Writing is wonderful. It’s like playing God, sculpting worlds, forming new people from nothing but your fingers against the keyboard, giving life to the two-dimensional creations of your own mind, weaving spells of love and pain and the whole spectrum of human emotion. I love being a writer, but that’s not why I do it.
People ask me how long have you been a writer, like the date I first set pen to paper is somehow tattooed across my mind, like I can recall the first moment I thought of a story or told a tale or imagined new characters that had never existed before. I can’t remember, because for as long as I have memories to look back upon, I have been a writer.
I wrote stories in my kiddy journals, made up poetry, spells, and words, wrote about my kindergarten crushes. All my characters– before I even knew what characters were– had pesky younger brothers and dogs that talked and parents who were artists. I took real life and I molded it to what I wished real life was, well before I had any idea I was a writer.
I don’t write because I like it. I do like it. Sometimes. When the words flow easily and inspiration falls into place and plot makes sense and characters behave, writing can be fun, it can be romantic, it can be the stuff the stories are made of.
But the deeper I get into being a Writer, with a capital W, with deadlines and publishers and business expenses, the more I run into challenges and complications of being a writer. There is pressure to perform, and it is no longer for my own amusement, a journal tucked away and long forgotten. If a plot doesn’t make sense, I must make it make sense. If character development is inconsistent or unrealistic, I must read and reread my manuscript until I figure out why and fix it. Right now, I procrastinate my upcoming release edits, because they are challenging and nuanced and difficult.
Being a writer isn’t always easy and it isn’t always fun. But I do it because that is who I am, down to the very core of myself, that is who I will always be. I don’t write because I like it, though I do. I don’t write for the money, God forgive me, no. I don’t write because it’s quirky or cute or interesting or romantic. I write because I don’t have a damn choice.
Telling stories, writing them down so as to share them with the world, gives me the purpose I need to be who I am. If that was suddenly pulled from me, the instinct and compulsion to tell those tales, I honestly don’t know the person I would be. I write because words are the one thing that has always, always come naturally to me, because a life without writing, to me, is no life at all.
I draw because I like to. I bake because it is fun and quirky and cute. I run because I enjoy it. But those are not the reasons I write.
Writing is not a hobby to me. Even in the earliest days, with cartoon notebooks and obviously biographical fiction, writing wasn’t a hobby. Writing, and the creative processes involved took me from a person to me, molded me from clay, sculpted me from mud.
As a writer, I play God. I create man and woman and I play with them. Sometimes I play nicely. Sometimes I don’t. As a writer, I am omnipresent and all-powerful.
But in this case, it was and is writing that made me. ♦