I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately (thus my absence from the blogosphere) and it got me thinking about why we do this creative thing called “writing.” What draws us back to our computer, our paper, our story?
It can’t be the pay– most of my novels aren’t published yet and thus haven’t earned a dime–and it can’t be the peace and tranquility it bring us. If anything, writing keeps me up at night, as my next scene pulses and stirs, for like the hectic in my blood it rages, and only writing cures me (to appropriate a quote from Shakespeare).
For me, personally, its the creative process itself. Yes, it’s the characters, the plot, the story, but it’s more than that. It’s seeing something I’ve only imagined come to life on a page. I liken writing a novel to an archaeological dig. You can vaguely see the outline of what you’re working on, at times, but you don’t know everything about it. There could still be details that surprise you. Scenes you didn’t know existed. Reactions you didn’t anticipate, and every shovelful of dirt, every sweep of a broom or brush brings you closer.
This is why I don’t mind rewriting or editing, because it’s just another way of bringing out what had been unseen. At the beginning of the creative process, we see as through a glass darkly, and we try to capture what it is we’re seeing. Sometimes, my Beta readers pick up things I’ve missed because I’m so focused on one part of the dig that I failed to see what is plainly there in another part. And sometimes, there are “red herrings,” where it seems like I’m on track to unveil a certain kind of story, when suddenly, as I get closer, something changes.
And for me, that’s the lure of writing. It’s an adventure, a collaborative work where the characters and story reveals itself to me as I go, and it’s my privilege to bring this artifact from another world to life, to where other people can touch it and see it and know it.
What about you? What motivates you to write?
Copyright 2016 Andrea Lundgren
Photos by mzacha and kakisky, Creative Commons
4 thoughts on “Why Do You Write?”
For me is the same. I’d never stop re-reading, rewriting and editing, often observing the emersion of not planned details, past events and independence of the characters from my (at least conscious) will.
I love character independence! It’s part of why writing is so much fun. But, if you never stop editing, how do you decide when to publish a piece?
I’d never, but of course at a certain point I must 🙂
I’ve started two days ago my new novel and there was a delay in the development of my original idea: starting with a prologue about the juvenile trauma of the main character, it was to serious to develope it in planned tones of the comedy. This evening I’ve realized that it can evolve only in a completely different way. It will be a very good novel, probably much better than the planned one, but it will be another thing.