Friday, November 11, 2016

Why Do YOU Write?

Shannon Dittemore is the author of the Angel Eyes trilogy. She has an overactive imagination and a passion for truth. Her lifelong journey to combine the two is responsible for a stint at Portland Bible College, performances with local theater companies, and a love of all things literary. When she isn’t writing, she spends her days with her husband, Matt, imagining things unseen and chasing their two children around their home in Northern California. To connect with Shan, check out her website, FB, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.

Every writer I've ever known has had moments of doubt. Hard times that make them wonder why it is they carve their hearts out daily and smear them on the page.

This past two months have been very difficult on our family and, by extension, my writing. We've had some serious health concerns to contend with, a death in the family, a tragedy to navigate all while dealing with a minor house remodel and car problems.

We've had some awesome things happen as well. My son made the All Star football team--Go North!--and we ended up getting a new car and brand new floors. Amazing, incredible blessings, but every single one of them have been time consuming. We're exhausted, and, out of necessity, we're evaluating everything we currently have going.

That includes my writing.

The truth? Writing stories takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of energy. It takes brain space and heart space. The publishing side of this thing can be ulcer inducing and ego deflating. It is often an industry that feels like you're dancing in someone else's shoes, trying to learn a routine that keeps changing: two steps forward, one step back. And while there is money to be had in telling stories, occasionally the thought takes hold that you could make more and work less if you just found a cubicle somewhere.

Sobering? A bit. But if you haven't had this moment of doubt yet, I can almost guarantee you, it's coming. If you want to be a career writer, you'll wrestle with these thoughts as we all do.

And so, I have to ask myself, and you have to ask yourself: Why do I write?

This isn't my first time asking the question. I've been here before. What I'm realizing tonight is that each time my answer is a little different. It shouldn't surprise me, I suppose. Life changes us. We grow, morph, adapt. Even the act of writing turns us into a different writer than the one that began. And so, because I'm going to ask you answer the question as well, I'll answer it once again.

Why do I write?

I write because story is the way I share truth with the world. It's the way I reach out. The way I connect. When I walk into a room or hike a trail, when I splash into the ocean or drag my hand along the bricks of a century-old building, when I'm moved to tears or trembling with excitement, every part of me is learning the moment, cataloguing it, storing it away for later use. I write because everything I see, smell, touch, taste, and sense is experienced as a storyteller. I am a writer. Not writing won't change that. Not anymore. I started as a dabbler. As someone who wanted an outlet for my creativity and while I certainly don't have it all figured out, the journey has changed me. It's turned me into someone who sees the world as a writer does. So, I write. And though I don't relish these times of difficulty, I think they make the writing deeper, more authentic, rich with the kind of truth that was dug up in the course of living.

At least that's my answer for today. It's a good one, I think. An honest answer, if a bit fanciful. The kind of answer that'll help me stay the course when everything in me is wondering about that cubicle.

And now I must ask you.

Have you asked yourself this question yet? Have you made yourself answer it? Either way, I'd love to know. Why do you write stories, friend?

6 comments:

  1. Lovely post. I write stories because I can't bear the thought of them floating aimlessly in my head for the rest of my life; I have something to say, and a character to say it through, and I want to share it with people. I've been going through a stale period in my writing, though, and it's so hard to deal with. I'm finding, however, that it's a lesson in patience, and when my stories do come again, I hope they'll be deeper and more mature because I waited on them, instead of forcing them.

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    1. We all go through stale seasons, Alicyn. It's discipline and inspiration that will get you through it. Wishing you luck, friend. <3

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  2. I write in order to live all the fantasies of my childhood, to experience love, life, and death in their fullest forms. I write to understand humanity.

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  3. I write because I love to create things. Creating an entire world is good--creating a story to go with that world is better. I think it really comes down to simple, immense enjoyment of the craft.

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