It keeps me sane.
That feels like the easy answer. Maybe it isn’t the ‘easy’ answer but the answer a lot of people might say. Why is that? What about writing draws the writer back time and time again?
Keeping my sanity while I bleed on the page
Have you heard the quote from Red Smith the sportswriter from 1949? Red Smith was asked if turning out a daily column wasn’t a chore. “Why, no,” Red answered. “You simply sit down at the typewriter, open your veins, and bleed.”
As weird as it might sound, I think that’s what I love about writing, and why I go back to it again and again. It’s a form of therapy. I have often found my fictional writing helps me work out real issues in my mind in a way journaling cannot. Something about creating a fake setting, characters, problems, when I stand back and look at it, I see the correlations to my own life that I did not consciously see while writing. It’s all metaphor whether if we like it or not.
I love the process of creating characters. Giving them a proper name, a place to live, deciding what their family is, and then watching them run off with the life you gave them. Dandelion is not who I thought she would be. I like her real self over the self I wanted to impose on her, though.
I enjoy the way a character will show up in mind, as if they come to my front door, knock, introduce themselves, and make themselves at home on my couch. I have to sit with them, get to know them, feed them, and watch how they react to life around them. I think I know who they are, but first impressions are usually off, maybe not a lot, but people always surprise you. In my current WIP my MC is staying true to who I knew he was from the start, but his sisters… my, my, they are really surprising me with their secrets. It’s exciting and fascinating.
I hope I can write for the rest of my life. I don’t see myself growing tired of this art form. It will continue to change and me with it. There will forever be great books to read and stories to share. And as The Doctor from Doctor Who would tell us, “We’re all stories in, the end. Just make it a good one, eh?”