Why do I write?

All writers have varying reasons why they write one thing or another. Yet, why write at all? Why do I write?

Charles French asked this question and challenged his readers to answer it for themselves. What follows is my attempt.

I don’t have a biography that dates back to early childhood when I would speed my way through story books and have to write my own sequels to keep the story going. I did do my local library’s summer reading contest, but sometimes I read shorter books just to boost my numbers.

I don’t have a compulsion to write where I get physically ill when I’m not producing words or building worlds. I worry about people who say that and I think they should talk to their doctor about twice-daily “settle the hell down.”

I don’t have a sense of fulfillment when I finish a piece or satisfaction when I’ve put something out there to be read. I have a strange disconnect when I put a piece of writing in the “done” box of my brain. It’s still mine, but not only mine, and I’m okay with that.

I do enjoy the process of writing, the feel of stamping out my thoughts into these little stick images of letters. I like how I can take these feelings and broadcast them to a wider audience and understand that some will resonate, others will not.

I really love writing down what I see in my head, because writing has always felt more like transcription rather than invention. I am leaning into one myth while disrupting another, but while I know that I am creating each line out of my own will and the influence of writers I’ve consumed (not literally – what have you heard?), but there is a liminal zone between the thought and my emittance of the thought that feels physical and wide, giving me the illusion of channeling a separate sphere.

It’s not. I’m just making stuff up, but it feels cool.

That’s it!

I write because it feels cool.

Why do you write?

Late Start

It’s the time of year when we make promises to ourselves and post them publicly, in the hope that it will keep us accountable.

There’s no real rule, nothing written in the universe, not even etched in the ancient ruins of past civilizations, that says you have to start anew on the 1st of January. Sure, there may be nods to a time of beginning, perhaps a cataclysmic ending that suggests a new start, but no one is going to put a ticket on your head for breaking the resolution rule. Resolutions are all about buying stuff anyway.

This year I am purposefully not buying stuff (aside from eBooks, which don’t take up room in my tiny space) because I have often begun anew with good intentions and grand designs and then wake up (usually within the first three weeks) to a stack of stuff that I’m ignoring and now have to make room for. In some places, it’s called the ADHD tax. I call it a pain.

I struggled with goal setting though, since there are actual things I’d like to and need to accomplish. I have bought and tried many systems and apps (I’ve discussed this before) but I never follow through. This is a song I’ve sung many Januarys. It’s my Auld Lang Syne.

In the past few years, I’ve seen people talk about a “word” of the year, and I think that’s part inspiring and comical. I thought about having the word “FINISH” as my word of the year for 2024, but I am acutely aware that the universe likes to take your wishes, twist them, hit you in the gut with the twist, and dare you not to say thank you. I’m not taking chances that the thing I end up finishing is myself.

Ultimately it’s a choice between whether I want to write or not write. Do I want to sit here, a year from now, and have the same conversation with myself (and then with you)? Or do I want to look back and think, that’s some stuff I got done? Go me.

I know, I know. But it’s January. Let me have my illusions.

*swish* (⊃。•́‿•̀。)⊃━⭑・゚゚・*:༅。.。༅:*゚:*:✼✿

Keeping those dry spells short

And as with all patterns, we can look at them as self-contained little programs: they have a trigger, they execute certain actions, and they have an (often elusive) off-switch.

I find that when I spend a day doing writing-related work, but not writing, I go into the wrong rabbit hole and get away from my story. This is a pattern I now recognize.

And as with all patterns, we can look at them as self-contained little programs: they have a trigger, they execute certain actions, and they have an (often elusive) off-switch.

So, now that I am finally recognizing this pattern, I can expect the off-switch, in fact, I can accelerate the program by eliminating many of the repetitive strings of behavior that take place before despair forces a new action (and a new program).

My writing program can be overwhelming at times, and I’ve come to understand that if I relax some of that binge-writing behavior, I can sustain a writing practice for longer – or, more realistically, I can keep the distraction program at bay. It will still appear and it will still run, but knowing that a thing has an ending makes it easier to endure.

Like all that advice when you have a bad break-up that boils down to “this too shall pass,” while feeling like nonsense in the moment, is 100% true (if you let it, that is).

So, I saw the end of the thing, I made some good use of the distracting functions within the larger program itself, and now I’m heading back to the writing program – literally and figuratively.