These last two months, I haven’t written much. I wanted to, of course, but haven’t. A paralyzing bout of depression has made it impossible, and I still don’t know if I’m back, or to what capacity I’m back. Looking back, it’s like a blur, these weeks of doing nothing but playing facebook games and watching tv shows. There’s little variation, there’s no guarantee it’s over.
I didn’t mean this post to be this dark, sorry. But it’s the place where I’m at. Not writing, or not writing much, is part of the problem for me, because I’m always happier when I write. Really write. Every day. Several hours, words by the hundreds, then thousands, because that’s what happens: if you write every day, you write more, faster, hopefully better too.
But when you don’t write, things just stop. Maybe that’s already one reason I write, because life goes on. Writing is part of my life, and life usually happens much more when I write. Confidence has a lot to do with that because I really hold that writing does take confidence. And maybe I’m stating the obvious here, but it’s usually so much clearer when you don’t have it that you need it.
Note: Writing is life.
As a kid, I was about 11, I guess, I started telling myself bedtime stories. Usually, I’d fall asleep in the middle of it just as it should be with bedtime stories, but sometimes it got so intense that I would get up two hours later, walk into the living room or my parent’s bedroom (depending on if they’d already gone to bed) and tell my mom I couldn’t sleep. I never told her that the reason of not being able to sleep was that I told myself stories and my mind just wouldn’t shut down. She’d give me something to drink, put me back to bed. Sometimes, I would continue the story. Other times, I’d force myself not to and fall asleep.
Not being able to shut stories out, is another reason why I write. Sure, I could’ve just continued to tell myself my stories and never tell another soul about them. But as I continued my education, I found I had a knack for telling stories, I wanted to tell them, not just to myself, though I’m still my favorite audience.
If you know writers you probably heard them say that they cannot not write. It’s because stories keep coming. It’s how we process everything that’s happening in the course of one day, how we cope.
Note: Stories won’t stop telling themselves in my head – I need to get them out of there.
I was about 16 when I wrote a short story for a competition (I never sent it in, but I still wrote that story, finished it). The competition’s head line was ‘The dream of the magic word’ – it doesn’t really make that much sense, but I figured they wanted a sappy love story. What I wrote instead was a story about a woman who had HIV. After I finished it, I told a class mate about it (one of those rare moments where I opened up and shared a secret, I guess). She wanted to read it, I didn’t really want her to read it, but she was persuasive so I gave it to her – handwritten at the time. A few days later, I get a call from her. She’d shown the story to her mom and her mom had read it and cried. I can honestly say, I’d never been as proud of myself as I was in that moment.
Note: I like making people cry. And laugh. Feel with my characters.
I’m not saying this is a complete list of reasons. And they vary so much through the times I’ve lived, for different reasons. I’ll never forgot the pride in my mom’s eyes when she held my first published work in her hands. Or the time a friend texted me that she was reading my book and was delighted that she shared a character’s name. Amazon reviews, praise from your math teacher, some distant relative asking for a signed copy of your work, those are all reasons for writing, too.
I just needed to remind myself why I write. Because there’s only one reason I do not write, one reason that shuts me down in life. And that’s – I’m afraid.
So why do you write? And do you partake in NaNo? Tell me in the comments.
[originally posted November 5, 2016; 2 bloggers liked it]