Monday, January 25, 2010

Why do we write?

I've been agonizing over my submission to the PNWA literary contest.  Is the synopsis alright, what about the submission piece?  What'll I do when I get the critiques back - knowing me I'll probably curl up into the fetal position and stare at the envelope alternating between whimpering and babbling nonsensical things.  Although anyone (all 10 of you) who read this blog know I'm apt to do that without the presence of a critique letter in my midst.

So it got me to thinking, why do we do this?  Why do we write, books, short stories, blogs, tweets?  Not everyone does.  There are people perfectly happy NOT writing.  There are people that are walking around at this very minute that do not share their waking time with fictional characters..ok maybe there are a few but they have medication for that.

Why do we feel this need, this compulsion, this obsession to write?  Why do we feel the need to tell the world a story - especially those of us with day jobs.  In olden days  writers had patrons - if you were lucky enough to bag one you were, more often then not, set for life.  That is unless you some how lost favor with said patron and then you'd be back with the rest of the rabble.

But even then...even back to hell..prehistoric times... why did some people feel the need to tell stories and why do we today?

I've always been puzzled by obsession to write... and, frankly, I've been plagued by it since I can remember.  I have a distinct memory of being in 4th grade and saying I wanted to be a writer.  And like most I became something totally NOT what I said I'd be.  Although I suppose writing computer programs CAN be a form of writing.

IF (i == Friends || i == Romans || i ==Countrymen)
printf("lend me your ears /n");
x+ = bury;
Um yeah.  * disclaimer  programmer folks, it's been YEARS since I programmed in C so yeah my syntax might be wrong *disclaimer

But the need to tell a story, and the living with characters that, at times, seem real.  Why?

Why do we write?  I wish I could say.  But I my protagonist is pounding in my head to get to this next chapter so I'd better do what she says.  I don't want to make her angry - you wouldn't like her when she's angry.


  1. Good question...and I don't know if I have an actual answer for myself. I write because I enjoy it, because I like to see characaters and theories take life, but also because I have this feeling (may not be healthy) that I can do it better than what's been done before. Or if not better, then maybe different enough to be interesting. Maybe this is my way of entertaining, of reaching outside my mostly introverted self? Or my way of answering the question of what if?

    As in, What If I decided to stop using the brakes in my car one day? What If life were like a video game? What If I said what I really felt? What If... well, you get the point. Maybe for us writers the mind is just an unhealthy place of crazy. Or maybe it's entirely healthy and the other people are crazy.


  2. Whoa, I'm with Jason on this. What if WE writers are the sane ones? Woooohooo.

    I've left something for you on my blog.

  3. As a programmer, I constantly struggle writer's block.

    Recently the mere thought of tackling this tough, seemingly rare bug through a multi-dimensional array that exists in memory only was enough to keep me glued to the TV or PS3 ... anywhere but tracking down the issue, fixing it and moving on.

    I'm much better with equations and variables than words, so its a good thing most of my writing is of the compiled variety.

  4. Mike, I understand completely. I don't know how many nights I would ponder a memory leak or why a perfectly good variable that had been initialized correctly was somehow getting another value! And oh those Multi-dimensional arrays or worse yet, pointers to pointers to function pointers .. those were murder