“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. It’s hard, brain-aching, often exasperating work. Don’t 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 I’m lucky, convey themselves to the reader. But I wouldn’t describe myself as ‘happy’ during the actual process of writing. I’m happy when I’ve written – or rather, when I’m satisfied with what I’ve written. But during the act of writing itself I’m… thoughtful, pre-occupied, sometimes frustrated, and occasionally – fleetingly – self-satisfied at a particular line of dialogue or turn of phrase. But happy? No.
Gary’s 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 of the BFS Journal, but we want to know what makes you write?
What drives you to put pen to paper or finger to keyboard?
Let us know by joining the discussion on the BFS Forum