing it.
I should keep writing.
Why do you write? What are your reasons to keep going?