Monday, September 5, 2011

Why I write

There are three reasons why I write:

1. Because it’s there.

2. Because I can.

3. Because I like to make stuff up.

Many people that know me well are surprised that I love to write. Why is that? Well, I think it’s because I’m not an incessant journalist. I was never the kid scribbling away in a diary, documenting every second of my life. Or writing down hopes and dreams, stories, to-do lists for my adulthood, or anything else that budding writers are supposed to be doing. There is no stack of volumes hidden away that will someday (long after my death) be bound together and sold as a record of my existence.

Nope, not happening. I don’t journal. Never have.

For me, it was letter writing. I wasn’t writing away in a notebook, keeping things hidden from view; I was writing long, thoughtful, news-filled volumes to my family and friends. Four pages of unlined paper in cramped script, both sides filled? No problem. I sent so many long letters that I know exactly how many pages of typing paper (now sold as printer paper, or 20 lb bond) can fit into an envelope and still need only one first class stamp. (5 sheets in a No. 10 business-size envelope, for your information.)

I love writing letters! But those fell by the wayside eventually. My friends and family preferred to talk on the telephone. Cheap long-distance rates put a serious dent in my letter-writing career.

Then came email, which I love, and cell phones, which I hate. Email meant I could still send my long, thoughtful letters with just a single click of a mouse, while cell phones (with unlimited minutes) meant everyone else still wanted to talk on the phone. I eventually gave up on letters altogether.

Fortunately, I discovered blogging, and all my creative energies were transferred online. I also found National Novel Writing Month, and will be writing my third novel this November. These outlets kept my writing habit alive until I finally got my courage up, quit my paid employment, and struck out on my own as a freelance copywriter.

Writing seems to be a dying art form. Most people I know can’t stand to do it…which works out well for me. Because no matter how much people get away from writing, and how much they dislike it, there are always letters, emails, web pages, and various forms of copy waiting to be written. So I am thankful for our digital age, and the decline of the desire to write. I love to write (and I’m pretty good at it), and therefore will always have job security.

But really, mostly, I just like to make things up…

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