Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Why I Keep Writing

I was going to title this post "Why I Write" but there are already major league essays by premiership-calibre writers called "Why I Write" so I changed my mind.

"Why I Write" sounds like a piece by a writer who has a grand vision or "mission statement" rather than somebody like me, who is pretty much meandering along the road, stopping off in places that look interesting, taking a break when needed, or scrabbling, when necessary, over tough terrain.

So here are the reasons why I keep writing, in no particular order.

1) If I didn't write, I'd have to something else, like clean the house, or cook, or weed the garden. You want a great excuse for being a total slob? Become a writer.

2) If I didn't write, I'd never have the chance to eat book launch cake, or drink book launch wine. Please note that not everyone has a book launch, and that non-writers can also go to book launches, but by becoming a writer you will increase your chances of attending (if not hosting) an event where these lovely treats are served.

3) If I didn't write, there's virtually no chance that I'd be able to go back to the writers' yurt at the Edinburgh Book Festival (and use the writers' toilet) without donning a Carol Ann Duffy, Ian Rankin or Teri Terry disguise.

4) If I didn't write I'd have to grow up properly. I wouldn't be able to temporarily channel the mind and body of a child or teenager (OK, I could try, but frankly, I'm no Grayson Perry.) I'd just be middle-aged --boring!

5) If I didn't write, I'd have to change out of my writer's uniform.

6) If I didn't write, I could never reveal to the world the glimmering insights buried deep within my sensitive poet soul...HA! Almost fooled you, didn't I?

So, seriously, why do I keep writing?

I'm not sure. I love stories--I love hearing them, reading them, watching them, making them. I love the way writing takes me to so many places and allows me to be so many people. I love the fun of writing--the "where will this take?" me development of a story or "who the hell this?" emergence of a character. I love the wonderful people I've met since devoting serious time to writing. And these "loves" far outweigh the frustrations and heartbreaks of writing--the rejections, the disappointments, the sheer hard slog, the anxiety, the self- doubt.

But the most important thing?

I really, really want to use the Edinburgh authors' toilet again...


  1. Yeah, I'd be all about the launch party cake and using the loo!! Great post, Jane! :)

  2. Lovely - and you look smashing in your uniform in that picture.