Last September Dwight Garner published an essay in the New York Times Sunday Magazine where he grouses about certain authors (Jeffrey Eugenides, Jonathan Franzen, Donna Tartt, Michael Chabon, et al.) who, in his view, go “too long” between books.

What?

Here he’s complaining about not enough books when imho far too many books are being written and published.  I go in a bookstore and am overwhelmed with more books anyone could ever read, or want to read, or need to read.

In fact, going into a bookstore often has the effect of making me stop writing altogether, at least temporarily.  It’s temporary because the fact is that being a writer means you gotta write and that if you don’t write you go a little nutso and that therefore you plug away whether or not publishing ever becomes a part of the picture.

Some days, though, this reasoning doesn’t cut it.  Days I read a Really Fantastic Book that makes me ooze with admiration and envy and, let’s face it, self-loathing.  I could never write anything like that, I mutter.  Maybe you, dear reader, sometimes feel like this, too. 

Which makes me wonder:  Why do we even bother?

I pondered and, for you, for me, compiled these 15 Reasons To Write Fiction.  (Some are better than others.)

  1. You never outgrew having imaginary friends.  Fiction-writing makes it okay for you to spend vast amounts of time in the company of made-up people.
  2. You want to be “leave something behind.”  Sounds grandiose yet easier than you think.  Throw something on a website (better, several websites).  It will be there a long time.
  3. You want to “say something new.”  Not that you will but you think you will and that’s all that counts.  Ha.
  4. You “have a novel in you.”  Ew.  You do?  That must be uncomfortable.
  5. You seek revenge.  Maybe memoir is better for this but you can get a lot of satisfying knife-in-the-back-twisting via fiction, too.  Try it.  It’s fun.
  6. You want to give pleasure.  Yes yes yes.  Writing that entertains, enlightens, consoles, or educates is worth the pixels/paper it’s written on.
  7. You want to share your wisdom.  Old people are the most likely to go this route.  It’s probably harmless.
  8. You want to express yourself.  I’ve never really understood this one, but it’s very popular.
  9. You seek escape from your banal and mind-numbingly boring life.  Related to reason #1.  And, I think, a perfectly valid motive to write.  Who are you hurting, really?  Bonus: Writing does not require a lot of costly gear.
  10. You want to make a lot of money.  This has to be the saddest reason.  Are you nuts?
  11. You want to change the world. Not as sad as reason #10.  But still–are you nuts?
  12. You seek fame.  That’s nice.  Maybe you can be famous for making a lot of money and changing the world.
  13. You want to create something beautiful.  Most commendable.  The cool thing is, you can combine this reason with reasons #1 through #8.  Also #14.
  14. You better understand the world and life when you labor to put it down on paper.  Not bad.  Pretty good, really.  I like it.
  15. You want to make yourself happy, or at least not sad.  Maybe it is this simple, after all.

Of course you don’t really need a reason to write.  But on days you do, some of the above may help.

Views: 36

Comment

You need to be a member of She Writes to add comments!

Join She Writes

Comment by Karen Burns on February 1, 2012 at 6:20pm

The ego, huh?  That's interesting.  For me, looking at what I've written is most of the time NOT an activity that builds up the old self-esteem.  But then everyone's experience is different!  Suffice it to say that as writers we need to write, whether or not we have a "good" reason.

Comment by Karen Burns on February 1, 2012 at 6:01pm

The ego, huh?  That's interesting.  For me, looking at what I've written is most of the time NOT an activity that builds up the old self-esteem.  But then everyone's experience is different!  Suffice it to say that as writers we need to write, whether or not we have a "good" reason.

Comment by Karen Burns on February 1, 2012 at 6:00pm

The ego, huh?  That's interesting.  For me, looking at what I've written is most of the time NOT an activity that builds up the old self-esteem.  But then everyone's experience is different!  Suffice it to say that as writers we need to write, whether or not we have a "good" reason.

Comment by Karen Burns on February 1, 2012 at 6:00pm

The ego, huh?  That's interesting.  For me, looking at what I've written is most of the time NOT an activity that builds up the old self-esteem.  But then everyone's experience is different!  Suffice it to say that as writers we need to write, whether or not we have a "good" reason.

Comment by Karen Burns on February 1, 2012 at 5:59pm

The ego, huh?  That's interesting.  For me, looking at what I've written is most of the time NOT an activity that builds up the old self-esteem.  But then everyone's experience is different!  Suffice it to say that as writers we need to write, whether or not we have a "good" reason.

Comment by Sally Whitney on February 1, 2012 at 1:42pm

Karen, I thought of something else to support my belief in the pleasure of writing. I'm familiar with the quote from the author who only likes having written, but another famous author said that writing feeds the soul, whereas having written only feeds the ego.

Comment by Sally Whitney on February 1, 2012 at 12:41pm

Okay. Having struggled most of the morning to produce a few paragraphs, I'll give you that maybe it's not always fun. But I can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing.

Comment by Karen Burns on February 1, 2012 at 11:23am

Well, Sally, I guess you're right.  It is fun, or at least sometimes it's fun.  Most of the time,I guess.  Some of the time?  One time out of ten??  Someone famous once said he doesn't like writing, he likes having written.  However (despite all the backing and forthing) I would have to say that the act of writing is, if not exactly fun, then tremendously rewarding and satisfying.

Comment by Sally Whitney on February 1, 2012 at 9:22am

These are all good reasons to write, except for 10, 11, and 12. As you say, you'd have to be pretty naive to write only for money or fame. I'd elaborate on number 15 to say "because it's fun." It's hard work, but I enjoy it. I can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing. And there's always the belief that the next thing I write may be the best thing I've ever written.

Latest Activity

Rita Gardner liked Jill Jepson's profile
2 hours ago
Bdl Heart liked Jill Jepson's blog post [Breakfast with the Muse] Six Ways to Give the Gift of Writing
2 hours ago
Deborah Ailman posted blog posts
4 hours ago
A blog post by Sara Chambers was featured

The Importance of a Great Author Headshot

So . . . you wrote a book from the comfort of your fuzzy bunny slippers and your beautiful, well-lit room with a view. Now that it’s time to put your hard-earned words out into the world, it’s time to think of things like platform building and…See More
4 hours ago

Members

Badge

Loading…

© 2014   Created by Kamy Wicoff.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service