I guess this is a fairly basic question to ask on a blog about writing. It’s a question that I’ve never actually asked myself in the past, so I thought that I might have a go at answering it now.
The Origins Of My Writing
It’s hard to say how young I was when I first realised how much I liked writing. Now, when I say writing, I don’t just mean fiction, I mean writing in general, the whole process. From scrawling my left handed, messy handwriting across a page (and getting the inevitable ink smudge marks on both paper and skin), using the weird computer/typewriter hybrid my mum and dad got me later on, to more recently typing away on a bright blank word processing document. I love everything about writing.
I must have been about six or seven when I actually realised, for the first time, that I enjoyed putting the thoughts that were in my head down on paper. I can’t even remember now what things I wanted to share with the world at that age! I do remember writing things down when I’d played a particularly cool game with my toys and I wanted to remember the specifics so I could play that game again.
That, I guess then, is the origins of my writing. I’d often use toys in different ways and for different roles than they were originally bought for. So from time to time, my Star Wars figures would have different names and personalities, my He-Man action figures would be strange alien creatures on a newly discovered world. Everything could be anything, depending on the ‘game’ I was playing. Thinking back on it now, I think a better term to use would be the ‘stories’ I was telling. I would write down who the characters were, what the planets and places they visited were called, everything. Well, maybe not everything, a lot of my playing when I was a kid was improvised and done on the fly, but sometimes, if it was cool enough, I’d make a note of it.
The Wasted Years
I amusingly refer to my teenage years as ‘the wasted years’ because I did spend rather a lot of time drunk in those, fragile, formative years! Because of that, not very much writing got done by me at all, and that which was has rarely survived to see the light of day today. This might be a blessing in disguise, but as with my younger years, it would have been fun to see what occupied my teenage mind!
Even though I’ve said that I didn’t do much writing during my teenage years, it would be a lie to say that I put my imagination to rest and dulled it with alcohol, because I didn’t. My teenage imagination was mostly preoccupied with tabletop role-playing games. Yes, like Dungeons and Dragons, but no, not Dungeons and Dragons. It still amazes me even now that you could tell someone you once took a dump on a cat and they wouldn’t flinch, but tell them you’ve played D & D and they look at you like you just slapped the pope. Tabletop RPG’s are amazing and really, really good for your imagination. I thoroughly believe that more people should play them!
Anyway, these games always helped to fire my imagination and gave me worlds in which to stretch the wings of my imagination and create stories and worlds for my friends to play in. These places were filled with action and angst and humour and I loved every second I was gaming in those worlds. One of the parts of the course I’m doing is called Speculative Fiction and covers creating these types of game, amongst other things. Needless to say, I am very excited about that part of the course and can’t wait to see what kinds of things I can learn.
The Responsible Years
Very, very little writing got done during my twenties, I am afraid to say. This decade of my life consisted mostly of settling down, getting a mortgage and a reliable, safe job with which to pay that mortgage back. Looking back now, it’s very easy for me to see why I didn’t write very much in this period of my life. I was very uninspired at the time. If it sounds like I’m ungrateful for the years I spent settled down in my twenties, then I don’t mean it to. I had fun, I had friends and a partner. I went to lots of places and did lots of things.
Hindsight (and much, much soul searching) has shown me that perhaps that kind of life is not for me. I was denying myself the happiness that I was looking for, even though I didn’t know it at the time and was happy in my twenties. You can only lie to yourself for so long though before your true feelings will make themselves known one way or another and whether you like it or not. That’s why as my twenties came to an end and my thirties began, I found myself living a very different life than the one I had become accustomed to.
As the saying goes though, ‘One door closes and other one opens’ and I found myself at a loose end one night, when a friend of mine, Louise Fazackerley (if you’ve never seen her perform before, you owe it to yourselves to do so, she’s amazing!
Click on her name to visit her website and see where she’s appearing next!), suggested that I attend the open mic poetry night at the much missed Tudor House Hotel in Wigan. This fired my passion for writing again and the rest, as they say, is-well, it’s just below, actually…
Modern Day And The Writing Renaissance
So now we’re here, this post has meandered us back to the present day while apparently failing to answer the question posed by its title! We had fun though, right? As I sit here and write this and await my turn to plunge into academia, I am at a pretty good place regarding my writing. I’m sitting down and doing it more than ever, I have a keen interest in everything creative, not just writing. I have the support of wonderful friends and family and I have a lot of hope for my future in writing going forward.
The true answer to the question, ‘why do I write?’ is a simple one. I write because I can. I have a great, creative imagination and I love the idea that with writing, everything is possible. I can write about anything, anywhere, at any time. I can have dragons, and witches and robots and even ninjas if I want to. Hell, I can have them allat the same time! The point I’m making is that your potential as a writer is limitless, you can inspire and entertain, incite and defuse.
I think I also enjoy writing mostly for my own benefit. I like creating characters and stories, new worlds and interesting situations. Even though I would love to make a living using my writing, it’s never been the main goal to make money from it. I just enjoy creating things and watching them evolve and unfold in front of me, and I would love to think that one day, others can enjoy my work in the same way. Everything is anything, after all!
*Photograph of Louise Fazackerley taken by Richard Davis. Used with permission.