Why I Write

Posted: July 25, 2015 in chuck wendig challenge, inspiration, On Writing

The question is a simple one. “Why do you write?” Why do you take time out of your day when you could be doing so many other useful things? Why do you feel the need to inflict upon the world your fantasies and fictions?

Because I can. Because I have to. Because sometimes the only way to silence the voices is to write it out, and I’m too damn narcissistic to perhaps do the humble thing of locking away what I write in a drawe, never to see the light of day.

I write because I have stories I want to tell, characters who speak to me that want to speak, that want to act, that want to live. I write because I can and because it is the one artistic talent I have.

I can’t draw. I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. I can’t paint, sculpt, or play a musical instrument.


I can string words into sentences into paragraphs into stories. On occasion I can spin a phrase into something beautiful.

I write because I was an awkward, nerdy kid in school who escaped into books, who liked fantasy and science-fiction because it was so very different from everything else I was experiencing at the time. I could disappear into books, and I admired and envied those able to spin stories.

As I got older, I learned to pull stories apart, study the bones and entrails, divine what made the stories tick, how they were put together. What separated good writing from bad. Something that nowhere near enough high school or college classes are good at teaching, at least at any level prior to grad school maybe. By learning how stories work, I learned to put together my own. I learned how to juke left when the predictable thing to do would be go right.

I write because it is still an escape. For me, for others. People get to disappear into my words for a time, and maybe there’s a nerdy, awkward kid out there who needs that. Who connects with what I’m doing. Who finds their own inspiration.

And hell, I write because it’s fun. It’s exciting to write action scenes. It’s fun writing punch-drunk dialogue, the back and forth sniping of two characters. It’s fun making terrible things happen to fictional people, to pull the strings and make them dance.

I write because I can’t stop. I’ve actually gone months without writing a story, and when I do I feel like a piece of me is missing. And then I’m back, blank screen in front of me. Filling it up with words into sentences into paragraphs into stories. Maybe I’m an addict. Maybe I can’t stop. And maybe it’s because I’m getting older and I’m not the type to go out to the bar and bullshit with the regulars. Maybe this is my stool, my space, and I get to tell the stories I want to tell.

Why do I write? Because it is something deep within me, something inextricably a part of me that needs this like a junkie with his fix. And even if it goes no further than this and a couple of stories out there in the world, well, so be it.

But I’m still writing. Still submitting. And I’m not stopping any time soon.

[This week’s Chuck Wendig Challenge]

  1. Cameron says:

    Yup. I won’t say it’s worse for poets, but we get that question, too.

  2. innerouterawkward says:

    I wouldn’t call not locking your work away narcissistic. I guess unless all writers who put it out there are. Some of us are terrified to let our characters and worlds see the light of day for fear of verbal destruction. I know I am.

    I’ve popped over from Wendig’s blog. Promise I’m disease free!

    • That’s… fair. In my opinion, it take a fair amount of ego to put stuff out there, even on a web site. And that’s a value free statement, neither positive or negative.

      And sometimes you’ve got to tear things down a bit in order to build it better. At least that’s been my experience.

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