Why I Write

I never really put much thought into the question, “Why I write.” Chuck over at terribleminds.com asked us all to come up with a 1000-word essay on the matter, and I must admit I was perplexed. I mean, why do I write? Part of it has to be I crave the attention that writing brings. Very few things are more satisfying than a fan recognizing me at an event and telling me how much he or she loves my writing.

Not quite the answer you were expecting, huh?

How does the Shakespeare quote go? “To thine own self be true.” I’m sure there are writers out there who write for pure joy, or to better humanity or some other such thing. I do enjoy writing when it’s going well, but I write to et those pesky stories out of my head. I write for me. If someone gives me money, then that’s cool, but I’d’ve written the story anyway. As humans we crave validation, and I’m no different: I need people to tell me what I’m doing has some value.

Anyway, enough of the self-serving selfishness. More than one person has labeled me “prolific.” One of my super-fans asked me how I write so much and so often on a forum that she and I both use, and I started to reply, but decided a blog post might give me more space to do it properly.

How I write may be even more important to the professional and amateur writers than why I write. It depends on what’s going on, and what project is happening right now. I’ve been known to write 500 words a day before 5am, five days a week. I’ve also tried to throw down massive word counts on the weekends when time is less unruly. I often participate in flash fiction prompts at various sites.

I know this has been said before, but it needs to be repeated: The best way to write is to actually write. Every day. Without fail. The best way to improve is to have others see your work and accept their feedback. Five-star reviews are easy to accept, but we also have to embrace the low-star reviews. This blog is my way of putting out my work for your feedback.

It’s time to reveal another secret: I steal a lot. Yep, let that righteous indignation get you all riled up. A colleague of mine has said that he believes that all literary works are derivative of Shakespeare and the Bible. So in essence, we’re all stealing. I read a lot. I try to read at least two hours a day. If I read a clever scene, turn of phrase or an interesting story, I’ll jot it down for future use. I don’t plagiarize, but I’m not ashamed to admit that I get some of my ideas from other writers.

I’ll also write my own fiction and then months later I’ll rewrite it. This last weekend I posted 6k words of a story. I wrote the original story about a month and a half ago. It was during one of my weekend marathons. The original section posted was only about 4k, and I spent this weekend rewriting and editing it up to my desired word count. I’ll do the same thing next weekend, and likely the following weekend. Hopefully all this rewriting will inspire me to continue what I wrote so long ago. If not, well we’ll see what the future holds.

So in conclusion, I write because I want to. I rewrite and steal, and I try to do it every day. And while you’re at it, how about reading something I’ve published on Amazon and rating it for me. I love that feedback!

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About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degrees in Computer Systems and Applications and Applied Human Behavior. View all posts by Mark Gardner

7 responses to “Why I Write

  • Cadiche

    Personally, I love your writing style, but that is not exactly news.

    For me, I write for two reasons:

    1. Therapy. My first book did for me what many therapists couldn’t. It brought out all of my inner demons of the domestic violence situation that cost me my hearing, my eyesight and the life of my baby son.

    2. My baby son. Although he died 18 years ago, writing children’s books brings me a joy because as I write, I am “reading” it to him and I am watching his face light up as I read.

    The fact that I am unable to leave the house gives me the chance to let it all out, whether the reason be 1 or 2.

    People may find it weird or even morbid. But what they think is not what motivates me. Their feedback after they have read a full book – that is what matters. If I have made their day better as well as my own, then the writing was worth it at the end of the day :)

    And when I take a break from writing, I read – mostly your work. You have a unique writing style which seems to break the laws of physics. It impacts and it penetrates (not in a sexual way). For example, I am Deaf. But when I read your words, I can “hear” the sounds in the story. I am almost blind, but I can “see” everything around me so clearly because I become fully engulfed in the story.

    Weird? Oh well – shit happens ;)

    Keep writing xx

  • Sonia Lal

    This is amazing. Wonderful reasons for writing!

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