|Call me Pandora|
During that time, I stumbled on a box of old journals, poetry and short stories from years past, and I realized how vital writing had been in my life (though I didn't know it at the time). And I got that innocent and explosive idea (you writers know the one I'm talking about)--the one that says, "Hey, I could write a novel." Yes, I opened Pandora's Box. There were definitely demons in there, but there was also this raw, untapped part of myself bursting with ideas and an obsessive and unquenchable thirst to create.
Here's why I started to write back then:
- As mentioned above, I desperately needed a creative outlet. I am an artist, through and through.
- I needed to heal, physically, mentally, spiritually. I was in recovery from donating a kidney. And while writing truly did heal the aftereffects of that particular event, it opened up a whole new set of insecurities and challenges.
- I needed to feel control. We had just moved to the other side of the U.S. My husband had a new and demanding job. Everything was different. And even though things were good, there was so much change, which led to lots of stress. My imagination was a realm I naively thought I could control. Little did I realize what power struggles I'd have with my characters!
- I wanted a new challenge. I was crazy insane busy back then, but I wanted a struggle of my own choosing. It had to do with being proactive about something I wanted, rather than just doing the million-and-one things I needed to do.
Guess what? I still write for these very same reasons. However, here are some other reasons that have been added to the mix:
- I write because I'm supposed to. Because I promised myself I'd get in 1000 words a day. The truth is, sometimes we writers don't feel like writing. But because it's important, we get our butts in the chair. Sometimes the duty sucks pleasure from the desire, but I try to strike a balance.
- And--uh, oh--the WORST reason: I write because I hope to make money at it. My family and I are POOR. I won't bore you with the details, but let's just say my husband and I have lived at the bottom of the barrel for a looooong time. Making money is a strong reality in our lives. But it wars with my artistic sensibilities that demand I write what's in my heart, and I write to express truth. In the end, the artist in me wins, and I keep writing with that integrity. I just cross my fingers, in the meantime, that my stories will speak to many others as well.
Some days I get bogged down with life, I compare myself to other writers, I feel impatient, I think my writing sucks. Some days the "noise" of the Internet is too loud--the thousands of blog posts, tweets, Facebook updates. Some days it's hard to see where my part is in all of this, or if I'll make a difference. Some days I pull away and go into hiding. And it's then I remember--after lots of quiet reflection--why I started writing in the first place. And above all those initial reasons, the first and foremost is, I need to create. That's it. Simple. But with creation comes division. Separating lightness from darkness. It may be a foggy journey in the twilight, but I'll keep my flame burning. That's enough for me to see one step ahead of myself. And I'll keep striving to find joy in the journey.
Why do you write?