Why do writers write? (or more specifically, why do I write?)

Ok it is time for me to ramble. I obviously cannot speak for every writer in the world, but I have attempted to put together a sound reason for me to write! Some of you girls may already have read pieces of this ramble, but I thought I would post it here as well – because, really, it says what I want to say… So why shouldn’t everyone hear it!

As a very tiny percentage of this world knows I am writing a book. Well, to be truthful, I am at the moment writing my second book, my first having been sitting for weeks and now takes a space on my crowded desk gathering dust, waiting for me to have time to send it to an agent.

You see my problem is this – while my manuscript waits patiently for my attention amongst the messy havoc of my office, the characters of my stories wont stop talking to me. Amara, Jonas, Harper, Emily and so many others are clambouring unrelentingly in my mind also looking for the attention that they deserve.

I wander through routine life composing sentences in my head, jotting down phrases on whatever scrap of paper I can get my hands on. In the darkness of night I have found myself tossing and turning, unable to sleep, as my seemingly tireless characters, who are now as familiar to me as my own family, continue acting out their lives in my head, my only relief being to slip out to the living room quietly and write down the conversations they refuse to take a break from.

I find myself in the supermarket, desolate and anxious for no good reason, reliving scenes of horror and torment, until I realise they are not my memories, but the memories of my characters.

When I write I enter a world of fantasy, where people can feel love, hope, fear, anger and pain all in the same day; where people have their lives turned upside down routinely; and in one characters case, a world where bloodshed, massacres and lost love saturate every memory and dream in a constant barrage.

It is a world where a character starts off as an ideal – brilliant eyes, courtly manner, optismistic attitude and a secret, always there is a secret, then, over pages of writing the character evolves, becomes real, and takes on a life of their own, so I no longer have control over their actions. Then like some crazed evil scientist I find myself with yet another creation which has turned itself loose to play havoc with my life.

Someone, seeing my distraction from real life once said to me, “Why don’t you wait to see if you can get published first, before wasting your time on another book.” My retort was a withering look. For how could they ever understand, how could anyone understand, the thought of letting my characters fade of into obscurity, as I am sure would happen with enough inattention, only makes the voices speak louder, and faster, trying to get their story out before I turn them out to a bleak non existance….

It is not a case of being published, or having people read my work. It is not a case of fame, or glory, or recognition. It is not a case of forging a new career, or even making money (all of which would be fabulous if it did happen, but I am not holding my breath). It is a case of having a clear head. How on Earth am I expected to remember shopping lists, or recipes or to clean the toilet, when an action packed world is playing out in my mind. Writing it all down is the only way to be rid of the brain filling stories.

So in conclusion, I have to admit, my writing has become somewhat of an addiction, an interference in my daily life – but as far as addictions go it is not so bad. And like any addict I find myself unable to stop. SO I will continue to write until those familar characters have told me all they have to say.


~ by Alissa Anderton on May 20, 2009.

2 Responses to “Why do writers write? (or more specifically, why do I write?)”

  1. I agree completely! In the past I thought I was burned out on writing so I decided to stop, and there are always different scenes playing out in my head all the time just like an addiction its good to know I’m not weird

    • Apparantly it’s not just us…. LOL – but I don’t know if that clears us from being “weird”… Don’t you have to be a little bit weird to be a writer!

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