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Why Do You Write?

Much like reading, writing is my escape from the mundane, the eternal drizzle outside my window, the ugly, heavy emotions I can't find a place for. It's an escape to a different world, a culture more interesting than my own, an entirely different life. One where fairies run rampant through forests, where warriors ride fire breathing dragons into battle, where virtual reality is where we spend our days, where time travel leads to a dark and dangerous future. When I write I enter a deeper consciousness that allows me to experience these things and feel the emotions that go along with them.

On the flip side, it's freeing to let my characters deal with my feelings for a bit. More often than not I let my emotions and every day troubles run rampant through my fantasy world and see how they handle them. A little wicked, I know. But hey, I'm all for cheap therapy and apparently I'm not the only one. Adult coloring books are all the rave these days.

I write for the very same reason adrenaline junkies jump off hundred foot cliffs into water and skydive. It gives me that same rush, that same high. There's nothing like it. I know what it feels like to fear certain death, to be covered in blood mid-battle, to fall in love all over again, to hate someone so much it consumes me, to come out on the other side of adversity triumphant.

But the main reason I write is because it's, well… fun! I mean, how could it not be? Really, tell me how. When you write... your world, your characters, the very ground those characters stand on, they are all at your command. You can make mountains crumble, crush the city your characters live in and make them run for their lives. You can kill off your main characters sister in a seemingly harmless volcano school experiment gone wrong. If you don't want Sarah to end up with Blake it doesn't have to be that way (as long as it doesn't go against who she is to not end up with him, but even then you can go back and change her character just so she doesn't end up with him. Crazy!)

Maybe you're writing your current novel because Austria fascinates you. Maybe it's because you're interested in writing in third person for the first time. Maybe you enjoy putting your character through hell and back again. Whatever the reason is, make it a strong enough reason to get you through your story.

This topic has been swimming around my head all week because lately I've lost sight of why I'm writing my novel. I've realized that I've lost touch with some of my characters that at one point had me so excited I couldn't stop thinking about them. I've lost that spark. Now what? Do I drop it even after all the work I put into my outline and writing? Well, maybe. I then asked myself this:

Can I spark that excitement again and do I even want to?

Yes, I think so.

Then how?

And then it hit me. I realized I wasn't having fun anymore. It felt more like work and because of the lack of inspiration and motivation, it was really dragging along. I took a moment to reflect back on a time when I remembered truly having fun while writing.

Why was I having so much fun?

I was writing without an outline. And guess what? It's the most fun I've ever had writing. Me, an out-liner, having the time of my life without an outline! So, there it is. I'm tossing my outline and I'm going to see what happens. Who cares if I write a thousand pages and then have to go back and cut three fourths of it. Who cares if I write off track for a while. Who cares if I write a character out of character for a bit. The first time through is all experimentation; getting a feel for the plot, the characters, the flow. Deep breath.

If I asked you right now why you're writing your story what would you tell me? If you're unsure of your answer, if that blazing flame that started it all has dimmed, find out why. Look back. Remember a time when you were thoroughly enjoying yourself and figure out why. Was it the characters? If so, take a look at your current characters. Are they boring you? What about the environment you were writing in. There's a reason Hemingway spent his time writing in cafes. That atmosphere invigorated him and inspired his work. Does writing in your office at home cut off your creative flow? Change up the scenery.

Unfortunately writing won't be fun every time you sit down and start typing away. You will have off days when it feel like the words aren't flowing, when you're inspiration-less, when it feels like work. Just be consistent and be aware of how you're feeling and why you're feeling that way. Ask yourself why you're writing your story. Keep that reason in mind and focus on it when inspirations warm embrace has left you cold and destitute.

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