The above question has both fascinated and confounded me for most of my twenty-one years (that’s just over half a lifetime for me!) as a struggling in the extreme novelist. What is this peculiar urge to make up a bunch of people and put them through one kind of hell or another just to bring them out the other end “changed”? Do I harbour some crudely realised wish to promote myself to god-like status, however briefly (twenty-one years is brief, when you’re a god)? Or is it just, as I have so often thought, merely an extension and refinement of childhood play?
I don’t know. On the surface, I now write because it’s what I do — and however difficult publication seems to be to achieve, the feedback is always just good enough to keep me going. It’s also something that gives a little order to my day; I’m severely disabled and don’t work in the classic sense, so writing prevents me from falling into that mind-numbing, body-bloating routine of daytime TV and tea and biscuits. On a deeper level, though, I’ve always suspected that there’s more to it than that. A psychological trait or some evolutionary relic that misleads and drives me (a twisted version of the selfish meme!) Do my ideas belong to me, or do I belong to them? The writer as vehicle. And there I was thinking I was a creature of Free Will. Ho hum.
It’s a question I’ve asked of myself numerous times, as I’ve already said — and I’ve also asked it of others. That isn’t about to stop me asking it again, though.
Why do you write? (If you do!)