Why Do You Write?

Chuck Wendig asks this over at Terrible Minds. It’s his non-fiction flash-fiction challenge. I enjoy that idea, so I thought I’d try to tackle the subject.

The simple answer is I write because I enjoy it. And because I need to write.

I’ve always enjoyed writing. I’ve always needed to write. But I haven’t always done it.

Funny, isn’t it?

I remember hauling a journal around most of my life, and writing in it constantly. I remember wanting to be a lot of things when I grew up, but somehow writing was always involved. I thought I was going to major in English in college (because I didn’t know creative writing degrees were a thing you could get), until suddenly a fantastic teacher changed my life and I ended up in biology. But I still took a surprising number of philosophy, literature, and other writing courses.

That said, my writing, both journal and creative, dipped over time. The further I got into my courses, the less I was able to read (sorta). Yes, read. And I’ve come to realize that reading dramatically impacts writing. I don’t really want to talk about how long it took for that to really sink in.

I got to a point where all I was reading was scholarly journals and the usually dire lab reports of freshmen.

Let’s just say my writing quantity fell off, unless it was for school. And even that was a slog.

I’ve been working to change that these past five years. I can’t always say how well I’m doing, but the writing is increasing. I’ve joined a few writing groups recently, and that’s helping. And I just did a recent link post, which not only made sure I was reading, made me think about writing about those things. I think I’ll be keeping the five links on Mondays.

Because, frankly, getting into the groove of writing is hard, but getting into the groove of reading, reading enough, and reading diversely is harder. Even though reading is the thing I have maybe done most in my whole life. But it’s this thing I generally don’t do enough, even though I enjoy it. I need it. Thus, I’m done with not doing it enough.

So, I’ll be reading more. I’ll be reading Girl Genius and Afroculinaria and American Sour Beers and Except the Queen and The Other End of the Leash and and and…

I am going to read gluttonously so I can write greedily. Because I’m done with not doing either enough.

I have a story about beer, goblins, and pinball that I need to finish. I plan to do NaNoWriMo again this year1. And I plan to keep up this blog and Getting Ready to Go. While somehow pursuing other interests (usually ones that dovetail with this writing, but not always). I have a story titled “In Our Studio” I need to finish. I have a character in my head that’s been demanding my attention for almost six months now.

For once, it feels do-able, to look at this list of writing wants/writing “shoulds”. Usually, it feels daunting. Because time is the most limiting factor for anything, and I don’t know where the time will come from. I probably won’t manage to be as gluttonous and greedy as I want (as I wonder if I should be?) right now. But that’s probably okay.

Making these declarations to myself, and making them publicly to you, makes them more. Almost tangible. Just hoping keeps them whispers to myself as I try to sort it all out.

That’s because you, as you might have guessed, are also part of this equation. Because I journal (sometimes; not enough for me to feel satisfied) and I write short stories and attempts at novels that never see the light of day. But I write publicly as well. Keeping a blog definitely implies a desire for an audience, even if it’s a small one. Keeping one for five years (and launching a second one, let’s be honest) means I not only desire an audience, I’m getting one.

So, I write for me. But I also write for those of you out there who read this blog.

Thanks. Thanks to all of you who read this, whether you’re stopping in to laugh while learning how to toaster oven bacon2 or you want all those recipes plus musings you get or whatever your reasons.

I wouldn’t be where I am without you. And while there’s always muck in life (ask me about cross country moves sometime), it turns out I’m in a pretty solid place. I have two blogs I love to write, many more I love to read, and that’s just in the writing world. Thank goodness for writing. And reading. And readers.

What about you guys? Do you write? How much? Publicly or privately or both? What do you read? What should I read? Is there something that brings you deep joy to read or to write about right now?

I really am looking for more reading at the moment. So please, if you keep a blog/comic/something leave me a link to your favorite post in the comments. I’ll check out each and every one. And if you don’t, but you have a book or blog recommendation, would you leave me that? Or hell, leave both! Thanks.

Note: All Amazon links above are affiliate links. This means I get a tiny percentage if you buy the linked items or other things via Amazon after clicking. Your purchase price won’t change. And if you do smile.amazon for charity, they stack. Still without changing your purchase price. Thanks!

1 PS: I DESPERATELY need guest posters for this year! Please let me know if you would be interested and willing to guest post for me this November! I’m pretty amenable to whatever subject matter. And, fwiw, I’m also always looking over at GRTG and will doubly be looking for November.

2 Yes, that’s Bill’s writing. I wanted to share it anyway, because it’s hysterical. And also? It’s one of the most popular posts on the blog. Not, I think, just because it’s hysterical. But because folks really want to know how to make bacon in a toaster oven. This way, they find out it’s not hard WHILE getting to laugh their butts off.

4 thoughts on “Why Do You Write?

  1. I too love to read and write! I think it runs in my blood. I had forgotten how much I loved writing until just recently when I was reintroduced to my elementary journal. My mother found this treasure in the vast piles of the past in an old storage unit. Although my time and energy has been devoted otherwise in the last decade this post, that journal, my awesome sisters dedication to blogging along with re-visiting my Great Grandmothers hand writen journal. Her interpretations of her devout bible study every evening. This reminds me of that great relief of just pouring a fleeting or lingering thought on to a page. I love the idea of getting back to writing by reading. As of this moment every small sliver of free time to read I have I am spending with “Deadline Artists, Americas Greatest Newspaper Columns” I so far find it fascinating& intriguing. Think of it as the original outlet for a writer.

  2. I’m gonna tag on and do this post here on Friday.
    Meanwhile…I just have to write as well. I had a journal at age 5 and journals ever since, online and otherwise. I didn’t realize I had to write, but turns out I do.

    I just realized, in finishing my five hour shift of writing time today, that it energizes me. I should be tired, but I’m more motivated to do other stuff I have to do, even if that’s dishes. Weird. And it’s not just to get my legs moving, it’s more of a ….I don’t know..somewhere inside I feel better kind of motivation.

    Meanwhile, i shall guest post here and on GRTG for you, and I love reading your blog and sharing the adventures. I’m about to start a new blog, in fact, and would like to pick your brain on it some.

    • Marielle, I cannot wait to read your post! Especially if you can help me figure out how to get more motivated to do dishes. 😉

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