Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Why I Write

Yeah, this is fall break, and I haven't been as productive as I would have liked, but I'm still taking time to write this.

Apparently Twitter declared today the National Day on Writing, and they want everyone to post #WhyIWrite in 140 characters or less. Scrolling through the tweets is mildly interesting, especially when some people try to explain deep, profound reasons within the characters a tweet allows, but what really made me smile is when I asked myself why I write.

That isn't really a mystery to me, and I don't make a point of hiding it, but I don't think I've ever explicitly laid out why I write, so here goes. I don't write because I want to change the world, start a dialogue, express myself, or anything like that. It isn't because of any metaphysical grand idea that I'll be immortal through my stories - I think studying history for three years has pretty much made sure that I'll never believe that. It isn't because I'm good at it, although that certainly helps.

I write because it's fun; because I like watching the characters of my imagination come to life in their stories on my computer. That is a special part of writing that, as I will insist to anyone who asks, is priceless. But that is a part that, I think, communicates mostly with me. It's a story, but it's only good enough to satisfy me, and it doesn't become anything better by my doing.

Basically, this post is a long but too-short thank-you to Julie Scandora, my editor. Without her, my stories would never be more than what I need to complete my own experience with my imagination. It's really hard to explain - I've been trying to explain it in the acknowledgement pages of my books for three years, and I can't ever find the right words. But I think, maybe, now I have the right words. Without Julie, my characters and my stories would be mere shadows of what they are when you see them in a finished book - not because the characters themselves are lacking, but because my writing is lacking and I can't see it. Julie sees all my writing's weak points, all the places where I've sold my characters short, all the places where I screw up the story and don't notice it - can't notice it without her.

So, to summarize, this National Day on Writing, I want to thank the woman who makes my writing better in ways that I am powerless to do. Thank you, Julie, from the bottom of my heart.

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