Monday, March 17, 2008


Why Do I Write?


Top o' the Monday Morning to you, Genteel Readers. I have been actively pondering this issue of my writing since the start of the year.

Why do I write? The answer to that is simple. I'm a writer; of course, I write. I've always been one. For years, it was short stories, essays, and letters. Post-college years were devoted to letters, postcards, and e-mails. The past two and a half years have seen voluminous production from me: blogs, blog comments, message boards, continuous correspondence in the old style, and two medieval manuscripts.

Despite it all, there was no true answer to: Why do I write? To find my voice. To find me who gets hidden in the press of daily life. Ah, now we're getting somewhere. I use words to express intentions and beliefs of my characters, and in doing so, I understand myself better. The tap-tap of the keyboard brings me into the present, not thinking about laundry or the grocery list, but centered in the moment with heart and emotions vulnerable and open and all senses questing. Yes, this is why I write. But there's more.

I'm not simply a writer. I'm a writer of fiction—of novel-length fiction. And the final last committment: I'm an author of romance fiction novels on a chosen path to publication. I get up at 5 o'clock every morning regardless of the weather, health, family, what-have-you. And for almost two hours, I write. Then I go to the gym. Those are the top two items of all my lists (more on this and Time Management next Monday 3/24/08).

All forms of writing from personal letters to business e-mails to books require passion, hard work, and committment. You have to truly believe in what you are and what you're doing. Otherwise you might as well "pack up your knives and go home," to quote Bravo TV's reality show Top Chef.

So Genteel Readers: Why do you write? What is your committment towards writing? Do you believe in it? What are you doing to fulfill it?

And in honor of St. Patrick's Day, I wish you all the luck with your writing.


24 comments:

terrio said...

Love the blog, Keira. I ask this question almost everyday but often it's worded more like "Why do I think I can write a novel?" LOL! And then I remember it's what I want to do. There are so few things in my life I do because I want to. Everything is because I have to. This is my one escape. My one thing that is just for me.

Right now the idea of publication is way off in the distance, but the dream of finishing a full novel is my focus right now. I guess it's just to say I did it. And it would be nice if someone read it and liked it. It would be great to give someone else that wonderful feeling that I've been getting from books for as long as I can remember.

Keira Soleore said...

Happy Monday morning to you, Terri. I'm so completely there with you. Daily life has a way of demanding all the time and energy you give it. Then at the end of the day—nighttimes are good worry times :)—you wonder where's "me" time? So, instead of trying to squeeze time for me in the middle or at the end of the day—which means it almost never happens—I decided to stick it in the morning, the first thing I do.

Reading something wonderful and then sharing it with someone makes that experience even better. Writing it, and enjoying it, then sharing that with someone else would be sublime.

Anna Campbell said...

Hiya Keira and Terrio! I meet you gals in only the classiest places! Keira, what a lovely post. And hats off to you putting your writing into your life as something important. I know a lot of people who want to write, but they treat their writing as unimportant and never get to it. Not only that, but because they treat it as unimportant, their friends and family do too. Just giving your writing its honored place in your life and your mind is a huge step in the right (write?) direction. And you're right - one of the absolute best feelings in the world, even better than chocolate, is hearing from someone who read one of your books and loved it. It's not the compliments, lovely as they can be - it's that you've created something that touched someone else and felt real to them, just as it was real to you as you wrote it. Does that make sense?

Keira Soleore said...

because they treat it as unimportant, their friends and family do too.

YES! Absolutely. After a whining for a while that no one in my family respects my writing, I took a step back and a think. I had to lead by example. If I didn't think it was important enough, other people once removed from that passion, would be less concerned to take it seriously.

A quote from a man of our times...
But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.

—George Gordon, Lord Byron, Don Juan

Anonymous said...

Don't you just LOVE Lord Byron? Well - at least his poetry...his life was something else.

Hi Keira - just wanted to drop by and give my regard. Hey - did you see that you won something on Barbara Vey's anniversary blog the other day?

Why do I write - Heck, I wish I knew. Life would be a lot simpler if I could let it go. But I don't think I can do that. Writing keeps me sane when everything else isn't. For that period of time that I spend at my keyboard, I live in my created world - and I love it.

Hang in there Terrio. Finishing that book is a big accomplishment, and a journey in and of itself.

Donna MacMeans said...

Not sure why I came through as anonymous. SO thought I'd identify myself. This is Donna MacMeans waving at you.

Keira Soleore said...

Thanks for reminding me, Donna. Oh, how cool! I won a book by Fran Baker on Barbara Vey's blog. That was an amazing party: 739 comments at last count. Wow!

You wouldn't want to get into close encounters with Lord Byron, if you happen to time travel back into the Regency, no matter how much you like that boyish moodiness.

And yes, writing is the safe harbor and a sane haven, provides joy and comforts. Writing provides us, what we hope our heores and heroines provide each other. :)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Keira! Love the post. I second what every one else said, Yeah to you for making it a priority and a "first thing" as Steven Covey would say. :>

Why do I write? Because the people in my head want their stories told? Because I'd probably go insane if I didn't? Because I can't NOT make up stories and they entertain me, so why not write them down? Hmmm. Can I answer all of the above? Grins.

And now, miracle of miracles, I have a more-than-self-imposed deadline. Ain't that a kick in the pants? I tell you, I can't thank enough all the authors who advised me to use contests and other things as deadlines to get in practice for when the "real" deadlines hit. It works. Grins.

In all seriousness, Terrio, I think you said it best. If I could actually give someone else that wonderful escape, that genuine pleasure with which other authors have blessed me? I'll feel I've lived up to the name Author, if I do.

And man, I'm really into the question as expository statement today. Snork!

jo robertson said...

Great question, Keira. I suppose one of the reasons we unpubs write is because there's always the hope/belief that some day our words will reach actual readers in a binded format.

I love the way words, stories, and characters bubble up from my own imagination, mind, and heart. That they do still seems a strange and magnificent thing to me!

Keira Soleore said...

Jeanne: Making writing a priority is my first step on that rocky road you've been treading. There have been many steps numbered 0, 00, 000 before this, but waking up at five oh clock in the morning (sigh) is a struggle, but I sure do feel virtuous all day long. :)

((Jeanne)) Woo Hoo!! Woo Hoo!! I imagine the Banditas are all dancing their crazy dances in celebration.

JoMama: Thank you for the reminder on remembering to keep your chin up and soldier on come what may. I'm following in the footsteps (not dancing steps, mind) of all you Banditas, erm, going where you've all gone before.

Janga said...

Hi,Keira! Great blog--and I love the name you chose.

While I enjoy being published and dream of my fiction being published, I would write even if I knew no one else would ever read a word I wrote. I write because I love words. I write because doing so is part of who I am. I write because writing is a way of learning more about myself and the worlds I inhabit.

Keira Soleore said...

Janga, it's always such a pleasure to be able to chat with you. we seem to be moving in mutually exclusive paths in the blog world for the past few weeks.

I write because writing is a way of learning more about myself and the worlds I inhabit.

On this note, I completely agree. I have a personal online journal upon which I inflict all my emotions: whinging, worrying, and getting furious, weeping and feeling victorious. My poor friends have been assaulted aplenty, but they're still here standing beside me. Amazing, isn't it?

Deb Marlowe said...

keira! Many congrats on your lovely blog!

I think you said it best, first. Writers write. Personally, I tried to stop, when life was hectic and priorities like my kid's health needed attention. But boy did I miss it. I went back as soon as life allowed.

And now I find I get cranky if I don't get my quiet writing time. I think it's brain chemistry--some sort of endorphin released when you are in the zone.

I have no excuse for my Project Runway/Top Chef/Survivor addictions, but I enjoy them mightily!

Diane Gaston said...

Hi, Keira!
I'm so proud of you for getting up in the morning to write, for putting yourself as a priority.

For me, writing is finding that special place where I belong and what a surprise it was to find it. I had a whole, fulfilling career as a mental health social worker when I stumbled into romance writing and I truly felt as if I found where I belong.

The thing I love most about this writing thing is the friends I've made!

Waves to Deb and Anna, and Way To Go for Jeanne on your not-self-imposed deadline!

Cassondra said...

Hey Keira!

SO SORRY I'm late to the blog. It was one of those days yesterday.

I fight with this question, "why do I write."

And I never come up with a satisfactory answer. In truth, it usually boils down to "I've tried everything else and this is the only thing that isn't boring."

Writing something--songs, books, blogs, SOMETHING is just..well...what I do. I never get tired of it. I don't want to get started a lot of the time, but that's so of anything. Once I'm doing it, I don't get bored. Ever.

It's never the same twice.

That's the thing that keeps me at it. Hoping that one day I can do, for a living, this thing that is never the same twice.

Cara King said...

I get up at 5 o'clock every morning regardless of the weather, health, family, what-have-you. And for almost two hours, I write. Then I go to the gym.

OMG, Keira, you're like the ideal me. The me that even in my wildest dreams I know I'll never be. The me that actually gets up early, works, AND goes to the gym. (I'd settle for one of the three! But then, I'm lazy.) ;-)

Cara

Keira Soleore said...

Personally, I tried to stop, when life was hectic and priorities like my kid's health needed attention.

Deb, there are some things in life that take priority whether you want to give it or not. And with kids, you always want to give more than expected and hope that it's not less than necessary.

But I'm so glad you returned to you and that is: being a writer.

Anyone who hasn't read "Scandalous Lord, Rebellious Miss" by Deb Marlowe is missing out on one of the best stories of the year.

Keira Soleore said...

OMG, Keira, you're like the ideal me. The me that even in my wildest dreams I know I'll never be.

Cara, honestly, if you had asked me in December, I would have laughed myself into a hernia. There was no way I would've believed that I could wake up at five bl**dy AM, write, and go to the bl**dy gym, five bl**dy days of the week. I decided to take a leaf out the pages of my change coaches (women whom I admire, who don't give me room for backing down, but nevertheless are there with praise). Cripes, it is still bl**dy hard. So no glory yet.

Keira Soleore said...

For me, writing is finding that special place where I belong and what a surprise it was to find it.

You had a successful career, discovered another one, and are busy making it a success. You're one amazing person!!

The thing I love most about this writing thing is the friends I've made!

By the gods, yes! By comparision, the nonfiction writing world is extremely hostile to people trying to break in. Women in the romance industry write and help others write, they promote and help promote others, they ask for help and equally generous give help. After my first Conference last year, I returned home in a happy haze. I was totally.blown.away!

Keira Soleore said...

Cassondra, Monday are hard. I thought quite a bit about the day I should choose, but ultimately chose it, because then the blog stays up all week and people stop by as and when they're able to. And every reader, every comment is just as welcome.

Writing something--songs, books, blogs, SOMETHING is just..well...what I do.

I loved this reason: That you've always written something (though I would say song lyrics are vastly different from fun blogs). Couple weeks ago, my daughter dictated her first story to me. She's a writer, too.

I never get tired of it. This is the only thing that isn't boring. It's never the same twice.

This is where brushing teeth and writing part company. Both are essential, but the former is boring. If I could avoid it, I would. So, I'm always fighting that. Writing? Not so much.

Candice Hern said...

I write because I love to write. I really do. Yes, there are times in the middle of a manuscript when I question that love, or when that love twists itself into why-do-I-put-myself-through-this-misery hate. But in the end, I find great pleasure in writing, so I keep doing it.

I am so proud of your daily commitment, Keira. I wish I was so disciplined! Especially about the gym thing. :-\

Maggie Robinson said...

I just can't help myself *g*.

Keira Soleore said...

Candice and Maggie, so good of you to stop by.

I write because I love to write.

Yes. Love's a good motivator. That's what our stories are really all about, too, aren't they?

I am so proud of your daily commitment, Keira. I wish I was so disciplined!

Are you kidding me? Candice, you're one of the most organized people I know. And that takes a ton of discipline. I wish I could be organized. Without friends weilding praise and prods, it would've been very difficult for me to stay the course.

I just can't help myself.

Ah, reflexive. Very good, Maggie!!

Keira Soleore said...

Thank you, friends, for all these comments. They're helping me firm up my life as a writer and what it means to me to write.