For over a decade, I have been dabbling with writing as a kind of hobby--mostly working on a young adult novel and children's picture books. I've also done a lot of journaling as a way to try understanding myself and the world. And of course, most of my jobs have involved writing: quarterly summaries, incident reports, departmental support via email, etc. Recently, I decided to try focusing more on writing, to see if it was something I really wanted to do vocationally. But on which kind did I want to focus? Non-fiction, such as SEO or other types of ghostwriting, or even articles for magazines? Or memoir-type essays? Or fiction?
So of course I started trying to do ALL of the ideas. And after a couple of months of that, I can report that is NOT working. There are so many things milling around in my head that they are crowding each other out. I go round in circles and sometimes end up doing NONE of the ideas.
Which one, then, should be the focus? Would it help if I knew why I want to write?
Six months ago, I would have said I want to write fiction because it's more fun than my day-job. Wouldn't it be great to have a fun job? But since I'm now trying to understand the writing urge and my place in the writing world, I have not just been exploring other types of writing, but other reasons to write besides enjoyment. So far I have collected the following reasons (and please note that these aren't necessarily my reasons!):
GAH! That's a lot of possible reasons. Not really helping pick a focus, but quite a bit further along in my writing quest than "I want to write because it's fun!"
I guess it's silly of me to have assumed simplicity with this task--what in life worth doing is ever simple, after all? The list above is making my head spin, and for practical reasons, I do need to focus, so for now I'm going to do what I usually do in trying to figure things out: I'm going to see how I feel about it.
Day-job writing hasn't been particularly creative, but it's usually been satisfying in that it's complete in a short time, and connecting in that someone else usually reads it right away.
The process of journaling is therapeutic, engaging, and freeing and I usually feel amazing when I'm done.
Writing essays/short stories is engrossing, but halfway through I often blob out, thinking that this couldn't possibly be interesting or useful to anyone.
Writing children's books feels silly and light.
And working on my novel...that's the most complex one--that's a rollercoaster writing experience. Fun, maddening, engrossing, surprising. And also the one that I can't stay away from. No matter how long I've gone between drafts or how crazy-making it is, I always come back to it.
So maybe that's enough for now. Maybe I don't need to define it or know exactly why I want to write. Maybe it's enough to acknowledge that something compels me to do it, to come back to it, to stick with it. So I will.
Why do you write?