I’d have to be, wouldn’t I? Writing does not save lives. It doesn’t save your soul. If you’re lucky, you’ll stumble upon a truth and manage to express it in a way that resonates. Even then, you have to gamble on the fact that readers will be listening. And that’s a big gamble.
Writing harms your bank balance. If your writing’s going badly, you’re a bear to your friends and family. Writing won’t get your house clean. And to clumsily paraphrase Gil Scott Heron, it won’t give your mouth sex appeal.
Because I can’t not. And because I love it. I simply wouldn’t feel human if I didn’t. Writing helps me to live with myself.
I write to make sense of the world. I write to savour the delight of words bouncing around my head, on my tongue and onto the page. When I write, I get to play God, creating characters and worlds. I write because I have things I want to say.
And I can’t lie to you. I write to be read. If I’m going to put so much labour into my pieces, I’m not going to let them moulder on a hard drive. And even if only about five people read them, I’ll remain deeply satisfied that I produced the best work I could.
A highly unscientific study on social media yielded similar findings among my fellow writers on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. It’s comforting to know I’m not the only nut out there. Thanks to all who contributed for the opinions.