So Why Do I Write?

I covered a bit of this in my last post, the idea that I'm using writing as a means of self-expression, but I figured the topic was worth its own post. Maybe it is, and maybe it's not, but I'm doing this stream-of-concentration style and I had it written down in the few, scribbled notes I have for blog topics.

So here, as they say, we go.

Let's define our terms this time, class

Let me explain a bit more about what I mean when I say "write". When I say "write", I don't mean just scribble down some random thoughts in a journal or on a blog. I mean stitch together something that requires thought and conscious effort to put together in a cohesive, coherent and concrete manner. Alliteration aside, I'm talking about writing something with substance, something that's worthwhile to put together and even more worthwhile for someone to read.

Writing, to me, is more than just self-expression, though that's an important part of it to (as this blog illustrates). Writing is a sort of free creative forum, the equivalent of having a blank canvas to paint on, the ultimate in free expression. You or I can go to a place like this, other blogs, forums, offline writing software, or even do it the old-fashioned way with a pencil (or pen, if you're daring) and paper, and write literally whatever we want.

Whatever. We. Want.

Writing has more freedom than just about any expressive medium. Painting is next-closest, but painting is also more practice and skill oriented, to be able to get the colors, shadows and lines just so to make what appears in your head come out right. Things like films and plays are limited by budget, by the inherent limitations of props and technology, and even by actors and directors. That's not to say those things make for worse expression of creativity necessarily, art is a response to limitations after all, but for pure undiluted freedom it's a different matter.

So where does that leave me?

When I was young, I used to tell stories all the time. I used my various toys to play out stories that were already in my head. Of course, I was limited by the toys I had and by my own primitive understandings of how stories are structured. My mom, having observed her son over in the corner babbling to himself while swirling toys through the air, suggested that, rather than acting out stories once and then forgetting them, I start to write them down.

So now you know who to blame for this.

Writing, for me, is a way to scrawl out whatever insane, rambling, random things pop into my head at 3am. It's a way to clear the cobwebs and empty the lint-trap in my head. It's a way to unwind, relax and immerse myself in worlds I've created, hang out with characters I discovered, but don't dictate to (more on how I write characters will come in a later article). And it's also a way for me to tell stories that I couldn't tell any other way and allow other people to read them as well.

Being the introverted type-B I am, actually telling people my stories face to face is something I'm not inclined to do. Writing them down and somehow getting other people to read them is a different matter entirely. Not that I think my stories are all that, I've read enough other books to not consider my own work as being the next J.K Rowling, but if I didn't think it was worth reading at all I wouldn't be writing them.

Now what?

So what am I writing, with all of these stories I have to tell? A variety of things. Most of which never really gelled together into actual stories beyond ideas of a few-dozen words. A handful managed to sprout legs and start to run around on their own. And one or two have fledged and flown.

I've doodled around with detective stories, westerns, superhero stuff, supernatural intrigue, high fantasy, low fantasy, historical fiction, aaaaand science fiction. I've done a few works within established universes (most people call those fan fiction since I'm not getting paid) and made a number of my own. Some ideas worked, some didn't, some sounded a lot better in my head, and others didn't actually start to work until I'd re-written them five or six times.

So, why do I write? I write because it's the best way I know to be creative. I love to tell stories, and writing them out is the best way I know to do so. I've been writing in various formats for a good twelve years or so, long enough to know that most everything I write is crap unless I put actual effort into making it work and have the practice and experience to come up with characters that are more than just 1-dimensional cardboard cutouts and plots that are more than just a loose confederation of instances.

That's a lot of what I'll be writing about on here. Writing, I mean. Writing about writing. Whatever. It's a big part of who I am at this point in my life, and it's a big part of what I want to be in the future. Whether that actually happens is another story. But I digress. Next time around, I'll be covering the sort of stories I like in more detail. Unless I get another idea between now and then.