After long and careful deliberation, I’ve decided that I don’t want to write anymore.
Did that get your attention? I hear it all the time. On Facebook. In writer’s groups. At book fairs and other venues. We talk about it quietly and not so quietly, daring to put the words out there and hoping that someone, anyone, will come back at us and say, oh, no, don’t give it up. We love what you write.
There are those on our friends lists and email chains who wait on our next words with bated breath. They are loyal fans and some have become very dear to us. I have yet to achieve that status except with a select few who genuinely like what I write and miss it when I don’t share at least a blog or column with them. I have family members who encourage me and some very special people who are rocks when I’m on shaky ground. I’m lucky. There are countless others of us who have not even that level of support.
Despite that, we languish in a pool of our own words and the emotions that we bleed onto the page, and we wonder why we’re doing this. Why we slash our writerly wrists each time we sit at our keyboards and let our lifeblood flow into those bits and bytes that become pages that become scenes that become a novel.
The short answer? Because.
Because we have to. Because without it, our lives aren’t complete. Because if we don’t, our brains will explode with the words that batter against the cage bars with the force of a level five tornado, ripping a hole in our skulls in order to escape. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather let them bleed out in a mannerly fashion than have that hole torn in my head. I’ve enough of those already.
So we write, slave to a passion that only another writer can understand. We stay up late at night and get up in the small hours of the morning. We go without balanced meals or clean houses. We neglect our spouses and our children and our parents just to get that fix. There are days when it’s a chore so great we nearly fold in half under its weight, but we keep at it. Because when you hit that high and the words pour out, it’s worth everything you’ve sacrificed and all the sacrifices yet to come. Because to do otherwise is unthinkable.