Four of the women I know from the Compuserve Books and Writers Forum have started a joint blog called All The World’s Our Page. It’s joint venture across continents: two of the contributors are Australian, the other two American. Four like-minded people coming together from totally different parts of the world appeals to me, so I’ve added them to my reader.
Their initial posts explore the question of why each of them writes, and reading their answers got me thinking about my own. It’s not something I think about very often, because writing is just what I do. I can’t imagine not doing it, can’t fathom ignoring the stories that bubble up in my head or missing out on the rush that comes with putting together a sentence that feels just right.
I’ve always written, in one form or another. I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t part of who I am, though it’s been channelled in different ways at different times in my life. When I was nine or ten, I won ribbons for poetry. Around that time, I got hooked on Anne of Green Gables and its sequels, and dreamed of writing that well. Anne’s vividness inspired me, as my love for those books still does. When I was a teenager, I penned really awful romantic short stories. As an adult, my writing energies went into teaching others to put coherent sentences together in my role as a high school English teacher. The stories still brewed in my mind, though I did little more than play with them here and there.
The decision to stop dabbling and get serious about writing came suddenly. The morning of my 30th birthday, my husband woke me up to come and see the news. Planes had just flown into the World Trade Centre and North America was in shock. For me, the double whammy of a milestone birthday and that violent reminder that life is short was the push I needed to put my butt in a chair and write. Every day. I joined the forum immediately after that and began learning about the craft. And I wrote. I wrote while my child slept, while her dad took her out to have fun without me, and whenever I could carve out a few minutes.
Since then, I’ve written an ‘under the bed’ book that probably will never see the light of day, completed a manuscript that’s had good feedback but hasn’t found a home yet, and am about a third of the way into my new MS, a story that’s a big challenge to write but is really exciting, too. I keep writing every day, even if some days it’s not working and in the end all I write is an email to a friend. So really, I suppose the short answer to the subject of this post, if I need one other than “Because I can’t not write” is “Because of LM Montgomery and Al-Qaeda.” Bet you’ve never seen those two in the same sentence before. 🙂