Saturday, July 18, 2009

Why writers write (or rather, why this one does)

"Writing is the easiest thing in the world," Sportswriter Red Smith is supposed to have said, "All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein."

I feel like posts similar to this are a dime a dozen out there in the grand blogosphere -- more so in the publishing ones I frequent -- but that's not really the point. The point is that writers are a particular breed of people; the kind that looks at the world through a more imaginative prism than a large portion of the populace. Musicians and artists are similar, all creative people are really, in this respect. While a singer or painter may work in notes and brush strokes, writers craft their art with words and language and turns of a phrase that can, on occasion, sing.

Like most creative endeavors, writing is not a surefire way to make it rich. The likelihood of a novelist being able to support his or her family only from writing happens to something like 1% of authors, equally out to about 100 people at any given time. I forget where I saw that number, but it was most likely on one of the aforementioned publishing blogs listed over on the right.

I've purposely avoided answering the blog title's question thus far. You may (or may not, I don't judge) ask why. To build dramatic tension of course! OK that didn't work. Crud. So here's the short version: Why does this writer write?

Because it's fun.

I get to create new worlds, new people, new cultures, and set them to spinning in such a way that sometimes I don't even know what's going to happen. It's a blast and a half to write a sentence, a paragraph, a chapter, or an entire story that transports someone to another place and time, no matter if that place is Paris in the 1800s or Proxima Centauri in the late 23rd Century.

The money would be nice, but that's not important. The challenge of writing a compelling story is enough for me. If I manage to do that, then I call it a win.

And that's why I write.

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