“A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.” – Roald Dahl
There is no shortage of eloquent wisdom from some of our greatest scribes on why they write, and for whom. I've been asked it; I think every writer has. It can be as vexing as those damnable query letters: you just penned 100K wonderful words, but how in God's name to sum it up nicely in just a few.
It's at once the hardest and easiest thing to answer, though I do very much like what Mr. Dahl had to say on the matter. I could cite 101 reasons if I could cite one. Increasingly, it's like being asked why I breathe. I write, because I am. And just maybe vice-versa. All I know is, when I'm writing I feel I'm doing what I'm meant to do, and when I'm not writing I so often feel I should be.
And that question of, for whom. Ask not, Ernest? Alas, I'm asking. The quick and easy is that we write for ourselves. I think that's almost always true to some degree. But whom, and what else? There have been a few who toil away with no intention of exposing their words to any eyes beyond their own, but most of us want to be read, heard, felt, understood. And if someone will pay to do it, better yet. 😉
Perhaps we write for the audiences of our chosen genre; if we want to sell books, we surely better. But that's author stuff, and yeah, most of us want to be published authors. I speak here of something a little more visceral--of that soul of a writer, that blood imperative that compels us beseeching to the page like so many wolves baying to the moon. That the world may hear us. Or at least some may. It is perhaps our message in a bottle, our Cryptograph of secret messages, heard uniquely by each soul, intended for millions or even just one. A brother; a friend; a kindred reader we'll never know. A sweet girl for whom your heart still beats. Here I stand, these, my words, my truth. My story begins and ends with you. A hand outstretched.
Whatever your reasons, they are the right ones. As always, thank you. Read on, and of course, write on.