Have you ever stared at the blinking cursor on your blank computer monitor, fingers curled in defense, head pounding with all the things you want to say but can't figure out how, eyes glazed, stomach growling in bitter protest of all the chocolate and caffeine you consumed in desperation, and ask yourself "WHY? WHY? WHY?"
Why do you write?
Why do I write?
What's in it for us? Money? HAHAHAHAHAHA. No, seriously. Unless you're Nicholas Sparks and land a million dollar contract on your first novel, or you're JK Rowling and hit it big with a random wizard you concocted during your day job, it's not for the money. We might, after much practice and a few decent sales figures, bring in something resembling a small paycheck, but that's it. Hardly the key motivation.
Is it fame? No. Again, unless you're one of the few, lucky, random big time names, it isn't going to happen. You might build a decent fan base on Facebook or through your blog, you might have women look forward to your books and email you fan letters, but seriously, the odds of any of us going on Oprah and The Today Show promoting our book is pretty darn slim. (and PS - no matter how famous any of us might get, I have the feeling our husbands are still going to expect to have the toilets clean and dinner cooked!)
Is it your sense of self worth? Hmm. I had to think on this one. Sometimes, I do feel like writing is all I can do - I'm not really good at much else. Never had genius grades in school. I have no musical talent, no artististic or crafty skills like knitting or crocheting or painting or sculpting or even scrapbooking...I can't sing great or cook great or even clean the house great...so in a way, writing is my identity in my family and among my friends and church members. But then I remember immediately that it's not me. My writing is very much God through me, and that just brings me to my knees in gratitude that the King of the Universe would see fit to use me, a tired, broken, sinful vessel, to speak words of grace and hope into the world. Wow. What an honor.
I think I know why we write, and its best summed up in my favorite quote, the one on my website and blog and attached to my email signature.
"I write for the same reason I breathe - because if I didn't, I would die." - Sir Issac Asimov.
It's true, isn't it? I think there's a difference between authors and writers. Authors are writers of pieces. They have written things and had them published or appreciated in some form. Authors can be writers. But writers are more than authors. Writers have to write. Words are in their blood, in their genes, in their soul - in every fiber of being, begging for release. Words that must come out and splash onto a page regardless of the money, fame, or sense of worth. Regardless of what they get back, writers must write.
What do you think?