I’ve read a lot of blogs and posts and articles and advice columns about writing and a lot of them come down to one basic conclusion:
Writers write because we don’t really have a choice.
It’s not that someone is holding a gun to our head or anything. Well, maybe there is a writer out there in that situation, but I would tend to believe they would be the minority.
Writers write because we must. It’s in our DNA.
Sure, writing is painful and hard and frustrating and fun and enjoyable and annoying and liberating and self indulgent and expressive and lonely and enticing, but, even though writers feel drawn to the craft, we seem to spend an equal amount of time avoiding it.
We want to write, but get distracted by a good show on TV or laundry that needs to get folded or a lawn that needs mowed or a couch that needs to be napped upon. Eventually, though, the urge gets the best of us and we find ourselves back in front of the keyboard staring at a blank page wondering if the gutters need to be cleaned.
Then, finally, we decide to focus and sit there and try to be clever or funny or serious or passionate, hoping that whoever reads our work doesn’t think we’re a complete moron.
Just when we think its all work and no play (and no pay), we are rewarded with a moment that is equal parts awesome and fleeting, like the first hit of crack to a junkie… it is a moment of creative inspiration.
It’s one of those rare times where the gods of storytelling infuse your brain with something so special and magical and moving that we are compelled, no matter the time of night, to write it down. When we’re done, we sit back and smile, knowing we’ve been given a momentary insight into the creative collective.
Real writers, paid writers, novelists (the best-selling kind), have the one thing the rest of us struggle with most.
They get up and write, whether its easy or not, whether it is inspired or not, whether their facebook status is updated or not. They are not distracted by tweets that long to be twittered and socks that need to be drawered. They write.
It’s work. It’s a job.
I hope to get there someday. I hope to have the time and the discipline and the talent and the creative drive to do what Koontz or Patterson or even the fictional Castle does.
But, whether I’m the best-selling author in the New York Times or the best selling author in my family, I’ll still write.
I’ve been doing it for twenty years now.
I don’t really have a choice. It’s just what writers do.