Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Why Do You Write?

by Deren Hansen

I realize that, as the novelty of writing a novel and the blush of excitement when the starting gun fired on November 1st have both worn off and you now find yourself slogging through the NaNoWriMo trenches, greeting you with an existential question when you take a break from your feverish writing borders on the cruel. But hey, isn't the NaNoWriMo motto, "That which doesn't kill us makes us type faster?"

Julianna Baggott, writting on Writer Unboxed a few days ago, asked, "You Want to Write, or Do You Want to Be a Writer?" She said:

"Look, I don’t know what to tell you. You want to write or do you want to be a writer? I hope the answer is that you want to write, because being a writer isn’t worth it.
"I get emails from friends whose grown kids want to be writers. They want advice. I give the same advice I do about marriage – only do this only if you’re compelled, if nothing could stop you.
"Maybe you write because you have to. Need is the best form of discipline. The page doesn’t need us. It never has and never will.

"But need keeps coming. It’s an engine that drives and drives and drives. It has its own will. It says, Ten years? I’ll give you a lifetime."

Take a few minutes to read Julianna's entire post and then come back here and tell us what you think:  Did she pull her punches, nail it, or over-dramatize the existential problem of being a writer?

Deren Hansen is the author of the Dunlith Hill Writers Guides. This article is from Sustainable Creativity: How to Enjoy a Committed, Long-term Relationship with your Muse. Learn more at

No comments: