Like many others, I am one of those who writes because I can’t -not- write. The satisfaction I get from writing is one I can find nowhere else, with the exception of other sister forms of art such as painting or writing music. And yet I’ve come to learn that painting and music are not where my true talents lie; I only dabble, they are good friends who visit on random occasions, but writing is my spouse, and I did not chose her, she chose me. I have attempted to be free of her, but she knows I will always return, despite the fact that she can at times be cruel, cold, fickle and flighty.
There are common reasons why writers write. The need to express ourselves, the need for attention, the need for distraction, the desire to entertain ourselves and others. The key word here is ‘need’. We write because we need to. It’s a compulsion. I don’t always want to write, in fact, there are times when I will do anything but. Though I get my greatest moments of internal accomplishment from it, there are times when it simply feels like work.
Still, it’s work I’d rather be doing instead of other work. But I’m a spatial thinker, not a linear one. I cringe at the word “outline.” I’m extremely organized, but in a way that only makes sense to me. I try to focus on one task at a time, but end up ping-ponging around, a little bit here, a little bit there, and it’s hard for me to even remember how exactly my time is spent. And yet, I’m self-employed, and my motivation and structure must come completely from myself rather than an outside force, for both the work I have to do, and the writing I’d rather be doing. So I write to convince myself that my time is not wasted, because although common sense may dictate elsewise, the writing is worthwhile, while the other stuff that pays the bills more often than not feels like just that—a means to an end.
At its core, I write because the world is a terrible place. There’s little I can do to fix it. Within my own worlds, however, pleasures are sustainable, uprisings are successful, the evil corporate tycoon-slash-plastic-surgeon hack dies in an upside-down doomsday room filled with diamonds and his own discarded entrails, the way one such man does in my novella, Subterran, my contribution to the Summer Writing Project. The bad guy loses. Or does he? In a world that reflects our own world, who can know the truth. Writing allows me to taunt reality, to turn the dial up to 11 in an attempt to make the reader see the absurdity of our own world. I write both to escape, and to condemn.
Because as writers, we’re all masochists, drowning in the joy of our minds’ whispers. So come on. Laugh and cry with me at the same time.