Yesterday, Jerry B. Jenkins, author of the bestselling Left Behind series, posed the following question on his Facebook page: "Fill in the blank with ONE word: I write to __________."
"Scratch an itch," I responded.
"ONE WORD," he wrote back.
Oops. If all else fails, read the directions, right?
The problem is, I can't condense into one word the reason why I write.
There are many reasons, hence many words.
Why I write depends on what I'm writing.
If I'm writing an article, I write to inform or instruct.
If I'm writing my column, God, Me & a Cup of Tea, it's to inspire and encourage.
If I'm writing this blog, I write to inform, instruct, inspire, and give insight into the world of the writer.
If I'm posting on my daily blog, God, Me & a Cup of Tea Daily for 2014, it's to encourage and inspire.
If I'm writing fiction . . . now, this is a whole new ballgame. I write to scratch an itch. I don't write fiction because I have an agenda, a message to get across. I want my readers to enjoy reading as much as I do and for the same purpose: simply to lose themselves in a fictional world and enjoy it.
But, when it comes down to it, I don't really write for the reader. Oh, my! A cardinal sin when it comes to writing! Shouldn't we writers write for the reader?
Yes, we should keep the reader in mind as we write. Make sure the story makes sense, the characters and dialogue realistic.
But, no. I don't sit down and say, "I think I'll write a novel so someone could read it."
It's not like that at all.
It's more like, well, scratching an itch. And if I don't scratch it, it's going to drive me crazy.
An idea will pop into my mind. And wiggle and niggle and grow.
When I finally give in to it, I struggle to wring the story out, to understand the characters.
Writing isn't always easy. It's like an itch in a place that's hard to get to, like in the middle of my back.
But when the story takes over, when the characters finally take on lives and personalities of their own, and the fiction world becomes as real as the tangible world around me, the itch is satisfied.
I'm getting the itch to finish Getaway Mountain. Only four or five more chapters to go.
Time to get scratching.
Why do you write? How would you complete the sentence, "I write to __________. "
Post your answers in a comment below. Remember, ONE WORD! ;-)