Questions & Answers

FireworksI was going to start this post with “Happy New Year”, but then I realized that was supremely unoriginal and I had to delete it. This is one problem with being a writer. I can’t write something for public consumption without analyzing each word in full.

This year Write Anything has an arc. We, the writers, will each describe and follow-up on a project we’re writing throughout the year, from conception to publication. (Yes, publication. Let’s not call ourselves optimists—let’s say we’re keeping our eye on the goal. Or something less cliché. How sick are we of sports metaphors? There’s that analysis again.)

The beginning of this arc is an introduction. I started at Write Anything just last August so you might remember my first introduction, but this one will be special because rather than deflect with humour and inspirational messages I have to admit a few things: I have to tell you how I began to write, and why I continue.

The note from our editor on this point includes the words: You the person are unimportant. You the writer are everything.

Now that is something to think about.

Why did I begin to write? Maybe it would be easier to tell you the reasons that don’t apply. I didn’t start writing because I was bored, or because someone told me I should try it out. I didn’t write because I read something and thought, I can do better, or because I received a new notebook for Christmas and thought I should use it for something special. I didn’t start because I had a story to tell, or because I wanted to make money. I didn’t start because I wanted other people to read my stuff.

Girl in shadowsSo by process of elimination you know why I began to write: everything else. Who I was, my life, my family. The entertainment I loved: books, movies, and television included. My uncontrollable imagination. From this perspective, some nearly-three-decades later, there was very little that could have stopped me from writing. It was an inevitability, like breathing out after you’ve been holding a breath for a very long time. It wasn’t something I thought about. If I’d known then, as a skinny, awkward, unselfconscious child that I would ever have to explain the beginnings of my writing, I would have never told a soul that I’d started. Too much analysis.

Look how far I’ve come! (Backwards?)

I’m sure that the reasons some people started will dictate their whole career as a writer. I’ve known writers who started to express something difficult, or to discover something about themselves, and of course that has an impact. I’m not saying those people are wrong. But the reasons for my beginning seem as inconsequential to me as the moment of spark must seem to the raging wildfire. And that’s all I can say.

So, next question. Why do I continue to write?

See Question 1.


Jen Brubacher is a librarian who wants more books in the world. Her short fiction has been published at a few places including Every Day Fiction and AE-The Canadian Science Fiction Review. A Canadian living in London, England, find her on her website or at twitter.

6 Responses to “Questions & Answers”

  1. Icy Sedgwick says:

    Excellent post. Sums you up perfectly.

  2. Ev Bishop says:

    I really relate to your answer, because I never have a concrete reason to why I write.* I just do.

    *Which hasn’t stopped me from trying to elaborate on the subject numerous times. It seems that everything in my life and within me is a contributing factor.

    • Maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe finding reasons to write outside of ourselves means that those reasons are fallible–they won’t always be there.

  3. Rob Diaz says:

    I have fallen into the over-analysis problem with my writing over the past two years. Each word, each phrase is viewed and reviewed and more often than not removed. This has seriously cut down on the completion of projects for me over the past couple of years and is one of the things I am working on.

    Despite this, I keep writing… and much like you when I try to figure out why I continue writing, I have to refer back to the reasons I started. It is this part of me, the writer, that hasn’t changed.