Why I Write
Updated: Apr 3, 2021
"Why do you write?"
It's a question many authors are asked and, indeed, a question many authors are forced to ask themselves. The answer, however, can often be a little bit elusive. It has a tendency of changing and growing; both over time, and through experience. From day to day, and from year to year.
I can only base this off of my own experience, of course, and it's a very limited experience at that, but I don't believe any writer writes for just one reason. It's a collection of feelings and dreams, and needs, and (let's face it, people) obsessions, that keep authors going.
When I was younger, and I was just getting into the "big books" - you know the ones, where the pictures you used to stare at are suddenly replaced with walls of text, and it's a little intimidating at first until you realise how awesome they are - I never took into account what went into the making of the words I saw before me. I didn't stop to think that there was someone behind it all; pulling dreams from their head and bleeding it across the paper I now held in my own hands. For all I knew, there was no one behind them; books simply grew on trees, and libraries picked the ripe ones to fill their shelves.
But then we started doing a bit of creative writing in primary school, and I realised how fun it was. You start with a blank page, you put a few words on it, and then those same words turn into images inside your own head, when you read them back out again. It was a bit like magic, wasn't it? And suddenly I was seeing magic in every book!
Now, I can't say I was ever a prolific reader - especially compared to a few other people I know - and even to this day, I'm still rather picky about what book I choose, but I've certainly read enough to find out what I like and what I don't, and there's something incredible about the feeling you get after reading a good book. It was that feeling - that spark of magic and wonder that you can only get from a great story - that I realised I wanted to create, for myself. I wanted to write my own magic.
Let's just say it took a while.... Magic doesn't come easy, you know. And I might just be saying this to make myself feel better, but I don't think it's possible to get it perfect. I don't even think it really matters if it is or isn't. Everything you write, all the failures and victories, simply build towards a never-ending mountain of improvement, wherein the goal is always to just get better.
This mountain-climbing experience of mine has produced stories that will never ever see the light of day, as well as others that I've let loose into the wilderness of the internet. I've built my style from writing about small hairy creatures who liked to boogie (please don't ask), to now building whole cities with words, and filling them with time-travelling superheroes. I've grown from writing in secret for the fear of people disliking my work, to sharing it with the whole wide world just to hear what someone has to say about it.
That need to improve, to take what I've got and make it better, has been another driving force behind why I write, and has definitely helped me to write with more confidence, delving into ideas I never would have risked (or even imagined) when I was younger.
And since I've started to take writing more seriously, I've discovered just how many ideas there are, out there. I've got more in my head, right at this moment, then I'll ever end up putting into words, and that's only a speck of dust compared to the infinite possibilities that exist within the magical realm of writing.
There's only a few things in the world that I enjoy more than coming up with plots and worlds and characters, even if they only ever stay in my head, but one of those things is writing them down into a story, into a chapter and, one day, maybe even into a book. The world is a strange place; it always has been, and will likely remain such, but if we can find the one thing (or more, more is good too) that makes us happy, and gives us an achievable goal, then I believe we should pursue those things, no matter how many obstacles get in our way. Even if one of those obstacles is ourselves.
Sure, the writing game might be a difficult one to play on a professional level, and I went into it knowing that it's not for everyone. But it's the challenge that make it fun.
So, as I mentioned before, there's no single reason as to why I write. I do it because I want to create the magic I read every day. I do it because I love turning fantasy into reality, and sharing that new reality with others. I do it because, whether people read it or not, I want to prove to myself that I can.
I see books on shelves, in stores, in libraries, and online, and I know that behind every single one of those books was once a person just like me. A person with an idea, and the determination to see it through. And look at how far they got. If they can do it, then surely so can I.