In case it wasn’t painfully obvious by now, I write. (“He’s writing about writing? OMG SO META!”) I write screenplays mostly, but also this blog and the beginnings of books that I find too frustrating to finish. And to be honest, I kind of hate doing it sometimes.
Allow me to elaborate (like you have a choice.)
There are very few feelings better than creating a character or an entire world using nothing other than my imagination; conversely, there are few worse feelings than when I can’t seem to write a single sentence that feels right. (Kind of like this one. Seriously, that took five tries.) There are moments when I’ll be writing and all that runs through my head is: “You’re a shitty writer. You’re not interesting, this topic sucks, you can’t come up with anything good on your own, and you’re never going to find even a modicum of success with this. Just give it up. I’m not saying this to be mean, but you’re just awful.” And then I have to walk away from the computer before I throw it out a window. I’m very easily frustrated, I’m afraid.
I think that has something to do with the fact that I have an absurd case of ADD- I always have this gnawing feeling that I only have a limited window in which to write my stuff before I get distracted by thoughts of vacuuming or chocolate or whatever the fuck, and if I can’t get what I want to write out quickly enough, I start to worry that I’ll forget what I wanted to say and the whole thing will be ruined. And then nobody will love me and I’ll die alone. DON’T LEAVE ME, READERS. I could, of course, counteract this by taking Adderall, but that’s a whole slog and I’m lazy. Plus, Adderall gives me pretty heavy mood swings, not to mention I don’t want to be a 45 year-old man who has to take a drug that college kids routinely snort just to put some words on paper.
The question, then, is simple: Why do I write? I’ve thought about it more than is probably reasonable, and I still haven’t come up with a suitable answer. On one hand, I guess I write so that I might have a record of my frame of mind at a particular point in my life. That’s probably too charitable an assessment, though; I probably write because, like many members of my generation, I’m possessed by the notion that every thought that creeps into my skull absolutely must have an audience, despite the fact that the vast majority of what I think is of zero consequence to anybody.
Then again, maybe I write because it’s a form of communication that is utilized at an alarmingly declining rate. There is value in taking the time to gather your thoughts and commit them to paper (so to speak)- it’s almost a form of meditation. (Technically speaking, that’s an impossibly stupid comparison, since meditation is focusing the front of the mind on a mundane task so the back of the mind can think about other things, and though writing can be tiresome at times, it is hardly mundane. That’s why I said “almost,” so LAY OFF.) Even writing that last theory didn’t sound right, though- I’m not the only person who writes, and I’m certainly not the best writer (feel free to dispute that in the comments), so I’m not exactly Sir Gallahad striding to the rescue of the written word.
Truth be told, I don’t really know why I write. At it’s core, writing makes me happy, and that’s really all the reason I need. I’m sure there are various motivations behind my writing, but I don’t think I’m perceptive enough to figure out the root of my desire to write. I just know how to write, to put it simply, and I think it would be a shame to let my abilities fall by the wayside. There’s more to it than just that, I’m sure, but for now I’m content to accept the fact that I don’t know why I write; not only that, it’s okay not to know why I write. For an overly analytical person like me, it’s best not to dig too deeply into this stuff.
So those are my thoughts on writing in a nutshell. And I hated every last one of them.