Every writer is asked this about 5 times a day or more. “Why do you write?” The main reason we’re asked this is not because other random people ask it, but because other writers ask it all the time. It’s like this obsession with them to ask writers, especially at workshops, and while I can sorta see a reason for it, I don’t. Especially not that much.
So why do I write? Originally I wrote because I wanted to. Because I felt like I needed to. Then, I wrote to escape, to form the story that I was missing out of life whether because the library had run out of books, or the TV had run out of shows. But then, I wrote because I felt obligated, because it was expected of me. For example, just last week a boy came up to me and told me how he finished book 2 and wanted to make sure I was writing book 3. I told him that yes there would be a book 3. He jerked his elbow down with a, “Yes!” and skated off. While that feeling is wonderful, it makes for bad writing.
As any artist will tell you, creativity is not something that can be rushed and especially not forced. Thankfully, however, the past few days have taught me a better inspiration to write than simply feeling “expected to”.
I have to. That may sound cliche, and it is…but it isn’t. See, as most of you are aware by now, I’m going back to school. I drive an hour every morning and afternoon Monday through Friday to take a class. I then come home and study. I haven’t had much time for my writing, and what little time I have had for it has been spent on the “office” side of it—gathering reviews, social media, mailing out things, ordering things, etc.
This is the forth week I’ve been in school. I was supposed to have the rough draft of Anya 3 ready by now. I have a mere 35,000 words. The longer I stay away from it, the longer it takes me to get back into it. It was depressing. I thought, “Is this it? Should I just take the summer off?” Every writer goes through a stage like that. It’s nothing new and not what this post is about, but I say it to make a point. I was in a bad place, especially for someone who felt like writing was an obligation, not a desire.
But then I noticed that I was writing anyway. Any time I could. I recorded storyline on my phone on the drive. I plotted before, during, and after class. Maybe it was Anya 3, maybe it was something else, but I couldn’t help myself. It was an uncontrollable urge to create. (notice how many times I’ve blogged over the last week versus the last month.)
I’ve noticed this before about myself. My whole life has been about creating. Most of it was through music, but when that was no longer a viable option, I turned to other outlets. Knitting, quilting, tatting, clothesmaking, basketweaving, cheesemaking, cooking, odd gardening, you name it, I tried it. But then I picked up writing once again. I immediately dropped all other outlets. Two year old projects now lie all over the house, making it look like a crafting fair graveyard, but my keyboard remains used on an almost daily basis.
See, I have creative energy, and just like my physical energy requires me to exercise periodically to keep from going crazy, my creative energy requires an outlet too. So yes, I write because I have to. My body requires a creative outlet, and I have given it one.