Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum.

- Graycie Harmon

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Why Write?

Someone asked me yesterday why I wanted to write and be published. All I could think to say was "Because." Not only is that a grammatically incorrect sentence, it isn't a very good reason. "Because" explains nothing about the passion that has developed for this story and the inexplicable urge to have it reach a wide audience. It really got me thinking.

A small side note, it takes a bit to get me thinking rather than imagining. Back to the regularly programmed blog....

Why do I want to write?

I can tell you right away that I don't want to become a writer because I want to become famous, or get rich (though, to be perfectly honest, I wouldn't mind the getting rich part, however unlikely it is).

If you had asked me when I was ten if I wanted to become an author, I would have laughed in your face, or perhaps behind your back. I didn't want to write! I had dreams of becoming a high-powered C.E.O. of some really profitable corporation.

In High School, although I wrote a little bit for fun, and for school assignments, I still didn't want to become a writer. I had my heart set on becoming a fighter pilot. Yes, you read that correctly. I wanted to fly FA-18s. I took two kinds of maths, physics and chemistry in High School so I could become a pilot. That failed miserably when I discovered I needed glasses to see distance.

After High School, I floundered a little while. For a time I thought I wanted to become a lawyer, or a forensic scientist and so for my first year of university, I studied Criminology. It so happened that after my final exams of the year I went home exhausted and unhappy and noticed, for the first time, exactly what was on my bookshelf. The only things about Crime were my textbooks.

Everything else was either a fantasy novel or books on archaeology, folklore and custom, ancient world myth and religion, and a very large section of reference books on Celtic Studies. Clearly I was in the wrong programme. Always fascinated by ancient history, I decided to study Archaeology, focusing on the Atlantic Façade from the Upper Palaeolithic to the pre-Roman Iron Age. Fascinating stuff! For the next four years at university that is exactly what I did, and it was awesome.

When I graduated university, the plan was to find a good job so I could save up for my Master's degree, which I wanted to take at the University of Wales in Bangor, Wales. It was a one year Celtic Archaeology programme. The goal was to become an academic. In the meantime, I picked up writing again as a hobby.

The story I was writing, apparently, had other ideas. It took over. It poured from my fingers onto the page at an alarming speed, sometimes with such force that I would be utterly spent at the end of the session. It crept into my mind during my sleep, and then in my waking hours. It screamed "Publish me!" without actually uttering a syllable.

Now I find myself completely at its mercy, driven without reason to get this thing into print.

So why do I do it? Why write?

The answer is this: Because I feel compelled to. Because it fulfills me. Because there is so much stuff whirling around in my skull I fear that if I don't write it down, my head will explode!

That is why I write.


K said...

Okay. That covers why you want to write.

Now, why do you want to be published?

Is it for the moment of seeing your name on a cover in a bookstore??

Is it for fame?

Is it for money?

Is it to read professional reviews of your work?

Or is it because books grant a form of immortality to their authors?

S. M. Carrière said...

That is an extremely good question. It's not really for the fame, or for the money. I just feel this compulsion to try to get it published.
I won't lie and say that I wouldn't feel extremely gratified to see my name on the cover in a bookstore. That would be awesome!
Hmmm... I suppose it would be for the money, then. Not that I expect to get rich from writing the way J. K. Rowlings did, but if I could make a living doing what I love so much that would be incredible.
That is my final answer, lock it in...