23 April 2013

A Cliché Question

By which I mean not a question that is a cliché but, rather, a question about a cliché. Not that I even knew that so many writers bopping about in the indie world would give one particular answer to one particular question.

The question is: 'Why do you write?' The clichéd answer: 'Because I must.'

There's a bunch of rhetoric surrounding this notion that writers write because they are compelled to do so. I do know that certain people write certain things because of some sort of nervous tic. I, for example, find it quite hard to tweet constantly, I also find writing this blog hard (although I am attempting to become more disciplined see right now).

This year I have edited one book, written another inadvertently and had time for two 10,000 word experiments which are both being shelved until I know properly what to do with them. My edited book started out somewhere in the region of 131,000 words in length and is now over 140,000 words in length. The total amount of Bridgetown currently committed to paper trots in at a healthy 86,000 words and growing weekly.

You see, that's what I mean when I say I am compelled to write. I do not even consider myself to have written anything particularly heavyweight this year so far. The editing was hard work, if you count the number of words corrected rearranged or changed into the final figure I've probably written about 120,000 words since Jan 1st. That doesn't count blog posts.

I'm enumerating, not boasting, I just wanted to illustrate that this is what it means to me to write because you're compelled to write. I have always likened my writing to some sort of mental disorder and the fact I consider 120,000 words to be "what I wrote while I was trying to clear the deck to get to the actual projects" should illustrate this somewhat. What I have to wonder is if everyone else is the same. There don't actually appear to be enough books floating about per author to support this hypothesis.

So I guess this is my question. Are people really compelled to write? I guess I must be, the numbers speak for themselves. As a wise blogger I once encountered said to me, if you can give it up, then do so at once and go live your life. I'm a lost cause in that case. If you can follow that wise advice, you should get out now. If you can't welcome to the crazy house, let's get to work.

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