Monday, September 7, 2009

Why I Write

Sometimes I ask myself, "Why do I write?" It's not as if I don't have other things I should be doing, like cleaning my house or pulling weeds in the garden, or making a dinner that didn't come in a box I bought at Costco. Sometimes I sit down at the computer and have to force myself to type a few paragraphs on my work in progress, or rewrite a scene that's been bothering me. It isn't always fun.

So why do I feel compelled to do it?

I am a stay-at-home mother of three kids-- three clever, adorable, and somewhat rambunctious kids ranging in age from 2 to 5 (yup, that's 3 in 3 years, we're crazy). I love being a stay-at-home mom, and I'm not just saying that. I love that I get to be with them all day long and that I get to enjoy all of the little moments that make parenting worthwhile. Like when my five-year-old came up to me a few weeks ago with a piece of paper covered in words that she'd spelled all by herself-- including mome (mommie), dade (daddy), and my personal favorite kmpyooder (computer). Or when my two year old says "Mom, wanna nuggle?" and then hops up on my lap and snuggles for a few minutes just because.

So I love what I do. I can honestly say there isn't anywhere I'd rather be every day. But... sometimes I feel like all I do is feed them and clean up after them and keep them from fighting with each other. Sometimes I go days without speaking to another adult (aside from my husband). And sometimes I wonder why I even bothered graduating from college.

When my oldest was about 2 I decided that I needed to be doing something creative--something to remind me that I have a brain. I tried quilting... um, lets just say that wasn't my forté. I took a pottery class and I loved it, but I wasn't really great at that either.

The next year I decided I wanted to write a book. I'm still not really sure why. I always kind of liked to write, my first degree was in Print Journalism, but I'd never done much creative writing. I loved to read though, so maybe that was it. For some reason I started and I stuck with it and for the past two years I've poured almost all of my creative energy writing fiction.

After a few months of neglecting my house (because I was using my baby's nap time for writing instead of cleaning), I found that my kids and husband still loved me, and I was happier. Writing was good for me.

I sometimes feel like a bit of an upstart when I read about how other aspiring writers have dreamed about writing books since they were eight-years-old and they've written 28 full length novels since then. I began writing when I was 26-years-old, a week after I gave birth to my 3rd child. Now I write because it's what I do. Writing is my outlet. It reminds me that I am a creative being and not just a cleaning machine. And it makes me happy.

This makes me wonder about other people's motivation for writing. So I'll ask you:

Why do you write? Or if you aren't a writer, what is your creative pursuit and how does it enrich your life?


Tabitha Bird said...

I write because I need to know what I think. Somehow words on a page are so much clearer. I started writing last year after someone sent my work to a magazine and they emailed me asking if they could print it. I was surprised to find that I could put words together, but have enjoyed it ever since.

MeganRebekah said...

I write because I see it as a challenge. I've always enjoyed reading, and stories have always built up in my head. Sometimes it was just daydreams about my own life, or I would create backstories for strangers I met at work. Eventually my brain got full and the stories needed to come out.
I love the challenge of getting a story down on paper in a way that makes sense to other people too. I like the challenge of perfecting that work to make it shine. And crazy as it sounds, I especially love the future challenge of trying to get that work published.

Awesome post Nat! I'm still so excited for your new blog!

(and I might use this as my own topic tomorrow...)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I write because I have to. I always have put my emotions and stories down on paper. I don't know why. First, it was playlets for the neighborhood, then teen angsty poetry, then haiku, then short stories and starts of novels, then non-fiction as a career, then back to fiction. I guess putting what I think on paper is what makes me Me.

Lazy Writer said...

I write for the same reasons you do. I also neglect the cooking and the cleaning. That's why I call myself 'Lazy Writer'. it's not because I'm lazy when it comes to writing. It's because I'm lazy when it comes to everything else so I can write. My kids and husband still love me, too. And, like you said, I'm happier. And you know the old saying: when mom's happy, everyone else is happy. :)

Patti said...

I write because when I get that one sentence, one paragraph, one chapter down it's such a great feeling and I loved writing the end for the first time.

I also love when people stay up late, ignore their dishes or their children and read what I've written. That's a good feeling too.

Jody Hedlund said...

Love this post! Yes, as a SAHM writing is a lifeline for me some days. I totally agree with everything you said about being a SAHM (and now I homeschool too). I wouldn't change that for the world. But I need (and my kids do too) something else for me to focus on besides them and their needs 24/7. And writing gives me that outlet that I especially need at this point in my life! I look forward to the day when I can have more time to write and am less tired when I actually sit down to type or plot! But at this point, I'm grateful for the little time that I do get!

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Stories have always brewed in my head. Sometimes I have imaginary conversations play in my head while I'm driving, showering, people watching, whatever. I figured I should start writing them down. ;)

Jenn Johansson said...

I'm like you, it wasn't something I ever thought I'd want to do until I started writing. Now I can't stop. I feel like I'm not whole without it. I'm a happier person, wife, mom, you name it. In a way, I'm addicted.

LeMira said...

I'm not author of any other book other than my journal. I've tried creative writing, but I can't get the pictures from my head to paper. I write for therapy. When I write in my journal, I'm talking to my good friend.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

I'm so impressed you grabbed the interest of an agent after two years of writing. Well done!