As NaNoWriMo winds down, I’ve been thinking a lot about why I write. My NaNoWriMo project was highly unusual for me — I chose it simply because I wanted to do NaNoWriMo with my teens, and I knew I could write 50,000 words about these characters and their world. This is the first book I wrote with zero intention of publishing it. I wrote it for me and me alone.
It’s a train wreck of a book (or, more accurately, about three-quarters of a book, since that’s what got me to 50,000 words), but it’s also exactly what I needed this November. When my stress and anxiety levels peaked, I was able to fall back on my writing. Disappear into someone else’s problems, and celebrate their triumphs. I don’t think I wrote much that was good this month, but writing got me through some rough patches.
Writing isn’t only, or even often, therapy for me. I write because I have stories to tell, characters who refuse to shut up, worlds that demand to be brought to life. I write because I can’t imagine not writing. I love learning more about a character and the world they live in through writing their story. I love learning more about myself and my own biases when I write characters whose backgrounds or experiences differ from my own. And as a librarian, I love doing all the research.
I also write because I believe in the power of words and reading. I believe the right book for the right reader at the right time can make all the difference. It did for me — more than one book, at more than one point in my life. I hope my books will someday have that kind of impact on a reader. Even if it’s just one person, if my words have led someone else to think differently about something or to smile when they thought they couldn’t or to cry when they needed a good cry, it will be one of my greatest accomplishments.
Why do you write?