Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Why do writers write?

I meant to (re)post this last week, closer to the time it was actually written...

Friend/local writer Alan Gratz blogged last week about why he writes. It's worth reading, especially if you're a writer.

I'm not even close to being in the same position he is... he writes to make a living. Perhaps, if I also had that driving force/need behind my writing, I'd have a few novels under my belt as well. But I don't, and I don't, and so I can slack around doing other things. (Other productive things, though. Like having twins.)

Even before reading his post, the notion of being mindful to what we want to say Yes to had been on my mind. If we can really identify what we want to say yes to, it become easier to say no to the the things that do not align with our yeses. I agree, that if you want to write and publish, you have to say YES to long hours in a chair pecking away at a keyboard. For me, this is not always enjoyable. The rush is when I leave the chair and feel the sense of accomplishment. I felt that last Monday, when I finished a series of revisions on my play An Uncivil Union: The Battle of Burnsville which the Parkway Playhouse will produce next year. The playhouse is submitting it for a grant to help fund production and thus, some revisions were in order. (Though not the last set of revisions, I'm sure.)

I hope the grant board likes it.

Alan's post made me think, since I'm not writing for financial reasons, why am I writing? His observations about wanting an audience certainly rang true. Yes, I want an audience for my thoughts. I think I have something to say--a perspective on life--that more people need to consider. Perhaps this is a product of being an oldest child, a mom, and a former teacher. Perhaps it's plain old arrogance. It is also a fun mental exercise for me to pull from life the odd connections and synchronicities and try to re-represent them in writing so that others can see/feel the same interrelationships. In particular, that's what writing poetry is for me. As my audience as been pretty small thus far, we'll see if I successfully do that or not with the new chapbook. I'll probably never know though.

Anyway -- Thanks for being an audience. I'll try not to be heavy-handed.

1 comment:

Alan Gratz said...

I heard a great line once that a career is defined not by what you say yes to, but what you say no to. I think you're absolutely right about critically evaluating what you are and aren't going to do by examining the reasons you choose to do those things. And without the need to write for financial reasons, I think having something to say--having a novel point of view--is a perfectly valid reason. Even though my reasons are more practical, I still respect Sara Pennypacker's spoken desire to represent the voices of children. If something drives you enough to sit in the chair and write, that's enough!

Looking forward to both the chapbook and the play...