Why do I write?
Posted by LizzyBeth
I suppose this is a question that all writers must ask. It may sound rather simple but I think that it contains the answer to a deeper question: What drives you to write? If it is fame or money…sadly, you are in the wrong profession. Tolkiens, Orson Scott Cards, and Rowlings are few and far between. But I think that every writer should at least aspire to be like their favorite and greatest authors. I am not here to telling what should be your motivator for writing, I just know that there are better ways at becoming famous or rich.
For me, I write because I have a story or stories or maybe it is just the desire to say something important and the only thing that comes out is a series of words that form a strange mixture of myth and reality which can only be understood through narration. That being said, I suppose, I struggle with my rationale for writing. Because, for me, writing is a need and I am not good at it. My grammar is dreadful, my spelling is appalling, and I have this amazing ability to not write what I mean and read what is not written on the page. But you say, “I am an English Major!” I know, you tell me about the irony of this! I have lived with it my whole life.
But I need to tell stories. Stories are like…what is a good analogy? It is not so much as an itch that must be scratched but like breath to a drowning man or a glimpse of color to a blind man. And even that analogy only explains my inspiration for stories but not the need to tell them. When I was little, my mom said that I would circle all my toys around me and for hours I would sit there babbling to them telling them stories. When I got a little older and I had chores and other responsibilities, I could not got five minutes with telling a story to accompany me in my task. Now that I am not a child, instead of vocalizing the stories, which I am sure–though amusing to everyone else–would just be creepy, I write them down.
I do not understand this compulsion and I wonder if other writers experience this same sort of craving. I often times wonder if I understood it, would I actually finish a story or would I just go mad from the sheer force of that understanding. I do not think that my need to tell a story makes me a better writer, it just means I write regardless of my skill and I pray that my friends will be honest and tell me if the story is crap or actually worth saving. But I do think that some of the best stories I have read have a need to be told. I think of Lewis’s Till We Have Faces, that was a story that he tried to write several times in his life and it was only near the end that he finally was able to create the story he had been wanting, needing, to tell. What drives us to write? Is it that story that story you have been longing to tell? The character that needs an adventure? A a world that needs a language, a myth, a history?
So brave readers and writers, I ask you to consider the question: why do you write?
About LizzyBethThere is a Story inside of me that I must give a voice. I write so that imagination can take me to Faerie and I can catch a glimpse of the Otherworld and hopefully so will you.
Posted on April 15, 2011, in C. S. Lewis, Fantasy, Grammar, Inspiration, J. K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, Orson Scott Card, Rachel Burkholder, Story, Writing Hints and Helps and tagged C. S. Lewis, Good Reading, inspiration, reading, Story, writing. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.