The compulsion to write

This evening I read Anne-Mhairi Simpson’s wonderful guest post on Carrie Mumford’s blog here . It gave me a lot to ponder about dreams and success and writing. If I am honest, I would like to have more time to write about things I want to write about; I would like to have enough money to travel to visit friends and places; I would like to be known and respected as a writer. This last is far above the others as a dream. I think of the books I’ve read that reached inside me, saw me, changed me, stretched my thinking. My dream is to write books that would do the same for other people. I don’t think that adds up being a famous writer, or even one that can afford to travel or quit the day job. It really is a far more prideful goal.

No matter the cost in sleep, brain function or attention span, I am happier when I write; when I don’t take the time, I stop thinking. That realization just slammed into me. When I was asked in elementary school to spell a word, I mentally wrote it on the ceiling. When asked to do arithmetic problems, I did the same. Teenage angst? Poured out in page after page. I look at my life and the pattern is rather astounding. I write to figure things out, to put my dreams into words, to connect with some part of myself that hides from the daylight and conscious thought.

This revelation applies to more than my personal memoir, morning pages sort of writing. I write about characters who are strong enough to change and grow and win against all the odds, hoping that I can borrow their strength and commitment.

I’d be very interested in anything you’d care to share about why you write.