Why Do Authors Write? – #1 “Have To”
I have been asked, more than a few times and in more than a few ways, why I write. I’m sure it’s a common question for authors of all sorts of fiction, and every author will have a personal reason, if you can tease it out of him/her.
The reason most commonly thrown out there is “because I have to!” Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But what does “have to” really mean? Is there some guy with a shotgun standing behind us saying, “Write or your doggie gets it?” Is a bookstore bully going to beat you up if you don’t get a new book on the shelf in X amount of time? Probably neither of these draconian scenarios is the right one. So do we really “have to” write?
For me, “have to” is a catchphrase. It’s easy to say and closes off the discussion before it gets too personal. In reality, I “have to” write because I’m obsessed. I get a crazy idea for a story in my head and it won’t let me go until I write something down about it. That might be a comment as brief as a few sentences, or it might be a full-blown outline. But something has to go down on digital paper before it’ll let me go. Sometimes, even that doesn’t release me from the harpy-muse’s talons. As obsessions go, it’s relative harmless and, thus far, has even been beneficial in many ways. The fact is, however, that if I didn’t obsess over my stories, I’d likely find something else to obsess over. That’s my nature. That’s what makes me “have to” write.
In this brief series of short articles, I’d like to focus on the various reasons authors “have to” write. Many of us share the same reasons, but there are unique ones out there as well. I encourage you to comment on your reasons as we go along.
In the next article, I’ll take a look at how a need for catharsis can make us “have to” write.