Mark Terry

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Why Do You Write?

July 14, 2010
Okay, it's time for my annual WHY DO YOU WRITE? post. Once again, as usual, I have banned all responses along the lines of "I have to, I just have to" or "It's what God put me on Earth to do." First, if that's your answer, seek psychiatric help, there are medications for obsessive-compulsive disorders; two, I don't presume to have a clue what God wants out of the world and neither do you, and I find it a little hard to believe God's top priority for people is the writing of entertainment that gets read by a few thousand people, so get a grip, we're not running a cult here.

So, my answers are:

1. For money, it's how I pay my bills.
2. Because I can and it beats working for a living.
3. It's fun and gee, I get paid to do it, too.
4. I think most of us want to express ourselves creatively in some way and if I were a better musician maybe I'd do it that way, but writing works for me.
5. I'm well-suited personality-wise to spending hours by myself with imaginary friends; in fact, society probably wants me and my imaginary friends locked away in a room by ourselves where we can't hurt anybody.
6. It's just the form my obsessive-compulsive disorder takes and it's a lot easier on the water supply than compulsive hand washing.

Your turn.


Blogger Erica Orloff said...

1, 2, and 3. And I don't know if this is disallowed, but it's how I'm wired. I see the world and PROCESS it by writing. It's what I do.

6:45 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

I won't disallow it. I was part of a panel of mystery writes a couple years ago and one of the other novelists said that writing was how he processed the world, which I think struck a chord with every writer there. It may be how we place some order on what seems often like a chaotic place.

6:48 AM  
Blogger Robert Carraher said...

Well, for me it isn't for money...yet. I have always "written" it off to an Irishman's love of story telling, and blarney....I spent nearly 40 years in a pretty lucrative high tech career, but on and off during that time I have written and even published a few things - short stories, poems/lyrics and opinion pieces/music criticism - but hated the publishing or business side of it and certainly didn't need to jump through those hoops for a buck. Sometimes it's some need or "want to" feeling that a story shouldn't be forgotten (fiction based on historical events), other times it is the right way or only way to express what I feel(poetry). Lately it is all of the above with the added ingredient of still needing an outlet and not having that career to provide it. I also grew frustrated with a lot of the popular fiction out there that is not written that well, and figured I could do better, especially the way some (even very good writers)write technology into the story and get it so god awful wrong. That was the last straw that convinced me that I might have a bit of originality that could make my fiction unique.

7:00 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

I've heard a number of authors say, "I read some piece of crap and thought I could do better." That wasn't necessarily one of my motives, but more reading something great that I loved and thinking, "I wish I could write something like that. Maybe I should try."

7:03 AM  
Blogger Robert Carraher said...

Mark, I always figured that I could write at least as well as some of the mediocre authors out that that were making a living at it, but that wasn't enough to "push me over the line"-I had other easier ways to make money. But the bad technology thing, and no longer having those easier ways did. I just finished a book by an author I usually love, and the book had hit the NYT paperback list but in the story he has the "hero" tap into the fiber optic lines of a security system with a pair of wire cutters and a few alligator clips. As good as the rest of the story was, I wanted to hurl the book across the room when I read that. Another had a piece of dialog where one guy says to the other, "the problem is with router 4 on hard drive 11....this is akin to your mechanic telling you the problem with your brakes is the radiator cap! Yes, both items are on or in a car, but they are unrelated systems.

7:14 AM  
Blogger Natasha Fondren said...

1. I started writing because it was how I processed and grew to understand my sexuality. (I don't write for that reason anymore.)
2. I love story passionately.
3. It's pretty much my only money-making skill, that's arguably above minimum wage. My others are playing and teaching the piano, and I'm done teaching. Playing, well, I'm just not motivated or interested in the 6-8 hours of practicing a day anymore.

And because I'm "supposed" to. The Universe said. I swear. I know how it sounds, but I've learned there are drastic and horrid consequences if one doesn't follow one's, um, er... destiny.

8:05 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

--"It is your density!"--Back to the Future

8:45 AM  
Blogger Natasha Fondren said...


Probably one and the same. :-)

9:53 AM  
Blogger sex scenes at starbucks, said...

I love story.

I like my fake people better than many real people.

It's working through my psych issues. I know. But hell, we all got 'em.

It's a habit.

3:33 PM  
Blogger Barbara Martin said...

I began writing to distract myself from the painful medical condition DVT, as well as to entertain myself because I have found most novels to have sagging sections. Also, I have an idea that, to my knowlege, hasn't been thought of yet and I would give it a try.

4:58 PM  

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