I've written posts like this before. I actually think every writer does to remind us that we're not crazy, and if we share our mission statements with others, it somehow solidifies in the universe that we are actually writers.
So here we go, my top ten reasons why I write in no particular order.
10. I am a list maker (as this post evidences,) and there is nothing more satisfying than manifesting my lists into stories. Nick Hornby's High Fidelity always spoke to me this way, and I picture Hornby - pen cap dangling out of the corner of his mouth like a cigarette - jotting down ten intriguing things happening around him. My lists aren't nearly as hip, but I capture images like a grocery list, and they worm their way into a narrative.
9. Writing cool dialogue makes me feel cooler. I am never nearly as witty in person as my characters are. They find the meaning in the inconsequential. They drop alliteration riffs with ease. They do not stutter over the word um. One day I will stockpile a stack of index cards full of cool observations and drop them like an artist's new tracks throughout the day.
8. It is the greatest homage I can think of to those authors who have shaped me as a human being. Thank you Gaitskill, Alcott, Hood, Proulx, Palahniuk, Rowling, etc. I aspire to be on someone else's list one day.
7. Cool pens. The rationale for a truckload of cool pens.
6. It's a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it. Actually many somebodies because fiction breeds empathy as illustrated in this article. And I believe the world needs more compassion, especially these days.
5. As a writer it is socially acceptable to drop everything and go park in a Starbucks with your laptop and stare contemplatively out the window because you ... are a writer.
4. Prolific writers are prolific readers, and when many talk themselves out of that late night trip to Barnes and Noble because they don't really need a book, I can say it is my research. It is my writing class in 200 pages, and if I return with a bag full of books, well that's practically a portable MFA. Right? Riiiiiiiiiiight?
3. Refer to #4 except with movies. And Netflix. A good narrative is a good narrative.
2. I can reconcile the truly miserable bits of the world through my writing. I just received an email the other day about a piece I'd written years ago. It detailed discovering my ex-husband with the 'other woman', and the person emailing wanted to know if it had really happened. When I confessed it was sadly all truth, she wrote back the following:
Sorry. He's a shit. You'll do better.
She's right, and when I wrote that piece I was so raw and vulnerable, but putting it down on paper trapped it under a glass lens and allowed me to draw distance and resolution. "Expectations" reminded me that I have a writer's brain, and a writer's brain can turn even the worst lemons into lemonade. (Or vice versa. We can also make the sweetest little situation into a nightmare. It works both ways.)
1. I love it. I've written since I could talk and hold a crayon, and whether my future takes me to the top of the NYT best seller list or simply allows me to share the way I see the world with others from time to time online, I'm ok with that. I write because I can't imagine a life without it.
Why do you write?
Writing has always been an escape, a passion, and a friend. And I love the fact that in my free time and through my career I can help others discover their voice, too.