I received an email the other day from Nick Thacker at WriteHacked that asked this very question. “For a lot of people, the answer’s as simple as ‘I can’t NOT write,’” says Thacker, and I suppose such a facile answer would be true for me as well.
But as Thacker posits, there’s got to be more to it than that. “Why do I spend this time writing when I could be hanging out with friends/family?” he asks. “Why do I write if I’m not making money doing it?”
This got me to thinking: yes, Jay, why do you write?
And after a bit of thought, I think I can confidently say why.
To answer Thacker’s query of why spend time writing when one could be hanging out, for me, it’s because I’m very much an introvert. I know, I know, I seem like a very social person, and I guess I am to a degree, but for the most part, I am a solitary human being. I brunch alone, I go to the movies alone, I travel alone. I truly enjoy my own company. So living the solitary existence of a writer is, for me, actually ideal.
Furthermore, because I spend so much time with myself, I tend to always be in my own head — if that makes any sense. I have thoughts, I have questions, things I want to express and explore. For me, the best way to do this is to write everything out. Get shit down on paper. ¡Escribir amigo!
Another reason I write? To change history and punish people. Hey, at least I’m being honest. In June I was interviewed by Devon Pena at Fashion Citizen, and he asked if I ever used my writing to exact revenge on anyone. My answer:
All the time. Writing is a form of wish fulfillment … I’ve definitely rewritten history, in a sense, by taking situations I’ve experienced and writing them so that there’s a more favorable outcome or certain individuals get the reward or comeuppance they deserve.
Another reason I write is that I one day hope to achieve a level of financial freedom that will allow me to focus solely on writing. I have a day job right now, and while I love my day job — I truly do — I also want the ability to sleep in, or just pick and go overseas for a few weeks, or just wake up and write all goddamn day if I so choose. I write because I want to sell so many books I become rich — not because I’m materialistic, but because being rich will afford me the opportunity to live the life I want. The life I deserve.
Finally, here’s a quote from an author of whom you may have heard named Stephen King. He says, “There was nothing else I was made to do. I was made to write stories and I love to write stories. That’s why I do it. I really can’t imagine doing anything else and I can’t imagine not doing what I do.”
Same here, Stephen. Same here.
Are you a writer? Why do you write? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.