Mark Terry

Monday, June 30, 2008

Why Do You Write?

June 30, 2008
I'm feeling sort of tired this morning. This probably has less to do with it being Monday morning and more to do with it being the last day of June and it's 61 degrees and drizzling outside at the moment.

When I was thinking about what to write this morning it occurred to me that all my topics were sort of downers for aspiring writers, so maybe I should just shut up.

So instead, I thought I'd ask you: Why do you write?

Oh, but one caveat.

I'm going to eliminate two of your choices.

One, you don't get to write to get rich and famous. Sorry, but this is just not a good way to do that with odds that make winning the lottery look like a wise investment scheme.

And two, I think I've declared this enough, but let me say it again: "I just gotta" is not a valid reason unless, of course, you have been diagnosed with an obsessive-compulsive disorder and have failed to take your medication.

So, Mark, why do you write?

To make money. Because I enjoy it. Because it's fun. Because I like stories. Because I like to play with words. Because I find the process of writing stories to be satisfying in a way few other things are, even though I find the marketing/publishing process for fiction tends to take all the fun out of it. Because I have ideas for stories and I want to see how how they play out and the only way to do that is to write them down.

How about you?

Mark Terry


Blogger spyscribbler said...

Well, I hope you'll forgive me, but I'm in the honeymoon stage of my WIP. I write because I love my characters and my story, and I want to live in that world as vividly as possible. I write because I love my readers, and when they read my work, I want them to feel loved and accepted and treasured, vicariously through my main character.

I finish stuff for money.

5:30 AM  
Blogger Christa M. Miller said...

I write fiction to get the demons out. I internalize the stuff I see on the news, and if it's horrific enough, it will probably make it into my fiction at some point.

I write nonfiction to make money, to engage my left brain, and to help people.

And I write both because I find they go hand in hand. Nonfiction makes me think logically about fiction; fiction makes me think creatively about nonfiction.

6:09 AM  
Blogger Maria Zannini said...

Aside from making a living, I love to figure things out.

It doesn't matter if I'm figuring out motivation for a secondary character in a work of fiction, or explaining a complicated subject to an audience of 10-year olds within the framework of a nonfiction article.

It's the act of solving the puzzle that makes it enjoyable, and hence makes it worthwhile for me.

6:20 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

--ah yes, the honeymoon stage, when everything seems possible, every word dazzles and you just know every agent, editor and reader is going to snatch the manuscript up.

--"And I write both because I find they go hand in hand. Nonfiction makes me think logically about fiction; fiction makes me think creatively about nonfiction."

I really like that. I agree with you. Also, of course, nonfiction pays better.

--yes, fiction can seem like a puzzle, that's for sure. A chess game, sometimes, where you have to think several moves ahead.

6:34 AM  
Blogger Erica Orloff said...

Hi Mark:
I write to earn a living. And I write because I still feel a sense--most of the time--of great, almost child-like "fun" when I am in the midst of a story.

7:23 AM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

I quit smoking and needed something to do with my hands.

7:48 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Sounds like me.

Hope it worked. Idle hands and the devil's work and all that...

8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This question's easy. I've always loved making up stories. I drew stories in pictures with crayons before I could read or write. Later, manipulating words to make stories became a subsidiary pleasure. Some of my essays are more a matter of playing with words I guess. Why I like making up stories, who can say? Not me.

10:36 AM  
Blogger kitty said...

I love getting lost in the stories.


10:51 AM  
Blogger Zoe Winters said...

Because I feel crazy and like my life has no purpose when I don't. Or more specifically like I'm wasting my life and not doing what I know I should be doing. Whether or not this ends up making money for me is a completely separate issue from the question of "what I should be doing with my life." I think we sometimes forget that what one should be doing with their life is not necessarily the same thing they do to make money. Sometimes one's moneymaking is a means to an end. Sometimes one gets lucky and can do what they are meant to do and make money doing it.

12:30 PM  
Blogger Stephen Parrish said...

If all I wanted was to become rich I'd do something entrepreneurial, like open a ball bearing factory.

If all I wanted was to become famous I'd go into politics and put an end to the Iraq War and global warming and Ann Coulter.

Problem is, I want to become rich AND famous.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

I like stories. Reading them and writing them.

Stephen, if you could do away with Anne Coulter, you'd automatically get my vote.

Zoe, I was part of a talk last summer and and one of the other authors said, "Writing fiction is how I process the world."

I think there's a lot of truth to that statement.

1:20 PM  
Blogger MissWrite said...

After getting a rush freelance assignment at 9:30 last night that I had to have done in six hours, not getting to bed until 3 am, getting up at 6 am and having an entire day's work thrust at me once again (same company)... right now asking me this question may not be all that intelligent. The person assigning me the work today asked me what I was looking for when I was about done with the work (I forget what spurred the question). I said a gun.

Why I write fiction? I love it. I comes out freely like movies in my head. It's the creative side to the wretched money making side. LOL (I actually like freelancing normally.)

4:03 PM  
Blogger Melanie Avila said...

I love telling stories. Always have. Now that I have free time I decided to write out what I'm thinking. I'd love to earn money from writing, but that's still a long way off.

I'd also like to throw in my vote to do away with Ann Coulter.

3:37 PM  
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8:40 PM  

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