This first post on my brand new web space and web home comes as a response to Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction writing challenge, which in this case is not about writing a flash fiction story. His challenge is simple: write an essay with title “why I write”, which in my case means to write about why I want to write fiction. I believe the concept of “why I write” is deceptively simple. I never set out to answer such a question explicitly. Up until now, it was enough that I wanted to write, without examining the reasons behind it in a rational and organised way. Or rather to put it in a different way, I never tried to convey what I feel about it in words, something that now feels like an omission. So here is why I write:
I write because I can
I was raised with the notion that I am not good enough, not for writing and not for anything else. To make things even worse it was combined with the fallacy that the “not good enough” state is terminal and unrecoverable. Naturally, the need to express myself creatively was in direct conflict with those powerful and highly abusive directives. The first time someone told me they liked my words I simply didn’t believe them and that continued for some time regardless of the amount of people indicating that they actually saw something in my stories and they wanted to read more. From that point it took years to admit that I want to write, then accept that I could write, and finally set myself on the path of learning how to write. I write because I finally stopped believing the black-and-white myth that writers are born not made, as well as the lie that if one is not “good enough”, one is doomed and can never get better. No writer begins their journey “good enough” but through presence and constant practice they become better and eventually “good enough”. I’m a life-long student and will be getting better until I draw my last breath.
I write because I can escape
Living in an abusive environment can be deadly. I’m a survivor and I survived because I could escape through the books to worlds that helped me forget the harsh reality, the fear, the half-life, and the web of confused and conflicting lies that eventually became unconscious thought constructs governing my life for years. I survived because I escaped, first in the books that took me away and then in the stories I was making up in a secret place in my mind just before drifting off to sleep every night, hoping I could continue the adventures in my dreams. I write because I still escape inside my characters, living their lives as if they were my own, inside worlds that exist full of wonder and adventure. I escape when I write my stories and that’s how I still survive. Regardless of the reasons, that’s how my mind is wired and that’s how I can exist as a human being.
I write because I can create
Creating is both an addictive and a powerful directive. Letting go and expressing myself creatively is a powerful urge I can’t deny anymore. I questioned it for years and under the pseudo-notion of not being “good enough” I tried to ignore it and do anything but what my true self wanted and was screaming inside for me to do. It was a war against myself and such wars often end in tragedy. Once more, I survived, with help this time because I somehow found the courage to ask for help. Then as I started creating more and more, I noticed how easy it came, creating entire universes out of thin air, filled with wonder, adventure, and amazing people. I couldn’t stop now and I don’t plan to. Much like continuously improving my writing skills, I am a life-long student of learning how to create magic and wonderment through storytelling. I wouldn’t chose to live in another way and as my previous failed attempts proved, I couldn’t live in another way.
I write because it’s my passion
Over the years, I tried many other ways of expressing myself creatively. Some worked better than others did but none had the powerful effect storytelling has on me. For a while, I thought that perhaps I could create through music but even though I have music in my blood, composing didn’t work for me, perhaps because my calling is to create through storytelling and I couldn’t see how to do that with music. Living in the age where computer games promise fully interactive stories I thought I didn’t have to write but simply enjoy being lost in the various game worlds other people create and escape that way. I was successfully escaping but this time I was escaping from myself. For a while, I believed I could design games and the effect would be the same as writing my stories but again it wasn’t what I truly wanted to do despite the fact that games can be a truly powerful storytelling medium in the right hands. I experienced the games industry from inside and eventually I realised that to be free to tell the stories I wanted I had to write them fully as books. Interactivity is brilliant but not essential at least not right now. In my imagination, I see amazing vistas, entire worlds with brilliant people who have astonishing adventures and grow through them, learning to live and love, expanding into brilliant beings over time. This is my passion and my calling, it’s what gets my creative juices boiling, and it’s what I want to be doing for the rest of my days.
Why I write – gratitude and shout out
Gratitude first to Chuck Wendig for his brilliant presence through his website and his books. You can find him on Twitter as @ChuckWendig. Also, gratitude to Madeleine D’Este because her own response to Chuck Wendig’s challenge through her brilliant blog made me aware that I had somehow missed the initial challenge post in the first place. If you want to read her post about why she writes, you can find it here.