Saturday, December 6, 2008

So Why Am I Doing This?

With all the talk of this past week's "Black Wednesday," and posts about how we shouldn't write for money and how publishing houses are undergoing incredible upheaval, I began to think about my own writing.

I mean, if I'm not going to get rich and/or famous, why am I doing this?

(Until I find a font that oozes sarcasm, you'll just have to believe the best about me and such statements. Can I say, though, that it was a little satisfying to type something so petulant and self-absorbed?)

Many great writers have written about why they write. Some did it so well that they didn't even need a clever title.

I am (certainly) not those writers and this is not going to be that sort of post. But this past Wednesday, I did begin to wonder why I write. I couldn't begin to calculate how much time I've spent writing: evenings and mornings and in-between times devoted to spinning worlds that no one else might ever visit. Then there's the time that I've spent thinking about what I should write when I can get to the computer. I've even taken classes to learn how to write better.

If I'd spent all that time in a lab (and if I had a clue what to do there), I could have cured the common cold by now. Or at least some sort of minor rash.

I'd like to think that I do it for all the people who might read my stories. I wish I could write so selflessly. The truth is, though, that I rarely imagine them when I sit in front of the computer.

I think the closest reason I can come to is that I want to recognize something. You know that moment when you're reading a book and the author nails- absolutely nails- a moment or an emotion? You know know exactly what she's writing about.

I write and revise for those moments when my words sing, when they distill an experience and hold it there, right on the page. Maybe that's important to me because it means I better understand my own life. Or maybe it matters because it means I can at least describe the world I want to live in.

I'd love to think that perhaps other readers will have a chance to recognize something or someone in my writing. Yet if that never happens, there's still the satisfaction of wrestling with a portion of my story until it becomes more than the words I've used to write it.

Of course, there's also the satisfaction of having fellow Slushies give their approval. Believe me, it isn't granted lightly!

This doesn't mean that I know why I write. It's just my best guess at the moment. I'm still not sure that I could logically justify all that time I've spent. Believe me, though, I'll keep writing. Because I have to.

So, why do you write? Yes, you. (I'm hoping there's someone else out there reading this. Perhaps this post should have been about why I blog. I'm still pondering that question.)

And if you know of a sarcastic font, please let me know.

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