As I was sitting around between stories figuring out what to write I found this in my "Writing Goals 2013" file:
I was asked the other day: "Why do you spend so much of your time writing?"
After soul-searching for something deep and meaningful to respond with, the best I could come up with was:
"For the same reason you spend so much of your time breathing."
I'm not sure who said it (though it was likely from the NaNoWriMo forums) or why it was said or in what context but it obviously struck something for me to copy it and save it in a place where I'd eventually find it.
Obviously breathing is important to everything. If you don't breath, you don't live and if you don't live, well obviously you're dead and dead is never fun (unless you're undead but that's entirely different).
Anyway, for some people writing isn't important. There are those few on the NaNo forums that write only during November and the two camps simply for fun. They don't intend to get published, they don't intend for anyone to see their work, they simply want to complete a challenge. If they miss entire months and never edit, that's fine for them and they don't mind.
Then there's those who write because it's a hobby. If they get published, awesome, if not, that's okay too. They don't actively seek publishing and for them if they miss a few days/weeks/months, it's not a big deal either.
Finally there are those who cannot live if they do not write. They may or may not be looking to publish but they know that they have, let me repeat that: THEY HAVE to write. It's not a matter of "I'll only write during NaNo months" or "eh, I'll write next month when life is less busy." It's more of: "If I don't write something I'm going to go FREAKING NUTS."
For those in the last category writing is just as important as breathing. If you haven't figured it out, I'm one of those last category people. I cannot go for long without writing something. Even during a 10 day stint where I stupidly said to myself that I'd only write a book a month *snorts at self* I wrote two short stories. I cannot, let me repeat that I CANNOT stop writing.
Writing is an escape from all the things in life that are not going so well (or going suspiciously too well). It's not just something to occupy time because if that was what was wrong we'd be watching more Netflix. It's something ingrained into our hearts, souls, minds and bodies that has to be done. We cannot and will not stop until our hearts, souls, minds and bodies no longer function.
It's that one thing that makes us, well, us. We are writers. Our imaginations are forest fires and little campfire sparks. We cannot stop thinking "What if?" We cannot live if we cannot write.
So the next time someone asks you "Why write?" ask them why they do the thing they're most passionate about. Watch them stutter, watch their eyes go wide while they really think about it and when they finally come up with something you can feel pride in saying: "Exactly."
And if they can't come up with something productive, then the above "Why do you spend so much time breathing?" is appropriate. Heck, it's an appropriate answer to all those silly questions about why you like/do the things you do. It's a poetic way of saying: "Because it's important to who I am" or "It keeps me alive."
So, what category of writer do you fall into?