Monday, May 4, 2009

Why Do We Write?

I was talking with a friend the other day and one of the questions that came up was why we write. I have an idea there are as many answers to that question as there are writers.

Writers used to be fairly exclusive club, but there was the remote possiblity of being discovered. Your manuscript was actually read when you submitted it over the transom. Or a friend of a friend knew someone in the industry. Or - you had been writing for the pulp magazines and someone decided to collect your work.

Being a writer has traditionally been the occupation of the leisured classes - or the demented. Today, there are millions of literate folks with stories to tell. After 40 years of practice, Amazon tells me I am ranked about five million short of wealth and fame for all my trouble.

Poverty has not always been a good excuse to write, often because the poor are not always literate. Edgar Allen Poe has the reputation of a drunk, and so, having weathered two recessions in his brief life - settled for writing dreadful tales of horrors beyond belief. Poor Eddie never met Stephen King or Robert McCammon. Their tales might have scared even Poe.

So why do we write? For many of us, writing is an itch to be scratched, whether it is good for us or not. There is something about stringing words into sentences, paragraphs, chapters and books that brings satisfaction to our souls. Our work may illustrate - or punctuate - our history, or present or our future.

It is all good, which is why I keep writing and looking for the sunny side. Terry

Terry L White -Author of the Chesapeake Heritage Series
"Travel Through Time With Terry"

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