Author Topic: What drives you to write?  (Read 10564 times)

Offline cavscott

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What drives you to write?
« on: May 03, 2012, 09:31:02 am »
In the latest issue of the BFS Journal, Mark Morris writes:

Quote
Why do writers write? What compels them to commit their thoughts and ideas to paper, and then to present them for the scrutiny, criticism and approbation of others? A recent Facebook update from Gary McMahon gave me pause for thought. In it he claimed that he was only ever truly happy when he was writing. Not when he had completed a piece of work to the very best of his ability and was basking in the glow of a job well done; not when he had the finished book, complete with groovy cover and that delicious smell of fresh ink, in his hands; not even when fans were telling him how much they loved his work. No, it was the act of writing itself that he loved the process of sitting at a desk and trying to express the tangle of ideas in his head in some kind of coherent and readable way.

For me, writing is tough. Its hard, brain-aching, often exasperating work. Dont get me wrong. I love my job. I love creating characters, and telling stories, and building what I hope are convincing worlds around them, and tapping into thoughts and emotions that, if Im lucky, convey themselves to the reader. But I wouldnt describe myself as happy during the actual process of writing. Im happy when Ive written or rather, when Im satisfied with what Ive written. But during the act of writing itself Im thoughtful, pre-occupied, sometimes frustrated, and occasionally fleetingly self-satisfied at a particular line of dialogue or turn of phrase. But happy?

No.

Garys words prompted me to ask him, and a number of other writer friends, what actually motivates them to write.

You can read the answers Mark received in the Spring Edition, but we want to know what makes you write?

What drives you to put pen to paper or finger to keyboard?

Offline cavscott

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2012, 01:47:28 pm »
We've had a few replies to this via Twitter:

@phil_lunt One of my art lecturers asked us students a similar question, once. His own response was because he 'had' to create...

@colinFBarnes because it allows me to escape the drudgery and terror of life. I can create my own worlds in my vision.

@simon_writes Because how else can I get my worlds and my characters out my head?

@lifeatknight I start to feel crazy when not writing; it tilts the world back on its axis. When ideas aren't expressed my brain hurts lol

@tellygremlin it helps me make sense of the stories rattling around in my head.


Offline Rolnikov

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2012, 02:37:07 pm »
I thought about it a bit. Writing reviews:

- helps me to avoid boring my wife with my theories about books
- gets me lots of free stuff
- lets me move on to thinking about the next thing
- fills a review-shaped hole in my magazine
- leverages stuff I'm doing anyway (reading, thinking about reading) to create something useful for the magazine
- gives me puzzles to work on - trying to distill hours of reading or listening into a few hundred words
- suits current lifestyle - I'd struggle to write longer pieces that had any serious intent because my day is so broken up
- brings me in touch with the literary community
- is a way of putting my existing skills to good use
- is something you can work at to get better through experience

But if we weren't getting any fiction subs to TQF, I'd probably be writing fiction instead, like I did when we began...

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2012, 04:07:51 pm »
I forgot a big one - they also help me to remember the books I've read... There are books I read in my twenties that I barely remember at all.

My reasons are very prosaic compared to those guys with worlds bursting from their craniums!

Offline Des Lewis

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2012, 04:24:53 pm »
I forgot a big one - they also help me to remember the books I've read...

I've found that to be a very useful spin-off from my real-time reviewing. :)
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Offline cavscott

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2012, 05:22:46 pm »
I've been thinking about this all day.

I think I write because it would be impossible for me not to. That sounds all very pompous I know, but when I'm not writing I'm thinking about writing, I'm running through ideas in my head, wrestling plot points.

My wife is always telling me to switch off but there's no chance of that.

Granted, there are days when getting words down is like pulling teeth, but on the days when it works, when words flow, well, that's just the best feeling in the world. Exhilarating. Intoxicated. And it just makes you want to do the same tomorrow.

Offline Peter Coleborn

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2012, 05:57:31 pm »
What drives me to write? My team of chauffeurs, that's what (rather, who). :)

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2012, 06:45:40 pm »
I'm definitely not one of the driven types. I write when I have a reason for it, a project to work on. I'm quite keen on writing fiction again - I'm starting to look at submission guidelines and mull them over - but it's more about the challenge, getting an assignment and wondering what fun I could have with it. I haven't got the hunger or ambition that drives real writers.

Although that might be a good thing - when writers combine hunger and ambition with a talent as distinctly lacking as mine the results aren't always pretty.

Offline Phil Lunt

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2012, 02:54:19 am »
@phil_lunt One of my art lecturers asked us students a similar question, once. His own response was because he 'had' to create...

He was a scary bloke, that one. Amazingly talented, though. Naively, I was the one student brave/stupid enough to put up my hand and say "Because you want to...?" to which he barked down "No! No! It's because I 'have' to create. It's the reason I get out of bed in the morning....etc etc". I think that was on our third day. Possibly his way of hazing us. This is the chap: Rob Williams. (On the left, obviously... possibly just after threatening to throw the kid over the edge, or something...) Genius.

I've always scribbled, daydreamed too much and made up stories, though. So I studied art & design whilst acting and writing in my spare time. It's all about getting the stuff in my head out into the real world, one way or another. Making a hard copy, as it were, before it gets lost in a torrent of other stuff that I'm juggling. Mostly for myself, mostly to see how it actually looks on paper or on screen. To see if it's worth doing something about or a reference point to look back on in the future.

So, if I didn't write or sketch I'd have a massive build up of stuff in my head and possibly explode, basically  ;D

Offline Mark West

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2012, 09:28:35 am »
I write because I like to and because I've been doing it for so long, it's a part of me.  I don't write all the time, but I often have things mulling over in my head and have found over the past few years that a deadline is often needed to get things going.
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Offline cavscott

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2012, 09:30:43 am »

So, if I didn't write or sketch I'd have a massive build up of stuff in my head and possibly explode, basically  ;D

I love this...

Offline cavscott

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2012, 09:34:13 am »
I write because I like to and because I've been doing it for so long, it's a part of me.  I don't write all the time, but I often have things mulling over in my head and have found over the past few years that a deadline is often needed to get things going.

That's so often the case isn't it. It just becomes second nature to write after a while.

And yes, a deadline certainly helps at times.

I'm trying to find time to write more on spec - most of my work is commissioned which means that always comes to the fore - deadlines to meet and bills to pay, but I definitely need to make more time to work on 'my' stuff.

Offline CarolineC

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2012, 01:44:14 pm »
I'm probably going to sound like a silly "fangirl" but I guess I write (by doing interviews with people, mostly) in order to find out about different works and different people in the genre, and to make myself a part of this fantastic genre in some small way.

I tried my hand at writing fiction - no good at it (if writing horror is about exorcising personal demons then I should really be brilliant, but sadly I haven't found that outlet yet). I tried articles - not much good at those either. But when I started interviewing people I found I was learning so much about writing, editing and publishing, and the people behind it - I loved every minute of it! I don't know if I'm much good at it, but I do feel that my interviews are probably better than anything else I've tried (probably because it's really someone else doing the writing - I just dream up the questions!  :D)

I was fascinated by the responses Mark got in his article in the Journal. There seems to be such a wide variety of reasons why people write - from exorcising those demons, to wanting to give something back to the genre, to self-confessed showmanship! Interesting stuff!
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Offline Rolnikov

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2012, 02:41:44 pm »
I'm really grateful for this thread, since it really got me thinking about why I *don't* write, or at least why I don't write the kind of thing I always thought I'd be writing... and as a result decided to give it a proper try.

Offline cavscott

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2012, 02:42:42 pm »
I'm really grateful for this thread, since it really got me thinking about why I *don't* write, or at least why I don't write the kind of thing I always thought I'd be writing... and as a result decided to give it a proper try.

Excellent!