Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Why I Write

I wrote the following essay for "Get to Know You Monday" on the Walnut Springs blog. It seemed to capture all the reasons I keep staring at a computer screen trying to make the story in my head make sense on paper. 
"I write because I made up my mind years ago that I would be published someday. Books have always been one of my favourite things. As a child I read all the time. When I was about five years old, I realized that all the books on the library shelves had to be written by someone. I decided then and there that someday I would have my name on the cover of a book and my story would fill the pages inside. 
I write to express myself. As a teenager, writing was a way for me to cope with all the confusing emotions that accompany high school. Most of that writing was poetry filled with teen angst but that poetry phase taught me how to use words wisely to be able to get the most power out of them. 

I write for the thrill of discovering the plot and becoming acquainted with the characters. I am not one of those writers who has endless story ideas fighting to be told, but I have enough and when I sit to start something new, there is always an idea that begs for attention. Once a story idea takes centre stage, I can’t put it away until it is done. 

I write for my children. I want them to see that their mother takes her talents seriously and that they, too, can accomplish anything they set their minds to. I also want to tell stories that they can read and that don’t have to be censored. I want them to see that a good story can be told without challenging the moral standards we have in our home.

There have been days when I try to talk myself out of being a writer. The reasons are varied, but it is an argument I never win. That urge to write is too strong. There is an inner voice that tells me to write, that assures me it is what I am supposed to do. The short answer is that I am compelled to write. It is what I do and I can’t imagine life without a story to tell."

That pretty much sums it up, although after a long discussion about the new book I'm working on, my husband came up with one more reason. He pointed out that I like to be in control of things. That is why, for example, I like to be in charge of events rather than be one of the helpers. As he listened to me make things happen in my stories, he came to the conclusion that I like to write because I can control every aspect of my characters' lives. It's a good theory. I'm not sure how true it is as I often lose the battle when I try to get characters to follow certain paths and instead they lead me on a merry chase through uncharted territory. I think I write because I have to know what the ending is. Discovering the story is where the fun lies. And even though I do love to be in control, nine times out of ten, the story just happens.

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