Thursday, February 7, 2008

Why I Love to Write

I had a weak moment the other evening. It went something like this:

Why do you keep doing this, Tia? Why don't you shut off the computer and stop trying so hard?

The answer to myself was:

What else would I be doing?

Well, there's all sorts of other things I could be doing. I'm never one to be bored. But my weak moment only lasted about thirty seconds. Why? Because my answer to myself was, This is my leisure time activity. It's better than watching TV.

And it is. If it pays one day, great. If not, I'll self publish about 20 copies and distribute it to my family. Maybe one day, one of my descendants will enjoy it. Maybe they'll even enjoy it before I die.

Why do I write? I'm 42 years old. I've been doing this for about 20 years now (late bloomer). Here is why I love to write.
  • I have stories to tell. Role-playing games help me get some of these stories off my chest. I always have an audience for my novels because my husband reads every novel I write (except the first one, which I didn't inflict on him). I suspect when I'm old, I'll be telling stories to the other old folk in the old folk home.
  • I can be whoever I want. When I'm behind the eyeballs of my characters, I can cast off my Tia-skin and wear someone else's. I can be a black girl. I can be a kick-ass warrior. I can be a sneaky thief. I can be a mystery-solving slave. I can be a god. I can be a movie star. I can be a virtuoso violinist. I can be a twelve year old girl.
  • I can fall in love again. And again. And again. Romance does not play a heavy part in my novels (except one), but it's always there. Everyone loves a love story. When they made the movie Top Gun, they realized that something was missing. A love story. So they wrote one in. I always think something is missing from novels if there is not at least a small love story. (Notice I'm not using the word Romance, which I think is different.)
  • I can be a man. I have no desire to be a man in real life, but I simply love writing about one from a tight third person point-of-view. I always run it by my husband for a reality check. I think my background in Air Force flight shacks listening to men talk helps me out here.
  • I can be 20 again. Or 30. Or 40. I don't know if I would be comfortable writing about an age much older than my actual age, but I can handle any age up to this point.
  • I can go to space. I can go back in time. I can go forward in time. I can go to heaven or hell, or somewhere else, entirely.
  • I can die without dying in person. Who knows what death is really like? But I can guess in my novels.
You get the idea. Why do you write?

12 comments:

  1. This was a lovely tribute to a really brutal profession. :o) I think you hit the nail on the head many times over.

    For me, I write as a means of exploration. I love that moment of self-discovery when I learn something about my characters, my world, or even myself that I didn't know before.

    I love that tingly feeling of discovery. Thanks for the timely reminder to appreciate not only the process, but the magic.

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  2. I agree with pretty much all those reasons, and Maria's as well. But more than anything, I write because I just can't help it. Once a character or a story gets into my head, I'm done for until I get the whole thing out. If I'm not writing it, then I'm thinking about it, which makes me want to write. It really just never ends.

    It's a good thing I enjoy it =)

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  3. I write for some of the same reasons. To be someone else. To be somewhere else. To forget I have to pay taxes and bills and go to the grocery store. To inhabit a world where really messed-up people (those would be my main characters) are capable of changing and revealing a less selfish side of themselves. Finally, I write because I have something to say (someday I may even figure out what it is).

    However, my conversations with myself about procrastination tend to be a little more prosaic than the thoughts I just posted. They go along these lines:

    "But I don't wanna write today! Why should I? I don't feel like it. I have to [insert time-wasting activity]."

    "Um, do you EVER want your novel to be published? Get your butt in that chair and open the file NOW."

    "Okay, okay, I'm sitting down. Can I go online first?"

    "NO!"

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  4. Maria -- thanks.

    Susan, I'll take that as an "I agree."

    Kristin -- I have enough stories in my head for the next 10 years or so.

    Raven -- nice pep talk!

    I just thought of something. My original post may make it sound that I'm unhappy being me. Not at all! But as a writer, I get to be so many other people as well! Is that a wee bit psychotic? I hope not!

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  5. Definitely, all those reasons. I also have a muse who's a brutal assassin, and he stalks me if I even think about quitting.

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  6. Lately I've enjoyed not writing, for once. About a year ago I finished a five-year stint of writing a novel a year, on average. It was great--sort of like training for a triathlon--but I couldn't sustain that pace forever. I'm just now starting to write down notes for the next book, which will probably flare up sometime this year. Meantime, I may have actually arrived at a point in my life where I don't sweat not writing everyday. I might regret this attitude on my deathbed, but for now I'm having fun writing comments to blogs, notes to my kids' teachers, to-do lists, and imaginary letters to editors.

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  7. What a great attitude. I don't actually write fiction every day, myself. But not a day goes by when I don't write something.

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  8. 20 copies? How about fellow bloggers! I want a copy!

    I write because I need to set the stories free, they're taking up memory.
    I'm guilty in that I don't write or blog every day as I don't want to make myself feel like it's a chore.

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  9. NO need to feel guilty. I stopped writing for two years a while back. No, wait; that's when I was writing nonfiction. . . .

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  10. How is writing nonfiction, not writing?

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  11. Writing nonfiction is as rewarding as writing fiction, especially since it's much easier to sell and you get paid more.

    Well, except when the bulk of your nonfiction is spent writing blogs; then you don't get paid dammit.

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