Why I Write
I have a t-shirt that reads in big bold letters #WHYIWRITE. Every once in a while, a stranger will stop me on the street and ask me the very words blazoned across my chest. The funny thing is, I never know what to say. There are a myriad of reasons that I put pen to paper or fingers to keys. When they ask, I wonder if they really want the whole story, which could take an uncomfortable amount of time for me to explain, or if they simply want my elevator pitch, which will sound trite. I tend to answer somewhere in between the two. Even though they nod and smile, I often walk away feeling like my answer wasn't enough. So, I've thought long and hard about why I write, and I've come up my answer that may not satisfy but is, in all ways, true. Why do I write? I'm obsessed with it.
Writing, for me, is an addiction. I know this because when I am not writing, I'm thinking about writing, and just thinking about writing sends endorphins through my system. Like a true addiction, writing has interfered with my life. I've missed dinners out with friends, game nights with family, and even day trips to to the wine country so that I could write. Moreover, writing has interfered with my work. I've put off grading papers in the evenings, and I have to admit, I've scribbled out a few pages while my students were busy at their desks. Or maybe they weren't so busy. I probably wouldn't know since I had to get my protagonist out of a jam.
Reading used to be my obsession until I discovered writing. I believe that the two appeal to me for the same reasons. Like reading, writing takes me to another world. I read to find out what will happen next in this world, and I write to the same end. I become another person, experience life in another manner. But unlike reading, writing affords me the opportunity to control this new world and all that is in it. And power, as we all know, is addictive.
Writing isn't all rainbows and unicorns, of course. Writers know the pitfalls of writer's block and tedious revisions. Overcoming the challenges of writing makes the endeavor even more pleasing to me, though. The ups and downs of the writing process actually feeds my addiction. I have no desire to be cured.