In making my final push to the end of Resident 619 a few days ago I ended up spending most of my available time at my desk, letting the story flow. It prompted a discussion with Dan about why writers write.
When it’s all said and done, I write because I love the addictive rush of discovering a story as it unfolds; it’s the same feeling that I get when I’m deep in an unputdownable book. I can’t stop thinking about it, and I can’t wait to return to it as soon as I can. When the first draft’s done, I love returning and spending time again in the world I created, with the characters I’ve come to love so much, like revisiting a favourite book series. I write for the same reason I read: I love the story, the characters, the worlds, the discovery. Probably you could analyze it deeper than that and find underlying reasons for why I write, but they’re not part of the conscious decision I make to do it. I feel that I could stop writing tomorrow and have lost nothing more than the enjoyment of a good story (admittedly, I’d feel that to be quite the loss).
Dan expressed surprise that I enjoyed writing so much. Through interviews, I gather, he’d come to the belief that writing was a laborious process, which most writers didn’t find very fun. I do think that ultimately the experience is different for everyone, and I expect there are writers who would rather have their teeth pulled without anaesthetic and yet still write because some other force drives them. Something obviously foreign to me. And I think there are people who fall somewhere in between and write because they’ve got something they want to say. And people who find one stage fun and the other awful and write for the enjoyment of the fun stage.
I posed the question to the Bransforums, and received some interesting – and unexpected – answers. Curiously, not one of them seemed to say that they write for the same reason I do. The thread is here.