I have to. It’s an innate compulsion.
When I was a small child I used to go to Woolworth’s with my pocket money to buy pens and exercise books. If I didn’t use them to write my own thoughts, I’d spend hours copying poems from a book practising my handwriting (which initiated my enjoyment of calligraphy.)
In those days, I had handwriting lessons at school. We were taught to write in italics – ‘kick up the tails’, my teacher would say. Despite that it wasn’t strictly learning ‘joined-up’ handwriting, it was a reasonable forerunner. Now when I watch small children trying to join handwriting, I’ve noticed they aren’t taught how to form the letters to be able to join them. Anyway, I digress…
I’ve always just had to write: Nicely presented schoolwork, notebooks, and poetry. I found out at age 9, when I broke my right wrist, that I’m ambidextrous and that’s often come in handy. Anyway, I’m still a compulsive list maker and a notebook-writing Brain Dumper.
So, why do I write?
I dreamed about writing books. In my vision, I am a recluse beavering away productively, which suits my innately highly sensitive, introverted personality. Years ago, the dream was knocked out of me – ‘Don’t be daft, get a “proper” job and earn money’. Any chance of pursuing my dream was utterly belittled and quashed and I became too busy living life; working, motherhood, etc. Always though, I’m far more lucid writing than speaking.
I went to university, as a mature student, part time whilst working full time. I was there for about a decade (taking three qualifications) and, of course, writing was mandatory (Yay!) and it revived my dream. (Plus I read some pretty unreadable books and thought I could maybe do better – one day.)
Eventually, I achieved a second dream – to work self-employed from home. I met and did some admin work for an elderly author, who persuaded me to take on the secretary role of his writing group. My time had come! I mixed with writers, which rekindled my original dream and I wrote creatively – including a manuscript for a novel.
Then my life changed dramatically, and despite that I’ve tried to write again, it just won’t flow. Partly, I think, because I knew I’d got a manuscript, but had no confidence to do anything with it – apart from tweaking and editing, so my inner Muse thought, ‘What’s the point of generating ideas if it’s not being read and enjoyed?’
Over the course of a few years, beta readers gave me positive feedback. Then I met an experienced proofreader and a few more avid readers who all gave more positive vibes – ‘Go for it!’ It still took me some time to work up enough confidence to send it out into the world.
Now Muse has no excuse – it’s Out There, with positive reviews. So now I will write more than just brain dumping in countless notebooks.
I rationalise my need to write – Escapism. I write to escape from my world and create a character’s world, where anything can happen. It’s all within my control. And because I hope that when it’s Out There I give my readers enjoyment and escapism too.
I can’t think of a better reason. Can you?