Why I Write
I’ve always loved stories. I think that’s where it began. I haven’t been a writer that long, but I’ve been a reader as long as I can remember. To quote George R. R. Martin: “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”
This is what it’s all about.
Reading is an escape, an adventure, a drug. I don’t understand people who don’t read. If I go a day or two without reading, I get antsy. Difficult to be around. I need my books. My favorites tend to be sci-fi and fantasy. They’re the books that got me through some tough times growing up. And why read hundreds of pages about someone’s dreary existential angst described with absolute realism? Wouldn’t you rather ride a dragon or meet some aliens?
At first I wrote fanfiction. Actually, I didn’t even know what fanfiction was when I wrote my first Start Trek story. Fanfiction is a great way to begin writing, because you know the world and you know the characters, so it’s easier to start with. Of course you don’t own that universe, so you shouldn’t be making money off it, but I don’t think that’s much of an issue. I, like other fans, wrote fanfiction because I loved the characters and the world. Then I gradually moved on to writing my own stuff.
I’ve always suffered from an overactive imagination, and I sometimes have very vivid dreams. There was one particular one that started recurring every night, and it didn’t stop before I started writing the story down. When I get a story idea, it feels like an itch inside my skull that gets worse and worse if I don’t do anything about it. So I write to get the stories out of my head, I guess.
On the macro scale, writing is a way to make sense of the world; why do people behave like they do? Why did this awful thing happen? On the micro scale, it’s a way of coping with your own issues and personal tragedies, the little injustices and cruelties of daily life. Writing is therapy. I’m a happier person when I write. For that alone writing is worth it.
I think a lot of writers have a sense of not belonging. I was a socially awkward, chubby kid in a Star Trek t-shirt. You can guess what happened. Suffice to say that I felt like an outsider and escaped into books. The scars have faded but they’re still there. Maybe it’s true that happy people don’t write? Why would they?
I also think that most of us have a need to do something creative. My mother is awesome at sewing and my grandfather did oil paintings. Writing is my way of relaxing. My day job is stressful and draining at times, and writing provides much-needed relief.
Having said all that, mainly I write because I enjoy it. It’s fun. I love the rush you get when you finish a first draft, the tingly, bubbly feeling of writing a funny scene, and even the nitpicky joys of editing. I love creating something from nothing, something that would have never existed if it weren’t for me. I write for myself, but it’s pretty great if someone else reads a story of mine and likes it.
I write because I can.
I write because I need to.
I write because it helps me be a happier person.
But above all, I write because I love to.