The Truth of Why I Write

I was vacillating between whether this week’s post should be about formatting print books or time management, when I got tired of trying to decide and checked my Twitter feed instead. Thankfully, this ended up not being a waste of time because author Ninie Hammon had a link to her terrific post about why she writes. As I don’t often take time in this blog to delve into the writer behind the book, I thought doing a similar post would be a great way to let you know a bit about me.

Why Do I Write?

I think most authors will give a stock answer to this along the lines of “I can’t imagine not writing.” But it’s true. Even before I started writing books and articles, I was obsessive about keeping journals and writing letters. There’s just always been something about getting words out of my head and onto paper that fulfills me.

I also have a nasty habit of allowing the tiniest tidbit of information to inspire a story. I find myself constantly thinking “What if” or “How can I put my own twist on this?” or “OMG! That would make a terrific novel!” Thanks to this habit I have a notebook full of story ideas.

Before I ever put pen to paper to start my first novel, whenever I would hear family stories, I would imagine how those stories could be twisted by my warpedhappy mind into something new. One of these twists became a short story, the other became my second attempt at novel writing.

Once I “officially” became a writer (I’m sure I have a badge or card around here to prove my official-ness), the habit of spontaneous inspiration grew worse. Learning about any historic event left me wondering how that event would be seen through the eyes of one of the players, classic literature inspired me to tell the story in a modern setting, and watching a documentary about mythology had me thinking what if the stories were true?

While I am now trying to focus on fiction, my own curiosity about science and history coupled with a snarky way of looking at things has forced me to compile outlines for at least three books that I desperately want to write.

In other words, I am bursting with stories and that’s why I write (it’s also why I will never understand writer’s block). If I ever run out of story ideas, if I ever lose my curiosity about the world, if I ever decide no one else cares to read about what I find fascinating, I’ll know writing is no longer for me.

Who or What Inspired Me To Write?

I don’t know if any one person inspired me to write. I could say a teacher. After all, my eighth grade math teacher confiscated my weekly “newsletter” in which I made fun of the teachers and practices in my school. Rather than be horrified, she laughed, asked to see more and told me to keep it up. I could say a famous writer since I have no doubt that the amount of Stephen King I read as a kid did something to my brain.

But what most inspired me to write was absolute boredom. I’ve had more than a few jobs where I spent too many hours sitting at a desk trying to find something to do. With a mind as active as mine, there’s only so many times you can clean your desk drawers, reorganize files and change the desktop theme on your computer before you risk going bonkers. I didn’t want to be carted off by men in white jackets, so I started to write. In fact, I wrote at least three novels while at various places of employment. (Those novels are all horrible, but still reside in my To-Edit pile.)

What About You?

If you write, I’d love to know why you subject yourself to this strange habit or who inspired you to do so. Feel free to share your thoughts below or, write a blog post on the topic and share the link below (a reciprocal link within your post would be terrific).

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TAMMIE PAINTER IS THE AUTHOR OF THE TRIALS OF HERCULES: BOOK ONE OF THE OSTERIA CHRONICLES AND AN ARTIST WHO DEDICATES HERSELF TO THE TEDIUM OF CREATING IMAGES WITH COLORED PENCILS.

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