Do you read/follow Chuck Wendig over at Terrible Minds? Love the guy, love his quirkiness to bits. On Friday’s he posts a Flash Fiction challenge. This week… it’s not fiction. Yay! You can read his original post here
(PS Chuck, you said to drop the link in the comments, but… the comments aren’t open. Insert Sad Face).
Write an essay on the topic of: Why I Write.
This is something that I’ve been struggling with lately. I’d love to make my living writing, but that currently isn’t happening and it doesn’t look promising. I want to support my son and myself, by my writing, but it’s not in the cards right now. It does remain in the realm of dreams.
So. Money isn’t the reason why I’m writing.
I have been published, and I loved the accolades. When people tell me that they loved it, ohhh… my heart shivers. I haven’t made much money (see above), and I have received some wonderful reviews, but…
That isn’t what keeps me writing.
Not for money. Not for accolades. Both would be bloody brilliant, don’t get me wrong. I won’t lie.
I write because words have power. We can shape our worlds, and make sense of that world, through words. When I was writing fiction, I almost always work out a problem in my fiction. Something that’s been on my mind comes out in the theme of the story.
Still has my quirky voice,tho.
I liked fiction because it gave me a buffer between my feelings and what I was working out. Sometimes I need that space, the step back from the situation that fiction gives. In Dragon’s Champion, the heroine saves herself. And when she finds her voice… oh, the power she wields! In The Golden Apple and Other Stories, there were lots of strong women saving themselves… as they dealt with love, death, family and the perception of others versus reality.
Not everyone needs saving.
Except, perhaps, me.
I write to save myself, to save my soul. It’s how I pray, how I connect myself to… myself. It enables me to get the junk out and cross it out decisively and then get to the meat of the matter. I took a step back from fiction, and have been writing a lot of nonfiction and poetry, trying to realign myself. Essays mostly, some a micro shot of life as I see it. (One is scheduled for tomorrow, my shifting sideways series. Whee!) They are all full of my weird quirkiness, a lighter slightly twisted version of myself or the deep, dark and twisty. Apparently, my writing is like the water I love so much. Some is nothing more than a babbling brook—entertaining and will cool you off and refresh you. The other half is the middle of the ocean, deep, dark currents pierced by light.
I write to save myself. Because when I don’t write, I can feel it calling to me. Even my nine year old can tell when I’m not writing. A line of poetry that grabs hold until I write it down. An opening sentence will grab hold of me and won’t let me go until we go exploring down the rabbit hole.
It’s the only sure way to comfort myself, make my soul nice and tight with the world. If others get saved along the way, that’s a blessing. But I have to save myself first.