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Why Write?

Why Write?

Perhaps the greatest question that faces any aspiring writer is, Why Bother? In today’s technologically gifted world, it is easier to write than ever before. No longer does a writer struggle with a pencil and paper, or even a battered typewriter but the silky-smooth computer programmes and keyboards that are to writing what the jetliner is to travel; it opens up possibilities that were never before dreamed of.

For some.

So I have to think of why I write. Why take the time to record, to attempt to better express? I have never been accused of being a literary person. Though I have read widely and continue to attempt to feed the mind through reading, I doubt I could ever become so brilliant as to paint the beautifully detailed canvass as, to mention only a few, Salman Rushdie or Ernest Hemmingway, or my father’s favourite; Somerset Maugham.
I’m so literate that I had to check their name spelling on Google, just to make sure. Thank God for Google and Wikipedia is all I can say.

I think I like to write because it is some kind of therapy, or to vomit up a story that sits hidden inside like an exotic parasite. Being just a storyteller is not as clever as a literary genius, but still suits me well.

Writing can also help me to sound smarter than I really am. perhaps the best part of writing is to research and learn, to have the excuse to actually strive to understand something I was about to write. On attempting to make sure, to know a little more about the broad statement I was to write, I would sometimes engage in an hour of research to understand what the heck I was about to put down onto paper.

You can’t do that in conversation, unfortunately.

I like to understand the reasons for writing, especially a stated by better known writers. Because I try not to be a plagiarizer, I will even give my sources:

One my favourite authors, George Orwell (author of Animal farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four) believes there are four explicit motives for writing;

“They exist in different degrees in every writer, and in any one writer the proportions will vary from time to time, according to the atmosphere in which he is living,” he mused. For Orwell, writers write out of “sheer egoism, aesthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse, and political purpose.” Then goes on to suggest, “All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery.”

15 Famous Authors on Why They Write

Stephen King describes the best kind of writing as “intimate,” and said that in the end all writing is about “enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well.” King’s ultimate reasons for writing are, contrary to his content, quite cheerful. “It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”

Perhaps most similar to my motivations and process, the great horror and graphic novelist, Neil Gaiman, says that, “The best thing about writing fiction is that moment where the story catches fire and comes to life on the page, and suddenly it all makes sense and you know what it’s about and why you’re doing it and what these people are saying and doing, and you get to feel like both the creator and the audience. Everything is suddenly both obvious and surprising… and it’s magic and wonderful and strange.”

Oddly, often in the process of writing the story is revealed, not only to the reader but also to me, as if I also play the role of an observer or ghost writer. I believe that happens when the preparation has taken place, when the building blocks are available to be used in the story.

Here are a couple more quotations taken from:

There is a lot of on-line content if you wish to research Writer Motivation further.

Terry Pratchett of the quirky Discworld novels describes writing as “the most fun you can have by yourself.”

Children and young adult novelist, Judy Blume believes, “Those of us who write do it because there are stories inside us burning to get out. Writing is essential to our well-being.”

Far be it from me to gainsay any of these arguments of scholars and writer much brighter and more experienced than I. But I might add that sometimes we write, because it is enjoyable, both in the process and in the appreciation of the final product.

All I can suggest to anyone out there who might feel an itch to be creative, to be a wordsmith, a poet, or a bard, is to go for it! The process will develop your skills and, if someone else finds your work enjoyable and inspirational, it will have been worthwhile.

Rob Shackleford Writing in Canada
Writing in Canada

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