When They Don’t Understand Why You Write

Do you ever get that cold feeling that people think your writing is a waste of time? Do your family & friends make snide comments about you being the next Stephen King? Do most people you know think that the only reason to write is so you can make money?

I share a home with my partner and a cat that thinks she is the queen of the universe. I also have a job that keeps me busy during the daytime hours. For the longest time I did most of my writing on weekends or in the late night hours when I could not sleep. In those alone hours when it was just me and the computer …  and occasionally, her royal fuzz ball … I could easily lose track of time pounding my ideas on the keyboard before sleep or something else took the thoughts away for the moment.

Then last year for NaNoWriMo I informed my partner and her worship (aka the cat) that I would be focusing a lot of my free time on this writing “contest” and would not be very available, so deal with it. I think I was a little more tactful than that but you get the overall idea. During the month of November, the laundry piled up, dinner consisted of take out or delivery, the carpet wasn’t vacuumed etc … and her highness had to rely on someone else to clean out her litter box. My partner tolerated the domestic disruption but I think it was only because I had promised it would last just one month.

Then December rolled around and I still had the writing bug. I may have hit the 50k mark but my “Tin Man” story was far from completed. I continued to work on it when I could steal away some time. Then the comments started up: I thought that contest was over? Are you still working on that thing? Is it done yet? Can you put it down long enough to get caught up on the housework? etc etc. Oooo yeah, the negativity was there in spades. And it wasn’t just my partner. Any one I had told about my little writing project was treating me like their crazy cousin.

Was I crazy?

It’s true I wasn’t going to get rich from my writing. I might not ever get published. And even if I did get published, who’s gonna read my stories? So was it really a waste of time?

These were tough questions. Over the last few days and weeks in 2011 I considered the reasons why I write and I asked myself if it was worth it. I found that the longer I went without writing, the more I craved it. The ideas and thoughts didn’t stop flowing. I ended up spending every waking hour thinking about my various stories and how to develop certain parts.

I could not stop writing. Not for anyone. I don’t really care about being published or not.

I write because something inside of me compels me to. I have stories inside of me that are anxious to get out. I can’t leave those voices alone in the silence.


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