I’ve seen a few different blogs recently asking this question, and I thought maybe I’d answer that question in further detail here. Also, what a great reference to one of my writing heroes, George Orwell!
Firstly, I should say I’ve always loved to write. I still remember being in primary school (elementary school most people would call it outside of Britain) and folding up these A4 sheets, creating my own little books and writing stories in them. I dreamed of being a published writer, and I still do today.
However, I only started writing seriously when I was around fourteen. An idea came to me for a novel, and I thought, hey, why not write one? Well, needless to say it was a complete mess. I don’t think years of editing could have sorted it out – it would have been a rewrite or nothing. In the end, I didn’t even complete it, although maybe someday I will go back and rewrite it.
After the failure of this first project, another idea came to me, and this one seemed to have far more promise than the last. The idea actually came from a short story competition, and when I found I’d gone way over the word count, I realised that I finally had a story which was dying to be told. Around eight months or so later, I finished the draft of my first (but certainly not my last!) novel.
But back to the question: why do I write? It may sound like the sole reason I write is because it’s my dream to be published. But to be honest, I don't think that is the main reason I write today. It’s certainly a desire of mine, but if I was told I was never going to be published right now, I still think I would continue to write.
My answer to this question is that I write to escape. The times that I started writing, both with the failed project and the first finished project, were a way of distracting myself from what was going on in my life. Things seemed so crazy, and being that overwhelmed with everything, I just wanted to run away. Eventually, writing became my way of running away. When I’m writing, I’m not thinking about all the drama and chaos going on in life – all I’m thinking about is the world and the characters I’ve created.
Writing allows me to explore that side of myself which I don’t get to consider normally. It helps me feel like I’ve achieved things in the short term, and it makes me happy when everything else seems to have gone out the window. Writing has gotten me through some really tough times, and I’m incredibly grateful for that.
When I’m done writing, I can step away with a clear head, ready to tackle the multitude of other problems I’m facing. To me, writing is a break from everything else around me: it is escapism. Like a small home-bound holiday.
So, that’s the reason I write. Tell me: why do you write? What motivates you to keep writing despite everything else going on around you?