This one should be obvious, but I feel it is important. If not for me, then for the others like me who have a story to tell but are hesitant because we have all heard that you need to have a good reason to write. So, here it is. Why do I write?
Being a writer is like being a masochist. Writing can be hard, and oftentimes painful. Not physically, but mentally and, even, emotionally. So why do it? Am I a masochist? On some, I guess I might be. I don’t like pain, but I also don’t fear it. I find writing to be calming. It gives me a chance to look inside myself and find the story in waiting. I often have conversations with myself, though never in public or when someone is watching. Many times it is even verbal so I can hear the crazy ideas that come out of my mouth. Mostly, their internal conversations. I could sit in a quiet room by myself and keep myself entertained for hours. That is a talent garnered from raising children and having to wait for them for their various activities. I don’t mind the silence, but sometimes I need to hear the ideas so I can examine them more closely.
Now, I have heard from many popular authors that writing for money should never be your reason for writing. For the longest time, I thought that I should never write for money. So why did they do it? It wasn’t until two decades later that I realized that’s not what they were saying at all. Write for money. It is work that you should get paid to do. It should not, however, be your primary reason for writing. That is what I didn’t understand until now.
Writing purely for monetary gain only leads to a forced prose backed by what is in the now and what is currently popular. That type of writing rarely succeeds in lasting success. Many popular writers, past and present, are transcendental. Meaning their writing lasts for much longer than they are alive and have lived. I understand that now. I have tried to keep myself grounded in the thought that if I wrote for money that it would make me somehow a vain and greedy person. I have learned that is not the case at all. Should I feel that way because I get paid to program a computer? They pay me for doing something that I used to do for fun on my own time. So why should I not be able to be paid for writing?
Now comes the answer. Why do I write? I have said it before but I think it bears repeating. I write because I have a story–no, actually a saga–to tell. My brain won’t stop thinking about all the stories in my head waiting to be put down in words. I have tried to stop it, but I dream about the stories. In fact, many of my stories come from very vivid dreams that I have had. Those stories are relentless. They don’t stop when I want them to stop.
I have analyzed every aspect as to why I began writing since the first day I said, “I want to be a writer.” You know what I discovered. I cannot help it. I simply cannot not write. It’s just in my blood. I am a creative person. Most computer programmers are. We have to solve often complex problems and have to think the way others do not. That can be true for writers. We writers cannot ignore the call to creative thinking.
I write because I have no other choice. I write because the call is so great that to ignore it would cause me to ignore part of myself. To deny myself is akin to negligence. As a human being, I cannot ignore my own instincts any more than I can deny myself food and drink if it is abundantly available. I have plenty of stories available. I have plenty to say.
I say to you, dear reader, if you have something you want to say, a story that haunts and keeps you awake at night, don’t hesitate to be a writer. Write. It’s what you were meant to do. You might not be good at it, but one day you might be able to count yourself among the very few who will be remembered long before you pass into the way beyond.
Thanks for taking to the time to read this and, as always, happy writing.