Remember your why


I went to a local author event at a nearby library recently. It was more directed at beginning authors, but I went anyway to see if maybe there would be some benefit in it for me. They had several speakers hosting talks on various writing and writer-related subjects (again, directed more at beginning authors). I still decided to go to one . . . about writer procrastination. I don’t think I have a procrastination problem? Aside from when life gets away from me, I’m usually reasonably consistent about getting at least some writing in most days. But I wanted to go to something at this event. It was free, so there was no financial incentive, but I still wanted to go to at least something.

The speaker (whose name I missed) had some good points. I was not her target audience, but I still found it interesting. One of her main points, which is one I’ve heard reiterated many times before, is to remember your why. That’s not something I’ve thought about in a while.

Anyone who saw the early, early, early days of my website might remember that I used to have a vision statement. This was a cluttered mess, hence why it doesn’t exist anymore. The gist of it? Creating for the joy of creating, sharing my creations, causing emotion in my readers (I get frustrated by apathy), and maybe a few other things I’ve forgotten by now. Something that wasn’t on that vision statement? How much I would have loved reading my books as a teenager. And it’s not just that – we deserve to see people like us in the media we consume. I would have loved reading about queer characters on fantastical science fiction and fantasy adventures. But those weren’t books that were readily available to me at the time. (Now, granted, not all of my characters are queer, but a lot of them are. Regardless of how many readers frustratingly choose to overlook that.)

So that is definitely part of my why. Seriously, I would have loved reading my stories (or stories like mine) as a teenager. But that’s not all of it. Aside from the fact that I feel a very distinct drive to articulate and pen the stories in my mind, I also love the act of creating them to begin with. As writers, we tend to put a lot of ourselves in our work, whether we intend to or not. And I don’t see a problem with that. I can see so much of what was going on in my life when I look back at my books. For example, here are some things I see when I look back at Victim: that time I marathoned FLCL with Alex (there’s a reason why that jet at the beginning is described as tearing the sky apart), that doodle I drew in a philosophy class (that eventually became the man in the mind), that Nietzsche work I found fascinating (Thus Spoke Zarathustra, hence the lion on the train), the trips I took on Amtrak to get home for break (where do you think I initially wrote the train scenes?), the trip I took to New York City . . .

I could make another list for Into the Unknown. Or Will to Speak. Or Wing. Or It Began with a Dream. But it’s so much more than that for me. In fact, the reality is, I often feel like my writing is what keeps me sane. And I don’t see a problem with the either. I think that’s just the way I am. Considering what all I’ve been dealing with in life lately, I’m glad I’ve thought about that again. I think I needed to.

Happy writing 🙂


(I initially wanted to end this by asking a variation on a question my professor asked on an exam once. I’m not sure it fits here (and, in actuality, it probably doesn’t), especially since this post meandered in a different direction than its initial draft. I figured I’d leave it here anyway as a headscratcher for the why not of it:

Well, Aristotle, which one fulfilled its purpose first? The chicken by birthing the egg? Or the egg by growing and becoming the chicken?)