Why I Don’t

Recently, Chuck Wendig posted a challenge, a thousand words on why you write.

Interesting, partly because of this recent conversation:

Me: In fact, it wouldn’t even matter if I quit writing. *BLATANT ATTEMPT TO FISH FOR SUPPORT. CONTAINS NO ACTUAL PLAN TO QUIT*

Friend: Yeah, probably not.

Me: …

It made me think, though. Why do I have this ironclad will to keep going? Why don’t I quit?

Is this answer the reverse of the question Mr. Wendig poses?

Doesn’t matter. I give you: Why I Don’t Quit Writing

1) Because writing reminds me to have empathy. No matter what, there’s a story behind the situation that I don’t know. We know this, intuitively, in our own choices of words. “What’s the story with that?” we ask. “What’s his story?” We know. And yet sometimes we forget. Maybe the jerk who cut me off is a jerk with a sportscar and a complex, or maybe he’s a desperate dad who got bad news and is hurrying to a hospital. Sometimes five over the speed limit isn’t fast enough.

2) Because the phrase “I’m a… *fill in the blank*” fills me with horror when the filled in blank contains a job title. I’m not my job. I’m a person with a job. I happen to be very lucky because I love my job. It’s meaningful and awesome, and I am so lucky. But I’m not it. Writing is something that no one can take away from me. I could cast it aside, let it fall by the wayside, let it be killed by a thousand tiny bites of time, a million papercuts of need. But that would be on me.

3) Because so many stories not only don’t have happy endings, they don’t have any endings. They don’t make any sense. There’s no arc and no development, and sometimes “What’s the story with that?” has absolutely no answer. Chaos gibbers around us. I write so there’s at least one tiny space that I can control where there is an answer. There’s an arc. There’s a resolution.

Why do I write? Probably a totally different answer. But this is why I don’t quit.

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