Why do I write? Well, it turns out, lately, I’m not too sure why. I’ve been in something of a down swing, or at least it feels that way. It’s been a year since I’ve any work accepted anywhere—rejections and nothing but rejections fill my inbox. I’ve had two different literary journals ask to read more work, only to have them reject those stories as well. I had another journal ask for a revision of a short story, which—you guessed it—they rejected in the long run. I started a novel, got a long ways into, and then realized it had no absolutely plot, so I abandoned it and felt terrible I couldn’t finish it and wasted all that time on it. And all this has made me wonder not just why I keep writing but of it’s worth it at all.
Yet here I am writing—yes, and maybe feeling a little too sorry for myself with all this whining—about all the frustrating and demoralizing things that come along with writing. Because even on the bad days and through the bad months, I still sit down and write every day. I know good and well that having a story accepted or something published doesn’t magically erase all those bad days, and they certainty don’t make the work any easier. So why do I worry so much about the rejections and failures? I’m not so sure. Maybe because all writers want some kind of validation.
But back to the question at hand: why do I write?
I write because I am both a pessimist and an optimist. I might never have a story accepted again, but I believe an acceptance is right around the corner. That last novel I attempted was really terrible, but this new one I started is going really well—knock on wood, fingers crossed, etc. I may only write a couple of sentences today, but tomorrow I’m going to write pages upon pages.
And most of all, I write because it is a promise I make to myself. It’s a promise that even though anxiety and panic steals my voice, I can still type all the words that are in my head. It’s a promise that even if I feel like a coward, writing makes me brave. It’s a promise that even though the world is complex and chaotic, I still want to understand everything about it. It’s a promise that while I sometimes think I have nothing, I have my writing. It’s a promise that even if sometimes it feels pointless to be a writer, being a writer is the whole point.