Why I Want to Write

The past two weeks, I’ve been reevaluating my writing life and thinking about where I want it to go. I’ve considered completely giving up, starting an entirely new project, writing only short stories, writing only poetry… you name it, it’s probably showed up in my thoughts somewhere. I realized that I really can’t totally give up on writing. It’s like… my addiction, my drug. A few nights ago, I literally dreamed about writing. In the dream, I wrote three pages, and when I woke, I was sad that those pages didn’t actually exist.

This whole writer-life-crisis made me think about the reasons I write and why I started writing in the first place. I suppose I started writing because I had something to say, and because I was never a very talkative person, I wrote it down. I wanted to think about “what if” scenarios and create different characters based on people I knew and put them in odd situations. I wrote because people told me I was good at writing; supposedly my words made sense and could be entertaining. I didn’t think my work was good enough or would be good enough for publication one day, and in all honesty, publication isn’t one of my biggest goals. It’s something that would be nice, but for now my goal is to finally have a finished product that I am satisfied with.

Because I am a bit of a perfectionist, satisfaction is hard to find, but I suppose I’ll have to draw the line somewhere. There must come a time to put the red pen down and say, “I’m done. This is as good as it’s going to get, and there’s nothing else I can do.” After all, there is such a thing as over-editing.

It makes me a bit jealous when I see other writers get agents, get published, etc. I know it shouldn’t make me feel as though I ought to hurry along and get something published, too. But it does. Perhaps that’s just human nature. We tend to want what others have, even though that particular thing may not be what’s right for us as individuals, or at this particular point in time.

That made me think about why I would want to get published. Not for the money, especially since there’s not much money to be made in publishing unless you’re J.K. Rowling or Stephen King. Not for the fame, again, there’s not fame to be found either, unless you are a prodigy. I suppose publication would be an affirmation that someone else found my work to be worthy, an affirmation that I had legitimate talent or could tell a viable story. I wanted others to hear my words. I wanted to share my stories with others. But I don’t necessarily need formal publication for that; I could self-publish, or I could post my work on one of the myriad writing sites out there.

I could never stop writing altogether; I’ve come too far to turn back. I have created worlds and characters that I can never forget about. I love those worlds and those characters. Even though creation can be a difficult process, I enjoy it. I like getting all excited over new ideas, listening to music and discovering songs that would be perfect for my story’s “soundtrack,” hearing my characters speak in my mind, rewriting and imagining settings…

So I shall keep writing. I shall make time for it, even if it’s just enough time for 100 or 500 words a day. At this point in my life, I don’t think it’s possible to have 2,000-word days like I used to. I may have deviated from my original writing schedule that I made at the start of the year, but that definitely doesn’t mean all is lost. A writer writes, and that’s what I shall do. ๐Ÿ™‚

20 thoughts on “Why I Want to Write

  1. Word count goals seem to help a lot of people, but based on the blog posts I read they also cause a lot of people to feel bad (and to feel bad when they may have written very well, but just not _enough_).

    Everything you say here makes a lot of sense. I look forward to reading your stuff, whenever and wherever it’s available.

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    1. I’m not particularly focusing on word count right now… I’m just going to write whatever I write, whether it’s 50 words or 500. As long as I write, I think I’ll be OK. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. What a beautiful, reflective and powerful post Maggie. Everything you said resonates at the heart of what we as creative individuals go through. From dreaming about our work to finding meaning in it, to how it is received by others. Always write Maggie. Always. At the very least you should know that your thoughts and words are an inspiration to me and many others. On the question of creativity check out my recent 9 piece series entitled “Post Canvas and Paint: Abstract. I include quotes by writers on the theme of creativity.

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  3. I have been having this exact same conversation with myself over the course of the past few weeks. It’s the same one I have about 2-3 times per year it seems. And then out of the blue I’ll have a burst of creative energy and write and write and write and realize I couldn’t have held it in if I’d wanted to.

    It’s maddening and satisfying all at the same time isn’t it? ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. I’m with you on this… especially where you say, “I’ve come too far…” For me all the work I’ve done, and in the last four years, there has been a considerable amount of it, is an investment, one that I am loathe to just “let go of”. Like you, I’ve worked too hard for too long to just say, “oh, la! Wasn’t that a hoot?” and move on.

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  5. I think a lot of the desire to get published is about affirmation. You want someone else to beleive in and love your work just as much as you do.

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  6. Nice post. As you said, the important thing is to do what you enjoy doing, for reasons that you believe to be significant to you. Good luck in this new chapter!

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  7. Great post Maggie. All the thought you have put into your motivations just proves the point: you need to write and you love to write. Those should be good reasons to do it. You will find there will be times in your life where you don’t write as much, but you will always return to it because you enjoy it and it seems to be an important part of who you are. Some wonderful comments here…we are not alone…

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  8. As I often say to people – and myself included – to quote one of my inspirations, Bob Dylan, ‘The only thing I knew how to do was to keep on keeping on.’ Keep doing it and don’t worry too much about quantity or how often. Quality is what counts.

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  9. I write because I enjoy writing.
    I play the piano because I enjoy playing the piano.
    I paint because I enjoy painting.

    The destination (to me) is far less important than enjoying the journey from HERE to there. Write on!

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