The Why

Sometimes I find myself thinking, wondering, imagining, and even, on occasion, dreaming. Not the normal fantasies of life(though I must admit cars and travel and entertainment of kinds fill my conscious thought in great volume), but the reasoning behind the ‘why’. Why do I write?

I’ve never been published. I’ve had friends and family who’ve told me they liked something that I’d written, but no one on a professional level has said such. No strangers have read anything of mine and made a point to tell me how much they enjoyed it. So what is this ‘why’ and where does it come from?

I have dreams that I remember. I make notes. I read a book, watch a movie or a TV show, an idea strikes, and I jot that down to be built upon at a later time. Sometimes it’s something I personally experience or a happening that someone else relates to me that inspires a thought. And more than once I’ve been working my day job, going through the motions, my mind free to think and dream, and that is where some sliver of a story wedges its way into my brain. I don’t know if there is cause or reason. I don’t know why it happens. I have a notebook that is continually filling up with these story ideas. Some are no more than a sentence or 2 while others are several paragraphs of explaination. A dozen have even spilled out onto multiple pages and moved into their own file, separate of the “Thought Box” notebook. A select few have managed to become short stories or novels. This thinking, though, is nearly as exciting as writing a first draft, but it doesn’t directly explain where the will or desire to write that first draft comes from.

I’ve talked to many people who say something like “I don’t know how you wrote a book, I could never do something like that.” Well, on one hand I believe that sentiment; not everyone could sit down and write a whole book. If they could I would know a lot more people who have. The one thing I haven’t met is a person who doesn’t have a story to tell. Even the smallest, least interesting story is just that, a story. So that means there’s more to the desire to write than having a story to tell. You have to also want to put it down in permanent ink. Okay, I think I’m starting to get it now.

So if I have a story to tell and the desire to write it out, that must be the explanation, right? Hold up just a second. You can’t just write a story, you can’t tell it. Telling is for verbal communication. The writing world calls the practice ‘showing’. You have to tell the story by SHOWING the story. Now it’s starting to get more complicated. You have to have a story, a reason to tell it, a desire to put it down on paper, and now a very special talent in writing(and ‘showing’) that story. Yes, I’m still here.

This was nothing I knew about. I wrote poetry when I was young. I also wrote down ideas for stories: plots, characters, settings. Though i never wrote a book back then, there were signs that it might be something of interest. The problem was I didn’t know it. It was fun, it was a pastime. It was something I enjoyed, something I felt I was good at doing. And it helped release a lot of emotions and thoughts and dreams that I would have otherwise kept inside. It’s something good, and something I should have put a lot more time, effort, practice, and study into back then. I didnt.

Now I’m here, half my life later, really just discovering this passion and learning how to do it properly. Unfortunately I’ve developed many bad habits and pastimes since, and I’ve had a hard time focusing and committing to the craft. I won’t give up, mind you, I won’t quit. I’ll keep working at it, keep pushing myself. I’ll keep struggling. Why, you ask? You should know by now, I don’t know the ‘why’, I just know it’s there.