It’s an interesting accusation to a writer, and not the first time I’ve seen it. Someone was unhappy with a book, and that was what the critic felt was wrong with it. The author was ‘writing just to write.’
I’m pretty sure that there’s not a writer out there who isn’t thinking, “Well YEAH!”
Seriously, is there another reason to do it? Because writing for money isn’t a good enough reason. Writing for praise is ephemeral and unpredictable at best. Writing to please other people can be a LOT of fun, (I’ll vouch for that–in the case of I Love You, Asshole!, I was writing for a fan, and damn if that didn’t feel good!) but in the end, the thing that drives us, the thing that makes it magic, is to watch our characters come alive. We really ARE writing just to write. It’s our drug, it’s what makes us give up sleep and write until PAST the time we have to pee and put the kids off with frozen pizza so we can get this part JUST right. It doesn’t matter if we’re making our living with it or doing it as fanfic or just trying to retreat from a job where “Fuck you, bitch!” is our only real marker for fulfilling our duties to the best of our potential.
Writing just to write is the thing that keeps us fresh– it’s what keeps us from cutting and pasting our own love scenes, writing the same story, different characters, or that FORCES us to make sure our characters stay true to who they are. It’s what makes us write honestly, and what makes (me, at least) conscious of that one moment–present while working on EVERY book–when I find myself crying in sympathy–even if it’s happy sympathy–with the people I’ve brought to life in my own head. Writing just to write means we don’t always write the same thing and we don’t always write what’s pleasant–or what we think the world wants to see. We write to be true to our craft, to improve upon it, to bring an idea (hopefully a worthy one) into such clarity that the world might share our admiration.
“Writing just to write” means it’s our joy. Our joy (hopefully) can be shared. I was VERY pleased to be able to “write just to write” ILUA–and I’m VERY grateful to those of you on Facebook and on e-mail who have told me that this one worked for you. I’ve loved these boys through four books and nine novellas–I’m SO glad they got their story told! And I look forward to “writing just to write” for quite some time! Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me to “write just to write.” You’ve given me a blessing I’ve treasured for seven years:-)
And in other oddness– Big T is going to Europe this summer, it’s his high school graduation present. (Don’t look at me like that. He’s going to community college. My parents are helping him fix up a car. Mate swears he can get a deal on a computer. His sister already got the big trip. OKAY OKAY OKAY… We’re not very bright with money, okay?) Anyway, he’s getting really excited–and so am I. I love my Big T, but he’s eighteen and, well, not very independent. I do realize that he’s CH and spent some of his formative years about 3-4 years behind his peers maturity wise, but, well… he’s really dependent on Mate and I sometimes. We’ve finally gotten him to where he can use the bus system, which is great, but I’ve always wanted my children to go out into the world and do great things. I think he’s going to enjoy Europe–I think it’s going to give him things that Mate and I alone cannot. I’m really proud of him for being brave enough to go.
Also–Zoomboy has a plethora of ending the year activities. Two good things about this: A. This year I get to volunteer with them, and I’m all giggly. I get to help him with field day and I get to go see their end-of-the-year presentation and WHEEE! And B. Zoomboy’s friend’s mom, the one who got me all excited about baking bread and who wants my help with her knitting is going to be there doing the same thing! I HAVE A MOM-BUDDY. Think about it, people. The last time I had a mom-buddy, with kids NEAR the age of my kids, was when Chicken was three. She moved to Redding, I haven’t heard from her since. This is big. This has just rendered something I was both looking forward to and not looking forward to into something I’m REALLY looking forward to. LET’S HEAR IT FOR MOM-BUDDIES AND FIELD DAYS! YAY!
And yesterday, I dared the CPS gods by giving my two youngest a choice: go outside and play or stay inside and clean their room. They chose (after much whining, crying, and terrible trauma) to clean their room. (There was a BUG outside, oh holy Goddess, hold on to the foundations of the world, a BUG you insane woman! Can you not see that there will be no playing outside as long as there is a BUG outside?) Anyway, they were appalled to find I meant it, and I didn’t let them out for an hour. (Okay– they could go pee, and of course come in and whine at me to leave, but, you know, they weren’t SUPPOSED to be out of their room.) Anyway, when I called back to them that their time had been served, the youngest yelled, “Freedom!” with perfect Braveheart inflection and came pounding out of there like a blue-faced soldier with a kilt. *facepalm* Dramatic anyone? No, really…
And Chicken? Well, you know. She’s Chicken. There IS no improvement on the terminally hip, right?
And that’s what I gots (mostly because I had to stagger out here and write the last paragraph–DARN the short people and their, “Just come lay down with us for a MINUTE!” bullshit and lies!) I’m going to see if I can milk this reprieve from the sandman for a few more words of Talker’s Graduation. This one hurts–this one’s goodbye, yanno?