Why Do You Write?

I have two little kids. Boys. Tiny, messy, moody and irrational beastlings, really. Make no mistake, I love them and would give up every other part of my life for them if I really, really had to (wow I really hope I don’t ever have to. that would suck.) But this whole writing thing is sometimes harder because of the Mom job that I have to do most of the time. And I was thinking about that, but that’s probably a different post. What it led into this morning was this…

Since there is really quite a lot going on in my life outside of the time I spend pecking at the keyboard producing what might equate to pointless drivel, why do I bother? Why do I go to great lengths and invest so much effort in writing? Or trying to write? What is it that makes this important to me?

I’m not sure I have an answer. I have recently committed seriously to writing, to really trying to get a novel OUT THERE. But I don’t know why that feels so important to me. I know I have to do it now. And maybe from now on. Because I’m not getting any younger, and let’s face it, though I come from healthy stock, the fourth decade of a person’s life is often when nasty health-related things tend to pop up. And it’s easier to write when not distracted by cancer (or so I imagine.)

Since that was a thought I had on this topic, it led me to wonder if I feel that I must produce something to leave behind, if this drive to write is produced by my own pointless desire for some form of immortality. Do I really believe that the world will simply not be as good a place without a paranormal young adult romance from Delancey Stewart? No. I think the world would keep right on spinning, ghostly love story aside. I am certainly not arrogant enough to believe that I have something SO important to say that it simply must be said.

I’m going to have to think on this some more, though I doubt I’ll ever find a concrete answer. There is something in me that wants to write. It’s possibly as simple as that. Maybe it doesn’t matter much what I’m writing, though fiction makes me feel like I get to be in charge, and anyone who knows me knows that I like that a lot.

What do you think? What drives us to create, or specifically to write?

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Writing the Fear…

I’ve often read that if a writer is searching for a topic or subject to inspire her, she should reach toward her deepest fears, give voice to the unspeakable. I’ve thought about that a lot. And I wonder if it’s wise.

Most of my deepest fears revolve around my children. I am not a superstitious person, but even I feel that writing down the deepest fear I feel might in some way jinx me, make it come true. And even if that is impossible, this idea so frightens me, pushes me so close to deep, high-pitched irrationality that I won’t risk it. But you probably know what I’m getting at, especially if you are a parent. I’ve got some others, too… things that are just little flitting thoughts or passing feelings that I grasp on to that make me think, “what if I really felt that way all the time? What if I acted on it?”

I have no doubt that building a fiction around the ideas that most frighten me would probably draw out some passion, maybe charge the words with a bit more than my usual wattage. But would it be worth giving voice to the fear?

I also worry about the long term repercussions… “Mom, why did you write that? Was it about me?” There is always an element of truth in every fiction, isn’t there? Some spark of reality that sends the story unraveling in its own fanciful direction. Would it be right to do that to my children? To use them as fodder for fiction? Especially fiction that I fear would be dark and gritty?

What do you think? Have you written from fear? Can you name any well known works that might have come from such a place?