Why Do I Write?

I fantasize about my writing. I imagine publishing a thought-provoking book, or writing a darkly satirical column for an online magazine, or, best of all, writing edgy short fiction for self-funded, mildly subversive literary journals. In these fantasies, I’m always well-known, but not famous; the sort of underground hero that only the literary elite know of and hold in the highest esteem.

(Who are the literary elite, you may be asking. I have no idea, but in my fantasy world they love me. LOVE. ME.)

Then there are times when I think all my work should be richly imbued with meaning and substance, rife with with transforming truths that bring peace, light, and understanding to the world.

Unfortunately, I have no idea what those words would be. I just spent three days trying to decide between two different shades of gray for my new kitchen floor. I’m not a person who “has it all figured out.”

Still I persevere in my fantasy world. And I suppose I could write in any one of those styles except for one small detail:  that doing so would only be completely unlike the real me in every conceivable way.

The truth is that the real me wouldn’t enjoy the writing the fantasy me does at all. The real me would find it boring…tedious…depressing.

The real me wants to write quirky characters, sweet and sexy romances, tongue in cheek articles on life and love, crazy road trip stories, time traveling science fiction, and humorous memoirs. You know — fun stuff!

I don’t have the inner motivation to dedicate myself to writing life changing, soul-searching works of art. And I’m definitely never going to write subversive polemics for political journals since I’m pretty sure I’d have to have a strong opinion about something first, and honestly, most of the time I don’t actually know what’s going on in the world.

I’ll come right out and say it:  The real me is a hack.

I don’t have a deep rooted desire to lead people on a journal of self exploration. I’d much rather make them laugh, or offer them a good “beach read.” It’s far more enjoyable for me to craft a guilty pleasure of a story than to do the research required to produce a literary opus.   I don’t write to impress people, get famous, make a difference, earn money, or to change the world.

I write because writing makes me happy.  Do I really need another reason?

Even this picture is part of my fantasy world — I haven’t written on a typewriter in two decades, and find no inspiration in pine cones. But doesn’t it make a lovely tableau?