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Why do I write?

I suppose this is a question that is something every budding writer asks. I assume they ask anyway. It seems to be a little like why paint, or garden or any other drive. The difference is that with a garden you can sit back and look at your work and enjoy. Or have guests come and admire your work.

Painting is the same. There it is, the art, on the wall for all to see.

But with writing, it isn’t the same. You don’t go back and “admire” the work. If you do, you tend to pick it apart. Could you have phrased something differently? Is this line the best for the situation? In other words, re-looking at the work becomes an exercise in endless editing.

I think I have always written. Creative writing classes were some of my favourites. I remember one time I got in trouble in class and was instructed to write a ten-page essay on woodworking. Not my favourite subject. So my creative side kicked in and I wrote two initial pages on the correct topic, then inserted six pages of a story about superheroes sandwiched by a closing two pages.

I didn’t hear from the teacher, so either he didn’t bother reading it at all or loved my creative genius. Logically I know it was the former, but a part of me hoped that it was the latter.

In my 20s, I owned a bookstore. I lived and breathed books. It was an awesome job. When I wasn’t sorting and shelving and cleaning the store, I was reading. All sorts of books. Unfortunately, the store didn’t pay many of the bills and I had to move on.

But, the writers inspired me and I started writing a novel. It was an adventure/action/thriller of the type I enjoyed the most in the store. I was about 100 pages in when I met the real love of my life, my soon-to-be wife and with that love also came two kids. Suddenly, life and bill paying and all the ruts that come with getting older overtook my desire to write. Who had the time?

Years later, I picked that book up and started writing again. I finished the book secretly. I would get up early on the weekends and type away. I would squirrel myself in my office after dinner for an hour here or there to put words to paper. When I was almost finished, I let Jacki know and asked her to read it.

“I hate that type of book”, she said. “Find someone else.”

“That is why I want you to read it. If you can find it entertaining and good, that I will finish it and continue.”

Reluctantly, she agreed. And she liked it. Much to her surprise.

I gave it to another beta reader, and she too responded with “where’s the sequel?”

Then began the query process, which is hard and exhausting and more than a little discouraging. In the meantime, I continue to write. Three more stories began and a second finished. Yet, nothing is published and may never be. So why continue to write when no one may read the books?

Because, like a painter I think I am built to create. To create a narrative and tale that has potential. Because the stories are GOOD. They are entertaining and logical and worthy of being told.

That is why I write. Because my mind and the world around me are telling me to type.

To create and imagine and maybe one day someone will read them and get some message.