Friday, January 13, 2012

Why Write?

People often ask me why I like writing so much, or why I would want to write a 300-page novel just for fun, and similar questions. I suppose that's a reasonable question, coming from someone who doesn't like to write and can't quite put themselves in my shoes. To be honest, I'm not sure exactly why it is that I like writing, but I can say this: even if I set aside my writing for a time, I always come back to it. It's like a favorite hobby - in fact, it really is a favorite hobby, in that I haven't (yet) been paid for any of my stories. At this point, I'm still technically an amateur. Hey, if the Olympics had a writing competition, I could qualify!

But seriously, why write? Well...

Why eat? Why breathe? Because I must! And so also must I write. Not for survival, but because it's the way I'm wired. I spend most of my time in my head, in a way that many people cannot fathom. Lots of people spend most of their free time exercising or playing sports, in a way that I have never cared to do. They are driven towards physical recreation, while I am driven towards mental recreation. Sometimes I wish I was more motivated to get out and get physical, but the reality is I generally don't care about exercising or playing sports. Others occasionally hear about me writing novels, and they get that wistful or thoughtful look in their eyes that says, "I wish I was more into writing so I could do something like that." The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, I guess.

Why write? Why rebuild old cars? Why make beautiful furniture from rough-cut lumber or old scraps? Why crochet scarves and mittens? It seems that we're all driven to create in some way, shape or form. Whatever the hobby happens to be, we're creative creatures at heart. We like the satisfaction of making something beautiful, graceful, strong, fast, useful, unique. Is my writing any of that? Perhaps. Sometimes it's the struggle that counts for more than the victory. The satisfaction of seeing the job completed. It may not be perfect, but I created it and it is unique in its own way, and beautiful to me if no one else. And that's enough.