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Why do you write?

During the Q & A section of last night's New Jersey Authors' Network event in Manchester, NJ, someone in the audience (his name was Jerry (or Gerry)) asked an excellent question.

"Why do you write?"

My first response was, "Because it's fun."

He wanted more. "I get that, but why do you do all that editing and rewriting. What drives you?" 

After thinking about it some more, I said, "Because I want to read the kind of books I write."

I'm not sure what Gerry thought of my answer. I certainly didn't mean it in a vain or 'I write for myself, and I don't care if nobody else likes it' way.

There's a certain style of writing that I love. The mixture of daft, clever humor, combined with a serious, sometimes touching story and character development found in Terry Pratchett's Guards or Witches novels (from his Discworld series) falls nicely into that category. There are others, like Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat series, Douglas Adams, and to certain extent, Neil Gaiman, whose books I'll gladly read again and again. 

I'm not self-deluded enough to believe my writing's in the same league as theirs, but I'm working on it (the writing, not the self-delusion). In the meantime, I 'll continue to try my darndest to write the kind of books I love to read.

How about you?

Why do you write?

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( 38 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 4th, 2011 02:53 pm (UTC)
I can rationalize it in many different ways. But when it comes down to it, I'm not really sure.
Oct. 4th, 2011 02:54 pm (UTC)
Lol, in other words, 'As near as I can tell you, I don't know. :)
(no subject) - peadarog - Oct. 4th, 2011 02:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peadarog - Oct. 4th, 2011 02:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Oct. 4th, 2011 03:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peadarog - Oct. 4th, 2011 03:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 4th, 2011 03:07 pm (UTC)
No easy answer to that...

I've written stories ever since I learned to write, so it's not like I ever made a conscious decision to do it, I just did.

I can't help it!

I want to share the stories in my head.

I want to make space in my head for other things.
Oct. 4th, 2011 03:22 pm (UTC)
Lol, I love that last answer :)
Oct. 4th, 2011 03:57 pm (UTC)
I write because if I didn't I'd have to chew my arms off like a rabid dog. And after that figure out a way to stop banging my nose against the keyboard in an attempt to register some semblance of the english language on the screen.

Oct. 4th, 2011 06:55 pm (UTC)
Or you could just buy yourself one of those tape recorder thingies :)
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 4th, 2011 04:29 pm (UTC)
So your writing is spelbonding?
(no subject) - blood_of_winter - Oct. 4th, 2011 05:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Oct. 4th, 2011 06:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snapes_angel - Oct. 4th, 2011 08:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rymrytr - Oct. 5th, 2011 02:08 am (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 4th, 2011 05:26 pm (UTC)
Honestly, I hate to give the canned answer but I really write because I get twitchy if I don't. I love to read and it thrills me when I can bring together all the elements for an entertaining story.

Plus, admittedly, one day I'd like to write a bestseller and make pots o' money ;)
Oct. 4th, 2011 06:56 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a plan to me :)
Oct. 4th, 2011 05:58 pm (UTC)
  1. It's the only thing I'm any good at.
  2. There is a pain in my soul which will not be silent.
    So I've had to leard to express it well.
  3. Kareen was nineteen that day a minute ago when he said goodbye to her at the railroad station. He was four months in training camp and eleven months in France so that made her over twenty. Then the time he had lost completely would probably even it up to another year. And now another. And others to come others and others. Kareen must be twenty-two by now. She was at least twenty-two. Three years. It would go on that way as long as he lived. Ten more years and Kareen would have lines. A little later and her hair would be gray and then she would be an old woman an old old woman and the girl at the station would never have existed.

    He knew it wasn't true. Kareen would never grow old. She was still nineteen. She would be nineteen forever. Her hair would stay brown and her eyes clear and her skin fresh like rain. He would never let one line mark her face. That was something he could do for her that no other man on earth could do. He could keep her safe beside him young and beautiful froever safe from time in the world he had built where time moved according to orders and every Sunday was spring.
    -Datlon Trumbo
    Johnny Got His Gun
Oct. 4th, 2011 06:57 pm (UTC)
Fair enough :)
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 4th, 2011 09:52 pm (UTC)
You have some scary voices. Mine just tell me to eat pigeons ;)
Oct. 4th, 2011 08:52 pm (UTC)
Pretty much because I can, same as you; but when you have so many stories, characters, and snippets of scenarios dancing in your head, it's either write, or go stark, raving, sane. At least writing, you can try to make sense of it all.
Oct. 4th, 2011 09:52 pm (UTC)
And it's fun too, right? ;0
Oct. 4th, 2011 10:00 pm (UTC)
I guess I just like to tell stories...

BTW, we seem to like similar types of writing (and some people say that my humorous work is hauntingly similar - particularly in "The Curse" - but I won't spam you here (that's what my blog is for, after all!))
Oct. 4th, 2011 11:52 pm (UTC)
That reminds me, it's about time I had another 'Pimp your work on my blog' post :)
Oct. 4th, 2011 10:06 pm (UTC)
I write because...because...I don't know. Honestly, I've never NOT written. It's like asking, "Why do you talk?" Hmmm...and there is your answer, I suppose. I speak to communicate, and that's probably a good answer to why I write.

Besides, if I kept all these characters and stories in my head, it would probably explode.
Oct. 4th, 2011 11:54 pm (UTC)
Just think, if nobody wrote, there'd be no books, but all manner of conspiracy theories about why people's heads keep blowing up :)
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Oct. 5th, 2011 12:15 am (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 4th, 2011 11:29 pm (UTC)
After a brief alcohol-induced crash earlier, pegging away at this blasted MS at ridiculous o'clock, I realise the answer -

- I would go insane otherwise.
Oct. 4th, 2011 11:55 pm (UTC)
Lol, insanity if you don't and possibly even if you do, right?
Oct. 5th, 2011 02:17 am (UTC)


Writing is the only time I'm totally unaware of life in general. I don't know that time exists; I'm not hungry or thirsty; I don't have any desires interrupting my existence inside the "eleventh dimension".

The pleasure of unawareness and the added reward of seeing what is being typed on the screen. Reading what I write because, although I have a vague idea to start with, I have no direction, plot or per-supposed ideas.

Oct. 5th, 2011 10:35 am (UTC)
Excellent answer, Warren. Thanks for sharing :)
Oct. 5th, 2011 03:59 am (UTC)
Honestly, Jon? I'd have to give the cliched answer: I write because I must. I love stories, and love to tell them. But then, I agree with Brenda Ueland that everyone should write, because everyone has at least one story to tell - their own.

And it is fun when it's going well! No harm in doing something because you enjoy it; that seems like a good reason to me. If you don't like your own book, how can you expect readers to like it?
Oct. 5th, 2011 10:36 am (UTC)
If you don't like your own book, how can you expect readers to like it?

Lol, good point :)
Oct. 6th, 2011 04:12 am (UTC)
What I have to say takes so long no one wants to listen to it all.
Oct. 7th, 2011 10:47 am (UTC)
You know, Paul, when I find a reply getting too long, I turn it into a blog post instead :)
(no subject) - paulwoodlin - Oct. 9th, 2011 06:41 am (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 7th, 2011 09:11 pm (UTC)
My brain makes up stories whether I tell it to or not. I started writing them down because I wanted to find out the full story, not just little snippets. It was fun, so I kept doing it.

A tougher question is why try to get published? Partly for the validation, partly to share the stories with other people.
Oct. 8th, 2011 08:48 am (UTC)
A tougher question is why try to get published?

That's a different post in itself, and an excellent answer too :)

( 38 comments — Leave a comment )

Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there



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NJ Writing groups - compressed

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