Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Why I Write

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 I've been reflecting on the reasons I write, sort of a self-analysis, if you will. Sometimes one needs to step back and look at the broader picture to understand the smaller parts. After all, there are many types of writers out there. I've tried fitting my hexagonal peg into round and square holes in an attempt to find my place. All in vain, naturally. So then one wonders if writing is worth continued pursuit, hence the self-analysis. Conclusion? Yes, I'm a writer. Not a traditionally-published-bestseller-career sort of writer. And I'm okay with that. I think my love of writing would shrivel up and die if I was trying to be that.

 So what are my reasons for writing? For continuing to do it if it's not going to make money or win me fame? (Which, by the way, I think are shallow reasons for doing anything.)

1. Love of language. Not necessarily my primary reason, but I have always loved studying my language and other languages - to play with usage and form. From an early age I loved random study in the dictionary in order to learn new words and their meanings. I tend to enjoy older literature because of the rich language usage. It's like composing poetry in prose form, if that makes sense.

2. Love of stories. Can't get enough of them. Books, movies, anecdotes shared verbally with someone, memories and memoirs - oh, the study of humanity and what makes us tick. Our reactions and actions, our triumphs and sorrows - real or imaginary. It's another rich and fertile ground with so many possibilities. Stories that make me feel something aid in my personal learning journey.

3. I have ideas to share. There are so many of us on this planet, and only a few are heard or have the power to get their messages out. Everyone has something to say. Writing helps me speak out. Whether ideas on improvement, or concerns for something, or perhaps wanting to share the inner joy or sadness I feel over a situation or person. This is the experience mode that bleeds out onto the pages of what I write. I can't walk into City Hall and effect change, or influence anyone in a powerful position, but in an imaginary world, I can express and show my ideas, while playing with the possible results both good and bad. 

4. To keep my sanity. Yes, you read that right. Writing is a vent for me, a means to let out my pent up anxieties, anger, or whatever else I'm feeling. Often, this is writing in a journal or a letter to a friend, but it comes out in my fictional writing too. An hour or two of this kind of expression makes me a calmer, more clear-headed person. It's akin to sitting down at the piano and just playing out what I'm feeling. 

5. To keep me humble. Writing is hard work as much as a pleasure. It's a drive, but it isn't something I can just scribble off and be done with. I make lots of mistakes and errors. I've learned much, but always I'm reminded I have further I can go. Since writing is an act of communication, I have to make sure whether I'm jotting a note for someone or writing a novel, I'm being clear and understandable. Knowing there isn't an arrival point is sobering.

So whether I've had the opportunity of exchanging correspondence in some form or other with you, or you've read some of my blog posts, or my novel, or unfinished novels, you're getting a glimpse of a person who is learning and growing, who makes mistakes, who feels deeply, and one who couldn't give up writing even though she's wanted to in recent years. It's too embedded in who I am. I suppose that is the sum total of my self-analysis. 

 Of late, I've looked at people who aren't writers who seem to have more time, happier outlooks because their inner drive isn't constantly hammering at them to write, and I've envied them. Momentarily. Because when I plug myself into that kind of scenario (note, this is being a storyteller again), the richness of the meaning of my life is missing. Other key components are there, and I'd be lost without them, but the drive and one of the prominent fulfillments in my life is absent. I'm stuck. I'm a writer. So now the goal is to take this acceptance and continue down the path I'm on.

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If anything, I'll probably have a very entertaining autobiography for my posterity to read.

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