I’m typing this from the conference room of the Independence of the Seas. I’m participating in the Writing Excuses Retreat 2021. It’s Sunday, there’s no land in site, and through some very impressive techno-wizardry, I’m submitting this post from the Caribbean.
This week has been pretty amazing. It’s the first vacation Melissa and I have taken together since the start of the pandemic, and we really needed this. The Writing Excuses community is fantastic, and it has been food for our soul to be able to connect with people again. Some faces are new to us, some or old friends, and we have felt welcome and part of the whole.
The weather has been pleasant, and the ship has been steady beneath us, yet it’s been a little bit of a bumpy ride for me, at least emotionally. Some of it has to do with the pandemic. I’m out of practice meeting people. I’ve never had a surplus of social grace, and I struggled all week trying to connect with people in a meaningful and satisfying fashion. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, congratulations! You’re probably an extrovert!
I came onto the ship aware of my writing problems, which is knowing how to talk about my stories. Over the course of the week, I have found some answers. I have a lot of practice to do to grow the skill, but now I feel like I have enough information that the exercise will actually serve me.
While stumbling through talking about Synthetic Dreams, I hit a point where I lost all confidence and started questioning why I’m even writing at all. I went for a long walk on the ship, trying to process my emotions and doing a bad job of it. I wound up talking to Mary Robinette that evening, and she was able to help get me settled down. In the process, she suggested I may have forgotten why I write, and maybe I should look at that.
I have written about this before. All of the reasons I listed 7 years ago are still applicable. My previous post talks about why I want to write, but it doesn’t necessarily touch on why I need to write.
When I’m not writing, I’m more prone to depression. Writing stabilizes me and grounds me. I entertain many creative outlets, but writing gives me something permanent that I can easily share with other people.
Also, my stories are a form of immortality. I’m so afraid of being forgotten. I recently wrote about feeling like I won’t live to old age. If I can just write something of value, something that can mean something to other people, it will give my life meaning.
I suppose that’s the simple, ignoble answer.
Why do I write?
I write to satisfy my hubris.