Here is Part II of "Why Do You Write?," with insights from six more writers. Part I can be found here. Based on the responses I've received, there is a disturbing trend on display: writers and insane and if they didn't write, they'd go out of their gourds. So the lesson is this: be nice to writers and buy their books. Right? RIGHT?!
Lately, I've had a lot of people ask why I write. This is usually preceded by, "I think you're a psycho!" Or, "You definitely have an imagination." Or, "Did your parents keep you locked up as a kid?" I just smile and indulge them. They usually walk away shaking their heads. Guess I'm not a very good salesman. So, let's try it: "You definitely have an imagination. Why do you write?" I always say, "Because I have to." "I don't get it," they say. "Nobody has to do anything." I point out that we have to breath and eat and sleep and...you get it, and like those life sustaining functions, I have to write. "Oh...so it's like an urge. Like a sex thing." Then they smile. "Not really." Though I would like it to be. Let's put it like this: If I DON'T write, I go psycho. If I DON'T write, I grow stagnant. If I DON'T write, I would rather be locked up and the key thrown away. It's just something I must do, something that consumes me, something that MAKES me. "You're just saying this to be cute," they say. "You really just want to be rich and famous." I wouldn't mind, no, but really, it's just a matter of necessity. If I didn't make a penny, If I didn't have a single reader, If no one would publish my musings, I would still do it. Everyday. Always. Plus...it's fun. And it buys me a taco or two every once in a while.
- Richard C. Hale, Author of Near Death
I think, fundamentally, writers write because we're driven to it. There are so very many stories, worlds, and ideas to explore that can only be expelled by the catharsis of words on the page. For me, it's like a passion, or possibly an obsession. Also, the voices in my head get grumpy if I don't let them out.
- Eugie Foster, Nebula Award-Winning Author of Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast
I write because I've tried not writing and it just didn't work. Whilst I love getting my stories published and I do want to be successful and create something memorable, those aren't the reasons why I do it, they're just by-products. I write for me. Because my life feels better for it. And I know that if I were told I would never have anything published ever again, I would carry on regardless because the stories will still be there in me, whether there's someone to read them or not.
- J.C. Piech
Writing allows me to empty out all those strange and annoying voices rattling around in my head on a daily basis. Seriously, it’s a creative avenue to write about all of the inspirations that surround us, whether it’s people, places or interesting tidbits of information. There are millions of stories out there just waiting to be written. I choose to write about crime, suspense, and mystery, but it’s so much more involved. Writing challenges me as much as it rewards me – I love that! I can hear the most innocuous story and think about all of the ways to make it more entertaining, oh and course, with a murder to two. I write because it is something that is a part of me and cannot imagine my daily life without it.
- Jennifer Chase, Author of Dark Mind
For as long as I can remember, my brain has always entertained me with stories. To be honest, I was perfectly happy keeping those stories to myself. When I shared some of my ideas with others, they challenged me to write a book. Once I got going, the story literally poured out. It was frustrating because my brain is not especially organized and shows me things out of order and I didn’t always know how things were going to work out; but during that process I discovered something else. It was…fun. I brought these characters to life. I created a world that I could share with others. All those times I lost myself in a book, and now I could do that for someone else. What an amazing thing. I realized that writing is a gift, and I shouldn’t waste it. Why do I write? Because I absolutely love it; writing is the greatest adventure of all. There are no limits; no boundaries. I can travel through time, meet supernatural beings, go to far off places, meet new people all of my own creation. How cool is that?
- M.E. Franco, Author of Where Will You Run?
Why do I write? Because if I don't, the voices get too loud inside my head! :) Slightly more seriously, for a long time I ran a tabletop roleplaying game for some friends. It was a hobby that let me be creative, and come up with new stories and worlds every week for them to explore and interact with. We stopped playing a long time ago, but my mind didn't stop coming up with new ideas. Writing is a way for me to express those ideas, and get them out of my mind. Admittedly that just gives my mind space to come up with even more ideas, but I'm sure I'll survive ;)
- Jason G. Anderson, Author of Gears of Wonderland