Why Do We Write?

I usually try to stray away from these pseudo-intellectual questions, because in the end no question is really answered, and all you’re left with is a few minutes of your time gone from your day. However, earlier this week I was lurking around on a writer forum, and I saw a rather interesting thread. Its title oozed worry, making me think, “Oh god, this is going to be another confidence killer, isn’t it?” Thankfully, it wasn’t (at least for me).

See, this guy was complaining about a certain paragraph he had read in Stephen King’s On Writing. 

You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness or even despair. The sense that you can never completely put on the page what’s in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and eyes narrow ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you, or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say that again: You must not come lightly to the blank page. I’m not asking you to come reverently or unquestioningly, I’m not asking you to be politically correct or to cast aside your sense of humor. Please, God, you have one! This isn’t a popularity contest. It’s not the moral Olympics, and it’s not church. But it’s writing, dammit! Not washing the car or putting on eyeliner. If you can take it seriously, we can do business. If you can’t or won’t, it’s time for you to close the book or eject the tape, and do something else. Wash the car maybe. Continue reading