07 September 2010

Why Do We Do It?

So here I am again at the eleventh hour (actually it's the twenty-second-th hour of the day as it's 10pm on the night before this blog post will be published, but you know what I mean), wondering (again) what the heck I'm going to blabber about. It's the same every time my turn at blogging comes around. I never ever have a clue about what it is I am going to talk about. Usually I manage to cobble something together at the last moment, but I am almost out of time here and I'm still pretty stumped. I'm a little twitchy - well, bordering on panicking in actual fact - because if I don't get something written NOW, then nothing will appear at midday tomorrow.


This actually sums up my entire writing history now that I think about it. I dither, I find other things to do (usually some sort of cleaning), I decide it's time to read that book that's been sitting on my shelf for the last six months, I - well, I think you can get my drift here.. Anything will do, as long as I don't have to sit down and do anything constructive.

It's not that I don't enjoy writing, because I do. Obviously I do, or I wouldn't be sat here tonight rambling away. I write for this blog because my collaborators are my friends, and writing friends at that. We joined forces because we all shared a love of creating a little magic with the written word. It just seems a little odd that considering it is something that I love so much, I find it really hard to knuckle down and get to it.

So why do I do it?

I don't know what it is precisely that drew me to writing in the first place. I guess I was initially attracted because I love to read. I think most writers start off as avid readers. Creating a story, be it a one page short or a 1,000 page novel, isn't something you can do if you don't hold a little love for the written word. It's a thankless task in  most cases. It's not like the majority of us get paid for our work. How many people would go out to work without pay, I ask you. Aside for voluntary work for charities and what not, not many people would keep slogging away at something if it wasn't paying towards their bills.

Yet writing is different. It's not a job, it's not something we need an alarm clock to get us out of bed for. For the serious writer, writing is something that we simply have to do. It could be that nobody will ever read our work, but we still do it. Unless we are incredibly lucky as well as hard-working, it's pretty likely that most of our work will never go beyond our hard drives or that dusty drawer at the back of our desks. Not that I'm trying to depress you or anything, I'm just stating fact.

You would think that this would be disheartening, but I actually think it works in our favour, We can be knocked back many times, and we can maybe spend years trying to hook that elusive agent or publisher, but no matter how many times we get discouraged, there's always a chink of hope, and it is this hope that I believe gives us, as writers, a little edge.  The chance that maybe that day will come when people, beside your friends and family (and in my case, my fellow Burrowers), will read your work and think Damn, that was good! (or words to that effect) keeps us going.

Of course, you have to actually get something written in order to be in with a chance of getting published. *shifty* Which brings me back to the eleventh hour thingy. I can write, I know I can. I'm not trying to big myself up here, but it's true. When I kick my butt into gear and make myself work on something, I get it done. But the funny thing is, I tend to write better when I am rushed. The stuff that I write when I force myself is passable, maybe even good, but when I hit the Panic Stage of a project, that is when I'm at my best and I can churn out thousand word chunks of story in one writing session (as opposed to twenty words, a dozen games of Bejeweled Blitz, and an hour wasted browsing on Facebook in ordinary 'writing sessions').

Although it's annoying to be this way, and I really wish I wasn't so much of a procrastinator sometimes, it's actually quite nice too. I mean, these crazy writing session that, okay I admit it, are a rarity, show me that I'm not being an idiot by thinking of myself as a writer. When the Frenzied Muse strikes I get such a buzz, it really is incredible. I don't think I've ever had such a feel-good vibe happen to me at any other time. Only writing can give me that super-high, and this is what keeps me going, despite the months that drift by without anything really happening on the creative front. It's always there, this writing thing, and no matter how much I dither and find other things to do, it's always waiting for me to return.

Writing, at least for me, is like a friend. I can turn to it in my hour of need (nothing like writing an angsty thousand worder to get things off your chest), I can vent my frustrations by being horrible to a character that truly deserves it, and I can 'spread the love' by penning something light and frothy. And the good thing about this friend is that it never judges me. I could write ten pages of crap, and it won't roll its eyes and me and back away slowly, crossing its arms to ward me off.

And that's why I do it. Yes, my dream is to one day have something in print, but for the most part I am happy to know that if all else fails, I have something to fall back on. Friends can drift away, whether by accident or by force, but writing will always be my companion.

What about you? Do you write to live, or live to write?

Image courtesy of wwwdotpdphotodotcom


Hart Johnson said...

So if we can temp a thug named Vinnie into threatening you, you will finish your second book? *shifty* I CAN write, and write WELL...

I can get distracted, too, though it is the editing I avoid. The writing is fun. It's the REwriting that is the big suck...

Unknown said...

Funny how something we love so much can be so hard to actually sit down and do! For me, the trick is just diving in. Once I actually start typing, it's much easier.

ViolaNut said...

Yep. My main barrier is just STARTING things. Once I start, my bull-headed stubbornness usually carries me through. ;-) So go write already. *snort*

CA Heaven said...

Neither. I enjoy writing but can live without it. Life without math and science would be more difficult for me.

Cold As Heaven

Amber T. Smith said...

Tami - Gawd yeah, editing sucks. Hate it. Hate, hate, hate it.

I don't think threats from thugs will work, though it might be worth a try. *snort*

K.M. - I'm actually the same. Well, usually at any rate. It's the starting that's the biggest problem for me. Once I get going, I can usually keep chugging away.

Leanne - I'm sensing a pattern here. And you'll be happy to know that your pestering is wearing me down - I wrote just under 2k the other day for my 'Purple Project'. Of course, I SHOULD be editing Cardiffella, but there we are.

Cold As Heaven

Maths and science scare me. Probably because my brain can't cope with them. Far too complicated for me, though I get the attraction. I just wish I understood these subjects a little better, maybe they wouldn't give me the heebie-jeebies then...

Oh my goodness - I remembered to reply! *faints* I really need to do this more often. :)

ViolaNut said...

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAY! *Kermit cheer* And I just typed about 1500 words' worth of Edwin. The elusive Chapter 4, no less. Let's nag each other more often. ;-)