22 February 2006

'T ain't what you do... it's why you do it

JA Konrath, author of Whiskey Sour, posted some great questions about why writers write on his blog.

Among them: A need for self-expression? Money? Fame? Because you just can't help it/stop it?

Writers, as a lot, (or at least the ones Word Nerd has met) tend to be a reflective people. It's likely because they are imbued with curiousity that constantly makes them ask questions about the world and "how would characters react in this situation" and "what happens next?"

Perhaps less often does a writer reflect on why he or she is writing.

There are lots of wannabee writers who are convinced that they are walking around with the story in their heads that will make them the next J.K. Rowling, or Dan Brown, or whomever.

But what is it that turns that person with the idea into the person who sits at the computer and bangs out word after word after word and then revises and revises and revises until the story is done?


Word Nerd knows two things about why she does it: It ain't the money and it ain't the fame.

1 comment:

Skee said...

First off, I'm so glad I stumbled into your place here (I'll replace the priceless vase I promise). Seriously, I've liked everything I've read here. It reads easy and by that I mean, well, it reads naturally. You're not trying too hard, or trying to be too funny, too thoughtful or too Something - the way many blogs do. So congratulations on a comfortable, very nicely done place here! I’ve bookmarked your site and will definitely be back.

This specific post caught my eye. Quickly, I will say that until about a year and a half ago, you could've combined everything I had written (non-professionally), slapped it together someway and it wouldn't have amounted to a novelette length piece. Something happened in mid 2004 that I can't really explain. I started writing. Seriously started writing. It started with a childhood memory that turned into a narration of sorts. The passion to keep cranking out words kept building steam and in a short amount of time I was spending time writing at work, lunch and late at night when I should have been sleeping. I don't understand it but for me personally, it was as if it had all been pent up for a longtime and not necessarily purposely so. I suddenly needed to tell anyone and everyone that would read it, about my life, or about other people I've known and even about ficticious people I made up.

Well, this has not turned out too be ‘quickly’ as I stated above and I apologize for that. It’s funny, but if you ask people that know me, ‘wordy’ would not be a term they would use to describe me.

Anyway, if your eyes haven’t rolled up in your head from boredom yet, I have a good job, one in which I have the ability to set my schedule and have some flexibility in my activities. This has helped my relatively new found passion for writing so maybe that convenience has assisted this new typing addiction, but there is definitely something else at work here.

My career has certainly not been always like that. I have no college education and have no real pedigree of any kind - I'm a mutt all the way. I have always though, since a very young age, read books almost non stop. I've worked hard all my life to do something with myself and provide a good life for my wife and two daughters. I had artisitic parents who before I was born owned and operated an art store where they sold paintings, drawings, pottery and sculpture so maybe that explains the creative part that comes with writing – I just don’t know. Like me though, for many years that love for creating was shelved indefinitely. They were too busy trying to provide for my sister and I to allow themselves the luxury of expressing themselves for a living.

I still haven’t really answered your original question though. Why? Why do we write? One of my favorite quotes is this; “We write to be read” and I think that simple statement says a lot. I also think though that it could be for hundreds of reasons. Here are a few, some not so flattering but unfortunately they could all easily be applied to me:

*A need to be understood and/or recognized in a way that is not possible in everyday life.
*We need praise – we either are not getting it in life or we are greedy for it.
*We have no outlet in our personal or professional lives to create things, people or places.
*We are curious and reflective.
*We are hopeless romantics, sentimentalists and dramatists at our core.
*We are living unfulfilling lives in one or more ways.
*We’re emotionally charged, drained and refilled by writing.
*We’re inventers. Instead of cars, planes, telephones and cotton gins we invent other things.
*We’re convinced we just haven’t been discovered yet and conceit has a little to do with it.

Thanks again for an enjoyable site and feel free to drop my sleep inducing place;) - Skee