Well, blogging bud and fellow wannabe writer Linda asked a great series of questions at her place about why writers write what they do.
It gave me a great deal of pause, really. I’ve never thought about why I might be doing what I do when I sit at the keyboard and write. She had some great insights and shared some pretty honest stuff about her writing and then tossed it out to all of us in the Peanut Gallery: Why do you write what you do?
But she went deeper than that – as any good writer would – and asked a few more questions I found interesting. I’m not deep enough to expound on those things, or even to pontificate on them. But I did find them thought provoking and figured I’d at least try and scratch the surface here.
Why write that? Why write what you write?
I know if I move in certain circles I’ll be condemned eventually for what I write as fiction. Oh, I won’t go into the reasons here, because it’s never happened and even if it did I wouldn’t much care. But I’ve long held the belief what I write could never be what the condemning crowd reads. The twain can never meet, period.
But I thought about it and now I wonder. Hm.
I don’t write because I have to. I’ve stopped; stopped for a good long while. And I can stop, but won’t. I don’t care how many “gurus” and “published authors” say it, I’ll never heed the advice if you can quit, you should; real writers can’t stop writing.
That’s poppycock. I know a lot of writers and at some point, most of ‘em stopped for a time. Voluntarily. Until such a time as they didn’t want to stop anymore. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is their prerogative. I may be the best artist on God’s green earth, but if I don’t feel like drawing or painting, I ain’t gonna, and no one can tell me I have to.
I don’t write horror because I have to, either. I’ve written plenty of non-horror stuff, but it’s always gonna bend dark. Yessir. Some may not call it horror, and that’s fine. I don’t do gore, but I don’t do happy either. (Drives my wife crazy.) I tend toward the dark, the sardonic, the weird, the creepy and downright scary if I can achieve it (rare for me). Don’t read my stuff to feel good. Not gonna happen.
I don’t write for myself. I’ve tried that. It just doesn’t work for me. I’m not saying it’s not okay for others, but I know myself. I have to have someone read my work or I’ll go bonkers, end up twitching and drooling. I need the knowledge of intake by another person. My kids NEED to have one of us look at and approve of their drawings when they do them – all of them. No exceptions. My level of busy is irrelevant. Stop, Dad, and check out what I drew and say it’s cool or else there’s no point to us drawing.
They obviously get that from me. I have to have someone see what I’ve done. I have to. Megalomania? Narcissism? Maybe. But I need to have someone read my work.
This actually helps me a bit. Now I know one reason I write: To be read. But why do I write what I do? Why the horror feel? Do I need a plot or can characters drive my story? (I don’t think I exactly know what that last bit means, no matter how I try.)
I don’t know. But I know I write to be read, and the next logical step in that process is to get published.
Well … okay. The next step is to have something I can submit. Heh.
What drives your passion? Writers, why do you write what you write? do you know?