Hi, SEers! Mae here with a simple—or maybe not so simple—question.
Why do you write?
What compels you to spend hours, days, weeks, months or more, crafting a single story? Why does the story form in your head to begin with? Is it birthed from characters who won’t leave you alone, or does it form as a plot with grayed out faces? Once you tell a tale, why do you go back to the drawing board and start another? What spurs you to create?
You may be familiar with a quote that runs along the lines of “if you’re a writer, your days are spent writing or thinking about writing.”
I know that’s true for me. Rarely does a day pass when I’m not engaged in one or the other. I find it mind-boggling other people can walk around giving absolutely no thought to crafting fiction. For those of us who live and breathe writing, that seems impossible. Yet only a small percentage of the population identifies as writers—despite over 81 percent thinking they have a book in them.
How often have you heard someone say, “I think I’ll write a book.”
I equate that to me saying “I think I’ll paint a sunset.” I might be able to visualize a sunset, imagining the tapestry of colors and the way those hues melt into the horizon. I may see it perfectly in my head, but I’d be clueless how to transfer that vision onto canvas. I respect the skill of an artist, just as I respect the skill of a musician. Strange you never hear anyone say, “I think I’ll compose a song,” or “I think I’ll paint a picture.” But mention you’re a writer and a complete stranger will tell you, “I’ve always thought I should write a book.”
Part of me wants to think they’re just being chatty and trying to find common ground. The other part mentally runs through the years I’ve dedicated to the craft, the intricate nuts-and-bolts of technique I’ve had to learn, the long hours of nurturing a story, wrestling with characters, writing, revising, editing, networking, marketing. I usually end up smiling and telling the would-be-novelist to give it a whirl—that it’s a highly rewarding experience.
But in the trenches, we know reward is minimal. For the bulk of us, there is no big paycheck when the book is done. No public accolades, reviews in major publications, or rounds visiting the talk show circuit. But there is satisfaction. We’ve told our tale, giving rein to those characters who clamor in our heads, to story ideas that refuse to fade into oblivion. We publish, and are thankful to have readers and reviews, even if we’re not on the NYT Bestseller list.
So, I’ll ask again—why do you write?
If no one ever read a word you’d written again, would you still write? Would you spend long hours of story building, drafting, revising, and editing if the only person ever to see your work was you?
Think about it. Then tell me your thoughts in the comments below. Let’s get some discussion going!
Ready, set, go!