21 March, 2012
Don't Panic: Why You Should Write
Why do you write?
Now stop that. Giving me that panicked look isn't going to help you here. In fact, you may have noticed that this new series is called don't panic. As in, not allowed.
Grab a towel and take a seat. We have to talk.
Why do you write? Better yet, why write at all?
This isn't as crazy a question as it seems. Maybe you've already got the itch and can't wait to get started. Perhaps you've already tried your hand at a few spaceship battles. Or some fantastical, magical spells made by ancient classes of long-dead warriors. What if...what if you like to mimic your favorite characters in a little fan fiction?
That's fine. I do all that, too.
But you need to know why you're writing. Or maybe you're looking for a reason to keep writing. Whatever the case, you're not alone.
Writers write for all kinds of different reasons. The problem is that many wannabe and current writers are just following the crowd. They think they have to write a certain way or in a specific genre for it to be okay. Some famous writing teachers that will remain nameless (you already know who you are) will tell you exactly why you should want to write and, if that's not you, then you shouldn't be a writer.
I'm here to tell you that's spacecow poo. (Yes, I just said poo. See? No one told me to write that.)
You should want to write because it's what you want to do, for whatever reason you want to do it. There is no right or wrong here.
When I began writing SF & fantasy, I told my little group of friends and acquaintances that I did so because it made me happy. Their answer? "Not good enough." "You should have a better reason than that." "That will never get you anywhere."
Not cool. What they should have been saying was, "Right on! It's awesome that you're doing something you love!" In fact, the handful of people who did say that have remained my support group ever since and are the first people I send my stories to for some beta reading.
Sound familiar? If so, ignore the naysayers.
Why do you write?
It's okay if it changes, too. I still write because it makes me deliriously happy. I also write because I love watching that same happiness occur in others when they read my work. (I also may be guilty of enjoying designing my own adventures starring me...er, my characters.)
Whatever your reason: right on! Don't stop. Keep on writing and stick to your guns.
Above all, don't panic. Writing is, first and foremost, you exploring your imagination. So go explore whatever it is that makes you happy and be proud of your reason for doing so.
So...why do you write?
Stay tuned for next week's amazing tips in this new, very exciting Don't Panic series. If you like, I'll even write them in big, friendly letters on the back cover.