Three Reasons for Writing

A couple of things happened lately to encourage me to think about why I write.  After reflecting on this topic, I’ve decided there are three main reasons.

First, I like the act of writing.  This includes both the creative process in my mind that generates story and also the process of putting that story down on paper and refining it until the finished product is one that pleases me.  This reason works not only for my personal fiction writing, but also for writing tasks at work and interesting assignments when I was in school.  Other people notice this, too.  My thesis advisor started to tell me that I could do my research as a project and not write the paper, and then interrupted herself to say, “You like writing, nevermind.”

The second reason I write is simply to get my characters to shut up.  🙂  Scenes will replay themselves in my head over and over until I get them out.  Writing them down is the easiest way to do that.  This is also why I write a lot of un-sent letters.  If there is something I want to say to someone (but can’t for whatever reason) I’ll write it in a letter that sits on my hard drive.  When I start to feel the same way again, I’ll revisit and revise the letters, but they are never sent.  That’s a bit too dangerous.

Recently I had a few things that happened to remind me of the third reason I write: people like to read my writing.  Yes, I get reject letters.  Yes, there are people who don’t like my stories or criticize my blog.  I’m not deluded enough to think that won’t happen.  Instead, I focus on the positive.  One of my Dragon first readers can’t wait to tell me about the chapter she just read or how much she loves the new book.   My boss keeps asking when Butterflies will be available on Smashwords so she can recommend it to her sister.  (The answer is soon – a friend of mine is working on a cover.)  And occasionally I get comments like this one from A.M. Kuska, which just make my day.  That comment was especially wonderful, since it came from another author.

So writing for me is a challenge but also a joy.  However frivolous, however self-involved, these are my reasons for writing.  🙂


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Amy
    May 15, 2011 @ 16:16:20

    You seem to be questioning yourself a lot lately and resorting to explaining yourself. Has something rattled your self-view?


    • Leigh Townsend
      May 15, 2011 @ 21:12:11

      I think it’s more a matter of self-reflection rather than questioning. This was inspired both by reading the book Eat, Pray, Love and by spending time by myself in the woods for a few days.
      I’ve actually enjoyed the process of getting to know myself a little better lately. The blog posts about it are because I find the quest interesting and thought my readers might, too.


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