Friday, 16 August 2013

Why do I write?

As a general rule I like to question the status quo, challenge those parts of life that are all too often dismissed as just "being like that." It's this particularly analytical and destructive part of my self that enjoys finding issue with everything I do, usually leading to the following question:

"So you aspire to be a writer? Huh. You barely read, your writing pattern is sporadic at best and you're yet to produce anything concrete in five to six years. What qualifies you to seek such a title? Hell, even bad writers would have produced something by now. You might as well just give up."

The implications of voices-in-the-head aside, it makes a valid point. Why do I continue, why do I bother to engage in an activity that seemingly has an unbalanced ratio of pain to pleasure? Why do I want to be a writer?

I don't recall ever being particularly satisfied as a child. Not unhappy, I've had a pretty cushy life all things considered, but there's a big different between happiness and contentment. I've been subjected to enough personality tests to know which of their "quadrants" I fall into, in which category I should be placed. I have learned the nature of my label. I'm one of those weird introverts who favours facts and solitude over friends and drinking parties. Hey it works for me. But some people seem personally offended that there exist people who have no care for socialising or getting drunk.

Emotions have always been a difficult thing for me to quantify and I've never seen any real use for them. When I've expressed them in the past they either have no effect or just serve to impact my life negatively. That said, suppressed emotions make for an effective channel of imagination. When you have nowhere to turn but to an imaginary world inside your own mind, you soon find that the limitations that have previously caused frustration are suddenly removed. There's great freedom in a world where anything is possible.

Simply put: this world disappoints me. It has none of the joy or wonder that I seek from the world. (I'm still waiting for my letter, Hogwarts.) Perhaps this is a result of me having consumed more fiction than reality by comparison. Maybe the wonders are out there somewhere? If someone knows where all the dragons went please let me know! But as I get older in body, I seem to regress inside my mind. That childish world of possibilities remains as prominent as ever and it now strikes me that perhaps those ideas can be put to some kind of use.

What was once a coping mechanism, a colourful shield against the grey-brown of the mundane, now morphs into a sign that points towards a positive future.

When I'm feeling down (which is often these days) I know I can still escape to any number of worlds that I have created for various ongoing projects. They are lands that are subject to change, are under my control and, most importantly, provide enjoyment. But therein lies the problem. You see they exist simultaneously as my work but also my escape. Creating fiction is my release, my method of emotional expression. Open up my work and analyse it as I do and you'll see more than words, you'll find a world grown from nothing less than 25 years of life; personal perceptions and neuroses. Most people won't see it, but for me it's as clear as daylight.

So when you hear writers speak of their work being a highly personal experience, one that demands as much soul as it does mind, one that becomes an emotionally exhausting slog... well perhaps you might understand their meaning as I do.

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