I’ve never been one of those writers who writes because she has to. I always hear writers say that writing is like breathing for them. If they didn’t write, they’d suffocate and die.
I could easily live my life without writing. Because writing (for me) is hard work. It’s not the thing I do to survive, it’s a thing I struggle through and have to convince myself to sit down and do it. It’s not like breathing for me. I don’t simply sit down, inhale, and exhale beautiful prose. It’s not that easy.
And yet, I write anyway.
I write because I enjoy the process. Yes, it’s hard work, but it’s work that I enjoy. In the same way that people claim to enjoy running (those people are truly crazy, for the record), I enjoy writing. It’s my workout.
Do I enjoy waking up early in the morning just to write? No. Sleeping is much nicer than writing.
But do I feel better about myself when I do it? Yes.
I do not write to make money, although any writer would laugh at the obviousness of that statement.
I could stop writing right now and most people wouldn’t even notice.
And yet, I write anyway.
I write because it’s fun to create stories and play with words. I play with words like kids play with legos. I’m constantly putting them together and breaking them apart again only to reassemble them a few more times in a few different patterns.
I could say that I write because if I didn’t, my brain would never stop chattering, but my brain doesn’t stop chattering no matter what, so I’m not sure that’s true either. Writing might be feeding into that chatter instead of quieting it, if we’re all really being honest.
Which brings me to my next point: I write because it forces me to think. Writing keeps my brain moving and talking and turning things over. Reading does this, too, which is why one should never have one without the other. Reading is the cake to my writing coffee.
I do not write because otherwise I would die. I write because someone once gave me a book and I read it and I liked it, and then later I realized that someone wrote that book and I was impressed to the point of envy, so then I picked up a pen and a piece of paper and the rest is history.
And perhaps the reason I keep writing is that I keep reading books that impress me to a point of – well, not envy anymore, but instead now it’s inspiration. Perhaps that is my driving force. I keep reading things that make me say “Oh man, that is good. I wonder if I can do that, too.” And then I’m off. I’m at my laptop or my notebook and words are coming out and I don’t even know how to keep up some days.
But then there are plenty of days where the activity doesn’t make it that far.
Because it’s easy for me to not write, too. It’s easy to read books and fill my day with other distractions. It’s easy to watch amazing movies and tv shows and play incredible video games. It’s easy to take up baking. It’s easy to not write.