I’ve answered this with a question of my own: why do you fish, why do you build houses, why do you do what you do? The obvious reason is because I want to.
Telling others why I loved fishing was easier than explaining why I loved to write. I mean, to many, writing was school work, which they were thankfully graduated from and wouldn’t have to do again.
Lately, I get this question with an add on: Why do write so much?
Ten years ago, I couldn’t answer this question nor the simple one (why do you write) as accurately as I can at this moment. It’s not that I’ve thought about it any more; the answer simply comes to me when I’m asked.
Why do I write like a mad woman?
The Short Answer
I have stories that need to be told before I die, and I want to live where I love.
The Long Answer
The world my fantasy characters live in has existed for me since I was 13 (since 1980). It’s as real to me as far off countries I’ve never visited. Actually, it’s more real. In my mind, I’ve stumbled along its trails, visited the taverns, fell in love with many of the people and stood on its turrets to gaze upon the land.
The people who populate this land whisper in my ear, make me laugh, share their worst grief and their deepest desires, make me think and give me hope to believe in things when I stumble. They reassure me that everything will be all right, time will sort out what I don’t understand and a good man is never down as long as someone who cares about him remains hopeful.
They make me believe in heroes when the reality I live in is going crazy. Cue turning off the news.
These wonderful people want me to share their stories of adventure, love and hardship. They speak to me even when I should be listening to my kids complain about their day, when my mind should be on driving and when I sit by the campfire enjoying the twinkling stars.
I need to record these stories, and as one is done, another takes shape. I’m about 30,000 words from the end of Healing Stones with little idea of what will happen in book 5 Gathered Stones. However, while feeding the goats and donkeys today, the story came to me on the cold morning breeze.
“How far would you go to save a mate?” asked Merk Lindrum.
“As far as you’d go,” said Isla.
“Now we understand each other.”
The need to tell these stories is so great, I can no longer take decades to finish them. The ten-book series must be done before I die. Although I don’t plan to die for another 49 years (I’m shooting for 100), life sometimes takes unexpected turns, and in a few decades, I might not have the capacity to write as I do now. The books will be done by the time I’m 60. That gives me 8 years and 9 months to complete them. I have 3 down with 7 to go.
One of my worst fears is dying before I’m done, so stand aside; I have writing to do.
The other reason I love writing is playing with words. Yes, I like simple words, making my sentences from simple words allows almost everyone to read them. You won’t need a college degree or a dictionary (probably). I love dropping hints in one chapter or one book and revealing that secret later on.
I like to layer my books with subtle jokes not everyone will get, hide messages, twist words and use archaic meanings of words.
I write these books for myself, for my enjoyment, my pleasure. When the final book is published, I wish to sit back and read all of them from the start, enjoying the stories all over again.
Perhaps the simple reason why I write is: for myself.
The other reason I write is the benefit of living where I want. I’ve never been a city girl, never will be. I’m the barefoot tomboy running down a dirt road through mud puddles without a care. The same barefoot girl who bounds from one slippery rock to the other with green seaweed stuck between her toes searching for star fish to make a wish.
I’m the girl in the wooden boat reeling in a mackerel and later cleaning it on the shore and throwing the guts to the circling seagulls. I’m the girl you’ll meet on the trail driving a three-wheeler covered with mud and laughing with the boys.
I’m the one drinking around the campfire and singing along with Tom T. Hall, Bryan Adams and Reba McEntire and falling into a sleeping bag to sleep it off only to rise with the sun and get out in the boat before anyone else is awake in the camp just so I can admire the calm ocean waters and see the shags dive for minnows.
Writing allows me to run off to the ocean whenever I want. I can write from anywhere, and when the kids are graduated from high school, I can live by the ocean or wherever the wind blows me. As long as I get an occasional Internet signal (think Library), I can work.
What I Don’t Like About Writing
There is only one: it requires no physical labour. I wish I had to lift heavy items and walk miles a day to write a story. Then writing would be flawless. I’d love it more than I do now.
Why do you write?
For yourself? To tell the stories swarming in the your head? For the freedom? Or just because you can?