Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Why I Write

I’ve seen a few different blogs recently asking this question, and I thought maybe I’d answer that question in further detail here. Also, what a great reference to one of my writing heroes, George Orwell!

Firstly, I should say I’ve always loved to write. I still remember being in primary school (elementary school most people would call it outside of Britain) and folding up these A4 sheets, creating my own little books and writing stories in them. I dreamed of being a published writer, and I still do today. 

However, I only started writing seriously when I was around fourteen. An idea came to me for a novel, and I thought, hey, why not write one? Well, needless to say it was a complete mess. I don’t think years of editing could have sorted it out – it would have been a rewrite or nothing. In the end, I didn’t even complete it, although maybe someday I will go back and rewrite it. 

After the failure of this first project, another idea came to me, and this one seemed to have far more promise than the last. The idea actually came from a short story competition, and when I found I’d gone way over the word count, I realised that I finally had a story which was dying to be told. Around eight months or so later, I finished the draft of my first (but certainly not my last!) novel. 

But back to the question: why do I write? It may sound like the sole reason I write is because it’s my dream to be published. But to be honest, I don't think that is the main reason I write today. It’s certainly a desire of mine, but if I was told I was never going to be published right now, I still think I would continue to write.

My answer to this question is that I write to escape. The times that I started writing, both with the failed project and the first finished project, were a way of distracting myself from what was going on in my life. Things seemed so crazy, and being that overwhelmed with everything, I just wanted to run away. Eventually, writing became my way of running away. When I’m writing, I’m not thinking about all the drama and chaos going on in life – all I’m thinking about is the world and the characters I’ve created. 

Writing allows me to explore that side of myself which I don’t get to consider normally. It helps me feel like I’ve achieved things in the short term, and it makes me happy when everything else seems to have gone out the window. Writing has gotten me through some really tough times, and I’m incredibly grateful for that. 

When I’m done writing, I can step away with a clear head, ready to tackle the multitude of other problems I’m facing. To me, writing is a break from everything else around me: it is escapism. Like a small home-bound holiday. 

So, that’s the reason I write. Tell me: why do you write? What motivates you to keep writing despite everything else going on around you?


  1. This is great, Fiona. Escapism is definitely a huge element for my reasons to write too. Though, it's funny...we think we're escaping, but what I think we're doing is working out our issues in a platform our brain and hearts can handle better than how life is dealing us our problems. Sometimes writing releases inner demons in me I had no idea existed. But then I deal with them, and I'm stronger (not at the moment, but a little later) in life because of it.

    Good luck with your writing! I'm impressed you started so young and were determined enough to stick it out. Writing is no easy task!

    1. I think that's exactly it! Writing seems to offer your mind a chance to work everything out in the background, or at least take your mind off all the issues and come back to it fresh. I would definitely agree that writing makes me stronger, as well as allowing me to be more able to tackle the problems at hand. Thank you! Yes it's been tough, but it can only go up from here, right? Or at least, I hope so! Thanks for your comment, Kathryn.

  2. It's great, Fiona, that you have passion for writing. We all should have passion for one or more things in our lives. Unlike all the writers that I meet on blogs, I never wanted to be a writer. It's long and difficult to finish a novel. I'm very musical and wrote a Musical for theatre, and then it ame to me that I can write a novel based on the story of my Musical .. and so I did. Now I wrote the first 6K words of my second novel (contemporary dystopian with twists), but still I don't think that I was born to be a writer. I think that I will stop writing after my second novel. Instead of reading The Hunger Games, I went to see the Movie. Good luck with all your books, and I agree with Kathryn that writing is no easy task. It's the most difficult thing that I ever did in my life, and getting it published is even more difficult.

    1. I definitely agree. I think it's great that you came into writing from a different path - if we all stumbled into it the same way then hardly anybody would end up writing at all! Writing is certainly hard work, but I don't think anybody was born to be a writer; I like to believe we create our own paths. Thank you, Giora, and I hope you do keep writing, even if it's years in the future that you pick it up again. Maybe the writing bug will come back to you, you never know! Good luck with your project too - I hope to hear more about it soon.

  3. A couple of my daughters play the piano very proficiently, and I've noticed how they express their reaction to any situation by losing themselves in their music. I can tell how their day has gone just by listening to what and how they play! Many writers do the same thing, but with words.

    Among the recent discussions about why we write I found Rachelle Gardner's post about the harsh realities of the published author's life. It prompted me to write a blog post on that subject, too (http://wp.me/phaYw-1BU). Six of the people who commented on mine were published authors and it was interesting to get their take on the topic. The reality is that not everyone is cut out to handle the stresses that accompany publication. You need a certain passion to keep going. Publication isn't every writer's dream. It isn't even possible for some of the most proficient of writers. But those who love to write will always find fulfillment in crafting words on pages anyway.

    You sound like one of those people who, regardless of what the future brings, will continue to write. As Martha Stewart would say, "That's a good thing." :)

    1. I completely agree! I would love to be able to express myself musically - unfortunately my sense of rhythm is utterly appaling - but it's great that there's a crossover between different forms of creativity. It just goes to show that even if we have different talents, we can all find ways to express ourselves.

      Yes, I read that blog too! It was a really good eye-opener, and it does emphasise the idea that getting a publishing contract really is the beginning, not the end. Like you said, depending on your passion, it can either be a great journey or an arduous one. But regardless of publishing, I agree that at the end of the day, it should be about the enjoyment you get from writing. If you aren't enjoying writing, then I think it's clear to say you've lost your way.

      Thank you, Carol! Thanks for your insightful comments too; I hope to hear more from you soon.