The question has plagued many an artist over the course of history, right there next to the question “Why am I here?”, is the second most important question; why do I do what I do. Am I driven by the joy of exercising my craft or do the corporeal benefits steer me on. As a writer I have been on both sides of the fence and now sit straddling the equivocal fence, unsure which way to fall this time.
There is pleasure in writing. This particular article has been a joy to write, an old experience seen anew outside of fictional writing. The practice of combining letters to form words, sentences, paragraphs; the joy of putting thought to digital paper, watching it come to life before me. Seeing the worlds in my mind spill out as close to physical manifestation as words ever could; it’s an almost magical experience.
Getting that orange star in the top right corner of my dashboard or better yet, a speech bubble, is an exciting experience. Googling my name (such vanity, forgive me!) and seeing my published works and a link to my blog and website exhilarates. Going to Amazon.com and typing in my name (exonerate this conceitedness!) to see that I am listed as a published author inspires. Gamecca Magazine. Goodreads. Twitter. Instagram. My first cheque for my published book. Holding the physical copy of my book in my hand… it’s an almost gratifying experience.
Even as I write this I cannot come to grips with where I stand on this ongoing debate.
I love writing. I remember spending hours on my own scribbling pages and pages of story in my almost illegible school boy handwriting. I remember sitting in front of my computer and typing my emotions away into pages and pages of Times New Roman font (what font could better capture my art I ask you?). I cared little about who read my work, I wrote for me.
It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.
– Ernest Hemingway
At the same time I am here writing this blog post with the hope that old and new visitors will be taken by my writing and leave likes and comments; bless the new follower who has stumbled upon my writing. I bombard my social media platforms with links and links and links, hoping someone will take the time to see what I have written. I imagine my viewership forming opinions about what they have read and leaving satisfied that their time was well spent; that I am a talented writer; that my poetry is masterful and my short stories engaging; that I should be a prolific writer whom other writers hope to be compared to.
It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.
– Robert Benchley
I cannot write a short story without wondering what others will make of it while my poetry is written with little care of the reader. Stories bubble forth only to be hampered by the imaginary reader. Others are driven because of the imaginary reader. Other times I am the imaginary reader. Why do I do what I do? Why do I write? Is it for me? Is it for you dear reader? I wish I knew. One thing that I do know is this; I will continue to write. And I hope you will continue to read.