The National Day on Writing (US) – Why I Write?

Apparently today in the US is The National Day on Writing. Happy National Day on Writing to everyone over there!

The organisers (who’s website is here) want people to get involved by telling people ‘Why I Write.’ I may not be an American, but I thought it’s a great subject, so why shouldn’t I get involved?

Why do I write? I’m sure I’ve covered this many times over the last few blogging years, but I suspect each time the answer is slightly different – depending on what I’m doing at the time. Right now I’m really up and down with writing, doing well one day, then nothing the next. It’s Thursday and I’ve not done anything since Sunday, even with a goal of 500 words a day hanging over my head (even though I said I was aiming for 2k yesterday, and got so much lovely support. Thanks everyone for that, and sorry I let you down).

At times like this (these four days of no writing) I often question why I write. Like if it’s so hard for me to do, and it takes so much effort to do, why do I bother? Likewise when I’m actually writing, but it’s a struggle, and I check my word count every 50 odd words, I wonder the same. Luckily I have an amazing boyfriend who found this on Stephen Fry’s blog a few years ago:

It was many years later that Clive James quoted to me Thomas Mann’s superb crystallisation of this “A writer,” said Mann, “is a person for whom writing is more difficult than for other people.” How liberating that definition is. If any of you out there have ever been put off writing it might well be because you found it so insanely hard and therefore, like me, gave up and abandoned your masterworks early, regretfully assuming that you weren’t cut from the right cloth, that it must come more easily to true, natural-born writers. Perhaps you can start again now, in the knowledge that since the whole experience was so grindingly horrible you might be the real thing after all.

He he. That is so me. And pretty much every other writer I know or read about. It’s not very often you see on Twitter someone that consistently writes with no procrastination. Man that makes me feel good.

When I’m actually writing (a few weeks ago I wrote 1,733 words in a day – in November I’m going to write 1,667 words a day!) it’s almost like magic. Maybe magic isn’t the correct word, but it’s kind of magical. Especially when I don’t know what I’m going to write, and as I start typing it comes to me. On Sunday I was writing a scene in my novel ‘Holiday.’ I knew where they were, but didn’t know anything about what was going to happen when they were there. I was kind of dragging my heels a little with it, probably because I didn’t know what was going on, but then it came to me as I was typing, and it was brilliant. Those 600 words just flew. Granted, I’ve not read it back, so it might be pants, but it felt like it was good!

I think that’s why I write, because sometimes it can be brilliant. When I read back the first novel I finished (the first draft anyway) there were a few parts that I got really into, just reading along, and totally forgot it was my writing. The story just took me away. It was brilliant. (of course there were other bits that didn’t flow and were horrible, but I’m not thinking about them!).

I don’t remember having a realisation that I wanted to write, it’s just kind of always been there. When I was taking my GCSEs, my favourite time was English Language, when our teacher gave us a subject and we had to write a story, or about the subject for the lesson. Of course 15 years later, I don’t remember any of these except the feeling of loving them – that may have started my love of writing – or it may have been before? (I say I don’t remember any of them, I have a very clear memory of the telling off we all got from the topic ‘You’re not bringing that in here’ – apparently at 16 the whole class should have been able to think of something better than a lost puppy!)

I’ve always read. My mum says that from an early age I always had a book in my hand (proven by a scar on my forehead caused by falling on a book when I was in the garden at about 3). It just always interested me. I was going to say escaping into another world, but that would sound like I had something to escape from, I didn’t. But I loved going into this new, different world, getting into someone else’s head and living through adventures (and romance) with them. I loved it.

My favourite books are books that move me – usually ones that make me cry. If the words I’m reading can create that reaction in me, I’m amazed. They are made up words, about made up people and a made up situation. But good writing can get you like that. That’s what I want to do. I want people to read my writing and be moved by it – cry at it, and laugh at it. Some people want to write to be rich and famous. I’m not going to lie, rich would be nice, but I’m realistic, it’s probably not going to happen. I don’t know about famous, I’m quite a shy person. But the reason I write is so that some day (I hope) someone somewhere will read my story or novel, and be moved to tears (or laughter) by it.

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One thought on “The National Day on Writing (US) – Why I Write?

  1. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS! I welled up at the last line. I have been so stressed at times trying to fit writing around my day job and I constantly tell myself ‘no-one is making you do this, you are doing it because you want to’. I love the quote you used and I think we must keep in mind that no-one finds writing easy. I am desperate to start writing my NaNo but I know sod’s law I will freeze on November 1st when I am ‘allowed’ to start!

    I too wouldn’t mind if my writing earned me some money one day but the fame holds no appeal to me. I would want people to simply enjoy my writing.

    Great post and hope you have a great week.

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