Writers ask writers: Why Do You Write?
If I was to answer this question based simply on why I am writing right now, it’s because I have a looming deadline for delivery of my second novel to my publisher. Like many people, I find that I need some pressure make sure that every day, while my children nap and after they go to bed, I sit down at the computer and write. I am also encouraged to keep going by the knowledge that I’ll have a second book on the shelves next year, and that I don’t want to be a victim of ‘second novel syndrome’ and fail to live up to the expectations of readers – or myself.
I’m also writing because I’ve loved the experiences of the past six months since Fractured was released: seeing my book in the windows of bookshops, discussing my characters as if they were real with book club members, and being invited to writers’ festivals. I’ve found a career that I love, and I want it to continue – and to do that, I have to write a decent second book!
But when I began writing Fractured, I had none of this to motivate me. I certainly hoped that one day I’d be talking on the stage at the festival instead of sitting in the audience, but it seemed so unlikely. In the early weeks after I began writing Fractured, my husband saw me writing at the kitchen table while bouncing my newborn baby in her chair while she slept. He paused, frowned, than said, ‘You must really love it.’ I recall looking up at him, and realising that he was right. I do love it; I wouldn’t do it otherwise. My life is incredibly busy with three young children, and yet I always make time to write, every day almost without fail. When I’m doing other things, I’m thinking about writing; when I’m reading, I’m comparing the book I’m reading to my own writing; I’m always waiting for the time when I can sit down and try to put the words in my head onto the page.
I enjoy the escape writing gives me from real life, the way it lets me explore my own reactions to complex situations, and the satisfaction of coming to the end of a draft, or sorting out a structural problem. For me, writing is an escape, an intellectual challenge, and an incredibly frustrating puzzle that gives me immense satisfaction when I solve it.
You can read about why the other writers in my group write below:
Amanda Curtin, for whom being a writer is ‘the blood and tissue and neurons of identity’
Sara Foster, who has many reasons, including that ‘there is always something more waiting to be written’…
Annabel Smith describes how she went from being a reader to a full time writer, a passion that now ‘defines’ her…
Natasha Lester who tells us whether writing made her more rich or more beautiful…
Emma Chapman who writes for many reasons, including for ‘the joy of being lost in someone else’s head’
If you’re a writer, why do you do it?