Posted by: Kerry Gans | August 11, 2015

Back to Basics: Why I Write

Sometimes, since I have embarked on the road to publication, I forget why I write. I get so caught up in the minutia of good writing, it gets overwhelming. Character arcs. Story structure. Subplots. Show don’t tell. Kill your darlings. Polish the dialogue. Delete the adverbs. Watch the word count. The list of what it takes to write a good book seems endless. And to then market that book…Well, that’s a whole other story.

In the midst of all that, sometimes I think, “Why am I still doing this?”

I am not alone in the sacrifices writers make to write. In sleeping less to write more. In grabbing writing time at your child’s extra-curricular activities. In allowing my child to watch Kung-Fu Panda for the thousandth time so I can finish a blog post. In not watching any TV. In perhaps leaving the breakfast dishes in the sink until lunchtime just to squeeze out another 5 minutes of time. We all have different sacrifices, but we all have some.

When I first started writing, back in the days before computers, writing was pure fun. Creating people and worlds out of nothing—magic. Utter magic. The adrenaline rush of having words pour from my pen was addictive. You know what I mean—“the flow,” “the groove,” “the zone.” When I’m there, I lose track of everything—space, time, myself. And when I come back up, I blink and stare around like when you first walk out of a movie theater—not knowing what day it is or where I am.

I don’t get into that zone much anymore—I don’t have the large chunks of time I need to get that submerged. But sometimes I get that adrenaline rush when I go back and read something I wrote a while ago. It happened the other day, as I read parts of a book I last looked at a year or more ago.

I got lost in the writing. I got sucked in, and when I stopped, I thought: “Wow. It’s like a professional wrote that.”

Then I remembered that I was the professional.

Moments like that are what excite me and energize me now. It’s how I know I’m getting better at this writing thing. That all the slogging work has been worth it. When all the minutia falls into place, fades into the background, and lets the reader fly.

This is why I write—why I can’t give it up.

Because of those moments when I rise out of myself and hold the whole universe in my hands.

What keeps you writing?

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Responses

  1. I must. I am compelled to express myself. There are many ways to do it, but for words-people, writing is the only way. But express what? Thoughts, wishes, fears, hopes–the gamut of thought and feeling. And to what purpose? Catharsis? To teach? To create beauty? To tap into something profound? To entertain? Perhaps all of the above, and, when finally we have written, we feel like we were here, we were heard, we were seen.

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    • Most of us who write feel that way. I wrote long before I ever had any thought of getting published, and I will continue to write no matter what future my publishing career holds. We can’t NOT write.

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  2. What keeps me writing? An imagination that won’t shut down. Guess I got tired of keeping it pent up in memory neurons. Computers enabled writing for me with word-processing and ability to add, delete, and backspace with impunity. The typewriter was not friendly to my scattered and messy thought patterns.

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    • Yes, the computer has really helped all of us in the revising department! 🙂

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