I often see fellow writers griping about having to write, having to edit, having to re-read. I admit, I’m guilty of it as well. Non-writing types may see our complaining and ask “If it’s so much of a pain in the ass, why do you do it?”
Why do I do it? Why suffer through, especially when it’s not even my “real job”? Because, whining aside, I love it. Now those same people are scratching their heads asking me “Why do you love it? Sounds tedious. Sounds frustrating. Sounds…boring.” Can it be tedious and frustrating? Hell yes. Boring? Not so much, although I’m not sure non-writers will understand that.
Maybe you think my reason is cliche, what I’m expected to say, so let me go a little deeper. Why do I love to write? I love the power. Yes, I said power. I live in a world where I often feel I have no control over what happens to me. Call it fate. Call it destiny. Call it karma or bad luck. Whatever it is, it frequently leaves me feeling helpless, beaten down. When I write, I have control over my fictional world. I have the power to make things work out the way I want them to (providing my characters cooperate, other writers will understand what I mean). It lets me play out scenes from my own life in ways I wish they would have gone.
Writing provides an outlet. It lets me be the bitch I’m normally too polite to be in real life. It lets me be the pretty girl, the popular girl, the girl has things come more easily to her. It lets me be the hero or the villain or the spunky sidekick. Does that mean all my characters are representations of me? No. Yes, I’ve been picked on and bullied and had my heartbroken more times than I’d like to remember, but my characters are most definitely not me. There may be an aspect here and there. They may use a phrase I’m fond of in real life. They may lust over the same kinds of things that I do, but they’re definitely not me, so please don’t start analyzing them trying to figure me out. It won’t work.
Why else do I love writing? I love that it allows others an escape. Reading is one of my biggest passions and I love to spend a night on the couch, under a blanket, escaping into a world that is not mine. A place where my issues and troubles take no part. It’s magical, you know? I love that I might be able to do that for someone else. While I’m kind of shy to have people read my work (insecurities, I’ve got ’em!) I am so happy when they come back and tell me they enjoyed it, that they’re looking forward to a sequel, that they’re on Team Gabe/Chaz/Judd/Jazz (I am totally having shirts made for people! Heh). It feels good to know I can help others.
Writing is a passion. It’s more than a hobby. It’s time consuming, heartbreaking, amusing, hard work. Sometimes, I love it and hate it at the same time. I know some of you know what I mean by that. I might grumble and complain. I might opt not to hang out with friends and stay in on a Friday night to write. I might get bald spots from pulling my hair out in frustration, but it really is worth it in the end. To have just one person say they loved it? Kind of makes it all worth while people.
So why do you do it?