That sounds like one of the simplest questions you can ask a writer. “Why do you do it?” That should be a one-off, ten second answer and then you would move onto the next question… in theory. At least for me, why I write is a lot more complicated than what can be mustered up in ten seconds.
Let me start here.
Life is… interesting. No matter how thoroughly you plan out what you want to do it won’t ever happen exactly how you picture it. Ever.
Will you reach your goals if you work hard enough? Absolutely.
Will you reach them in the ways that you planned to reach them? No.
Here’s a few of the endeavors I’ve had over the years on my path:
Rockstar. Writer. Rapper. Chemist. Storm Chaser. Video Game Developer. Comic Artist. Chiropractor. Massage Therapist. Therapist for Cerebral Palsy. Reggae Bass Player. Doctor. Motivational Speaker. Movie Director. Script Writer. Journalist. Professional Baseball Player.
I’m 25. In my short, short life I have made reasonable attempts at every single thing listed above. I’ve accomplished two: writer and massage therapist.
I had plans to reach each goal, sure. Well thought out, thorough plans that I spent unimaginable amounts of time developing. Even backup plans in case my main plans failed! Yet still, I’ve accomplished two. Honestly, I let my massage therapy license expire because I no longer had interest in practicing. Good pay but my heart wasn’t in it. Writing is the only thing that’s stuck. That’s one.
I’ve been writing since the fourth grade. I have somewhere in the ballpark of thirty notebooks cataloging my works from the past sixteen years or so. Poems. Songs. Stories. Ideas. Speeches. Letters. My entire life is in those notebooks. From all the gripes with my childhood to the bad breakups to becoming a dad. Rage-fueled words and alcoholic slurs. Tear stained pages with typos included. Every moment, every emotion… it’s all in my writing.
Out of all of the plans I’ve made and all of the paths I’ve been down, writing has always been there. I’ve always worked hard at it – without noticing and without having a plan.
My path to becoming a writer has been filled with plans to become other things amongst other unexpected events. Life doesn’t follow a plan. Life does what it wants to do, like ocean tides. Reaching your goals isn’t about following your plans – it’s about finding your surf board and learning to ride the waves. Writing is my surf board.