Which topic could be more appropriate for starting a blog about writing, than wondering what it is that makes us sit down and write, over and over again, even when we are busy, even when we don’t feel like it, even when we think we will never get published? There have been many objections to books and writing: people have said that it’s outdated, pointless, even egotistic, as writing is sometimes seen as a wish to live forever. But if we eliminate these common complaints, we are still unsure what it is in writing that has proved to be so addictive to humankind during our history? There are no easy answers to this. But I will try to offer you mine.
I believe that writing gives us the possibility to wonder about things. Everywhere around us, there is a story waiting to be told. Where is that man in a tuxedo headed to? What caused that murder I have read about in the newspapers? What if people were able to live on Mars? It makes us curious, and curiosity is one of our most underestimated traits. Most of us have been taught to be obedient, to go to school, to acquire information without even questioning them. While writing or thinking about stories, we’re doing exactly the opposite. Einstein said that “creativity is intelligence having fun.”, and I couldn’t agree more. Writing allows you to explore the potential of innumerable possibilities, to travel, to meet different people, to experience all kinds of situations, without ever leaving your desk. Also, it is my opinion that, in a world like ours, the importance of a harmless escape from everyday life can hardly be exaggerated.
Also, writing allows us to change the world, or at least, to try. We may not solve issues related to world politics, but we may point out things that are wrong with the present system and offer some alternatives, even in sf or fantasy. It is our task to point out injustice and say: that is wrong. Words are powerful, and we should treat them as such. Even if we do not cause any global scale change, giving hope to a single person who is currently struggling can be just as rewarding.
I write because I believe it is a task of every human being to contribute to this world by doing the thing s/he does best. In my case, this is teaching and writing. I believe that writing is a vocation. I write to leave a trace in this world, not because I want to achieve fame (there are less tedious ways to achieve this, I think, than writing), but because it is what we, humans, do, in one way or another. We write, we paint, we compose music, we build monuments, all in the attempt to preserve a memory. To communicate to others and say: you are not alone.
While there are as many different reasons to write as there are writers, there are some things I believe we all share that do not need any further explanation. Trying to explain to your non-writing friend the thrill you get when your characters surprise you with their actions, or the feeling of pride like no other when someone praises your short story, can be like trying to explain a taste or a color. I think that the majority of writers agree that writing is like a disease you can never cure, and wouldn’t even want to. At the end, it enriches your life in ways you never thought possible.
Enough of my ranting for today. What do you think? Why do you write?