Someone I know wrote an article for a website about why and how she writes, and after reading it, I thought about why and how I write. Here are my findings.
A colleague of mine once asked me, over a drink at a company do, “So, why do you write, then?” and I simply replied “Because the voices tell me to,”. Needless to say, his face was a picture!
But now I realise that if we replace “voices” with “story” and “tell” with “need” and you actually have a partial answer. The story needs me to. It needs to be told. If I bottled up all the potential stories in my head, then I reckon I would be cracked even more than I already am!
But another reason is because I want to. Writing makes me happy. Even when I am writing a tragic scene, where I can actually be very sad about what’s going on in the scene and can feel the characters pain, I am still happy because I am writing. Having said that, I once figured out that a character I really like needed to die, and I am pretty sure I mourned them like it actually happened. That was a bad week…
But ultimately, I love to write, I love to create a world, weave a storyline and give birth to wonderfully diverse characters. If I could, I would do it all day every day, but the fact I need to pay rent and buy food keeps that dream currently at bay.
When it comes to how I write, well, that’s a slightly more complicated answer simply because the question is quite vague. Do you mean how do I write a story? Or does it literally mean how do I physically write?
The physical is easy. More often than not, I am staring very hard at my computer screen, leaning over my keyboard as my fingers fly across it. I pause every now and again to look off into the distance or out of a window, or maybe I look at my notes, and then I go back to typing.
All my writing doesn’t take place at a laptop or notebook, however. If you ever see me looking at nothing in particular, eyes focused on something almost an eternity away, I am writing. Ask my fiancée and she will say that, even when we are walking together, she can see when my mind wanders off and it often takes her a few attempts to bring me back to the present. I slip away into the ether, do some writing, and when I next get somewhere I can either write it down or type it out, I do an information dump to be read through and organised into either “that’s a good idea” or “what was in my coffee this morning?”.
The other aspect to how I write is how I actually write a story. Some people can happily open a new word document/notebook (whatever your medium), write “Chapter One” and write continuously until they type “The End”. I am not one of those people.
I start writing right in the middle of the action, or from the first thought of the story I had, whatever it may be. Think of it as a ripple on the surface of a pond. The impact zone is the idea conception, and the idea and story grows around it. I do the initial information dump and then start thinking both “what happens next?” and “what happened before this?”. I find order in the chaos!
Well, that’s it. Why and How I Write! If you have any questions, leave a comment below and, if you are a fellow writer, perhaps think about why and how YOU write!