The internet is filled to bursting with writers, and with on-line writing groups. I’m in a lot of those groups, and I read their stories, and bios, and Twitter posts on motivation.
To a man and woman, they seem to have known that they were writers from the moment they first encountered a book. To a man and woman, they know that writing is as necessary and natural to them as the oxygen-to-Co2 exchange they perform 12 or so times per minute.
I still don’t know why I write.
I know why I wrote my first novel. You can read about in detail here:
But TL;DR? Someone dared me to.
I think the next novel was just scratching a vague itch over a throwaway sentence in the first one (the bit about Keri being given her grandmother’s old chainmail shirt) and hearing from everyone in the self-publishing field that more books equal more sales.
The memoir? That was just me entertaining myself on cold winter nights in hotel rooms, because my job required me to go to and stay in every out-of-the-way small town in my province, and there was, literally, nothing else to do after 6pm.
(Well, I could have gotten drunk. Many of my co-workers did. But since the job also required me to be awake, dressed, and coherent at 6 AM (!) this seemed unwise.)
But even at that point, I didn’t think of myself as a writer.
Hell, even after deciding to self-publish, I had a hard time thinking of myself as a writer.
On the other hand, I have realized that I was “writing” all along: I just didn’t get it down on paper.
I created characters and sent them on adventures, but only in my head. Keri, Caoimhe, and now Tamar: these were people I had actually known and lived through vicariously in my imagination, for literally YEARS, as a way to get through long and boring hours of mindless employment. Like many another person in North America, I’ve had to take jobs that not only gave no personal satisfaction – they could be done using less than 3% of the brain power it takes to chew gum.
So maybe I was a writer all along?
No. I think I was Walter Mitty.
I think almost everyone is.
I’m just self-esteem-ey enough to think I can sell this stuff to other people.
But not so ego-driven that I can’t see it as the plain, unvarnished truth: I am not special. I’m not a sacred talent.
I’m just another girl with a laptop and internet access, and the nerve to throw my stuff onto Amazon..
Long may we wave.