Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Writing Wednesdays: Why Write?

This week, I've been thinking about why we write.

I know we all have different reasons, but for me, it wasn't something I'd thought a lot about before; writing was just something that once I started doing, I couldn't stop. Eight years ago, I was living in BFE with nothing better to do, and I guess I'd always kind of wondered if I could write a book. Once I tried it, and realized that I was in fact capable of writing several hundred pages, I decided to try again. And again. And again.

I know for sure what aren't the reasons: it's certainly not because I think what I have to say is so important that the rest of the world needs to hear it, or because I think I'm the best writer, or because I want to be famous. I don't expect to get rich off of writing. I don't expect to receive rave reviews if I ever do get published. Would all of those thing be nice? Of course, but they're not the reasons why.

Having a child and making it my goal to continue writing helped me realize why writing is so important to me. It makes me feel like my brain isn't turning to mush, for one thing. It gives me a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. And it is a quick - and free - escape from the tedium of my everyday life. It's something I'll probably continue to do even if I don't get published, even if it's just posting on my blog a few times a week. I will admit that I get a sense of satisfaction from knowing that I make a few of you laugh every now and then, or that I've helped inspire one or two people to follow their passion. Hearing a critique partner say that they enjoyed my novel is great, of course. But those aren't reasons to spend two to three hours a day doing something you don't really have time for. I do it because I enjoy it, and because it defines ME, not the role I play in other people's lives (wife, mother, daughter, sister).

So why am I thinking about all this, you might ask? I guess it's because this whole Foreign Service thing is about to become a reality, and not only will my ability to shop at Target be in serious jeopardy -- there's a very good chance I won't be able to continue blogging (or Googling, which is imperative to my writing, even if it is fiction). John seems to think there's a universal, if somewhat expensive, solution to the fact that many of the Foreign Service posts are "off the grid." I'm not sure how well a satellite Internet device is going to work, but if all the reports that power outages are common and that the dial-up Internet harkens back to 1994 are true, I know I won't have the patience to go online very often. There's also the fact that we're not supposed to be identifiable on a blog, which is going to be tricky if I ever do become a published author.

I am willing to give up a lot for John's dream, including Whole Foods, Anthropologie, reliable air conditioning, and potentially the ability to leave a compound without fearing for my safety, but writing is one thing I'm simply not willing to give up. On the little worksheet John had to turn in today, which lists how you're going to rank your post preferences, the spouse's ability to telecommute was not one of the options (even though having a pet was). I'm wondering if we could have written in "maintaining spouse's sanity," because all I know is that without writing, I simply wouldn't be me.

So why do you write? Please share in the comments!


Jenny S. Morris said...

Wow, that is a lot to deal with. I hope you end up in a place where you can still communicate with the world. I write for a lot of the same reasons. It makes me happy and feel like I'm creating something.

shauna said...

WTF.Dial up? No blog? This is the worst news I've heard all day. When you say you like it when your blog makes people laugh, I"M ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE! I smile everytime I read this and chuckle and its nice to keep tabs on you and knowing about your life. I will really miss that. But I understand. How long is this Foreign Service thing? A few years? Forever?

Mara Rae said...

And now that I'm part of this whole bloggy community, imagine if I couldn't check in with you guys all the time! The horror!

Mara Rae said...

All hope is not entirely lost - there are still a lot of places where I'll be able to blog! And yes, in theory, this FS thing is forever (until John retires). But it's voluntary!

Connie B. Dowell said...

Sounds tough, but if you get published, you can always use a pen name. Published novel and anonymity: best of both worlds.