Here’s a fun exercise for fellow writers: Answer these two questions -
What do you write?
Why do you write it?
(It’s harder that it looks.)
What I Write
I write all kinds of things. Sometimes I write about small dogs and sometimes I write about dads and babies. I also write about the weather, especially when it’s raining. I write stories that children seem to like. I write picture book stories, so adults must like them too, otherwise children will never get to hear them. At the moment I’m trying to write about a girl who wants to be a mermaid. It’s tricky because such a story has been told before and I want to create something that’s original but still feels natural. I have to watch out for clunks because there should be a comforting rhythm to a picture book text. Some of my finished books include Littledog (it’s meant to be one word because that’s the dog’s name) My Dad Thinks He’s Funny and Big Rain Coming. Once I wrote a story about a holiday but no one wanted to publish it, probably because it wasn’t really that good. The same thing happened with my story about singing frogs. Plenty of times I write rubbish by mistake but every now and then I write something lovely. I write all kinds of things.
Why I Write It
I tried to give up writing once. It was during a busy time when I felt like I was drowning in the stress of an overcrowded life. I knew I needed to throw something overboard to stay afloat so I tossed writing over the side. (It wasn’t paying the bills after all.) But instead of feeling lighter, I felt like I was suffocating under an even greater heaviness. It pulled me deeper until I was forced to acknowledge what I’d always really known – writing was, and is, my life raft. When I write I feel free. Other writers understand what I mean. When we write we feel buoyant. We find peace through our writing. That sounds like nonsense to some people but not to other writers.
So I write for the nourishing weightless feelings of peace and freedom and then there’s the other reason; my ego. I write because I like being a published author. I like seeing my name on book covers. I like achieving success in a highly competitive field and I like the challenge of creating something from nothing. When it comes down to it, all reasons considered, I write for myself.
How would you answer?
*I stole the idea for these question from the Emerging Writer’s Festival site. They’re asking potential 2012 panelists to send in their answers.*