I wrote this back in 2012 to be posted on yet another blog I closed down. I still ask myself this question now and then, despite having grown so much as a writer since.
My top-of-the-head response to this question was a flaky “well, I enjoy it from time to time.” It kind of bothered me that I didn’t say “Why, of course, I love to write! I can’t go through a day without filling a page.”
This gives rise to the fear that I’m writing (or a writer) for the wrong reasons. Could it be that I’m only writing because it is the only talent I have? Maybe all these years I have carved myself a safe, quiet corner in this craft, just because I was driven away from other pursuits that I might have loved more if only they loved me back.
My boyfriend has said a few times, “I thought you love to write. Why do you keep putting it off?” Or sometimes, “You love to write. You should enjoy it.” He has seen me agonize over hopeless drafts and blank pages.
I get defensive during these instances. I know for a fact that a lot, if not all writers find writing as difficult. We have expectations, ideas on what a quality work looks like, and getting one’s draft (or blank page) to that state requires something resembling superhuman strength, while keeping one’s butt glued to a chair. When writing say, a story, I have to stretch my senses, transport myself to a place I have barely fleshed out, re-enact multiple scenarios and behaviours, some of which my relatively undramatic life has not allowed me to experience. All of these to adorn my real experiences, morose or merry. It’s like a bodiless form of lobotomy, when I know that I have the right words, the mind-blowing descriptions somewhere in my brain, it’s just that I need to invert or unfold its regions so I could put them on paper. Add that to the fact that I do have to make a living. My mind and body ride through seasons—I’m cold and sleepy in the winters, restless and playful in the summer. Meanwhile, I like to check Facebook, or play scrabble online. Oh, there is no food in the fridge and there’s this month’s pay in the bank. Let’s pick up some groceries, and hey, why don’t I shop for a blouse? I have gained weight and I should go to my kickboxing class. Yikes, I haven’t talked to my Mom for a week!
But I still write.
Because I love stories. I enjoy reading them from magazines, anthologies and novels. I love seeing them unravel in films. I write because I know the pleasure a good story brings: it’s power to haunt or move, to thrill or disturb, to awaken numbed sentiments. This is where the anchor is snagged; I may sometimes doubt my love for writing, but I keep hoping that I’ll be able to give the world a glimpse of the restless playground in my mind and that its souls are made fuller by the sight.