Why write?

It’s been about eight or nine months, so it’s time for another one of these complaint-ridden introspective posts, isn’t it?  This time, I’m asking myself – and you, if you’re a writer as well – the question in the title.  Seemingly a simple question, but it’s one that all writers have to ask themselves.  Why write?  What am I really doing here?  I don’t make any money off of this blog.  I don’t have any plans to use this site as a springboard to write for outside outlets, either; my day job keeps me busy enough, and the people I know who make their living writing have a rough time of it.  No, I’m happy to keep writing a hobby instead of a job, though I’m still not averse to taking a freelance job here and there when I have the time.  I’m also happy to stay primarily a W-2 employee, because doing taxes is hell on freelancers in the US.

I’ve been posting on a regular basis (at least by my standards) since the end of last year, when I ended my months-long on-and-off hiatus.  Since picking up the pen again and committing to it, my life’s gotten more tolerable, and I think there are two reasons for that.  The first that occurred to me was that I just like writing about subjects that interest me, and video/PC games and music have been my favorite forms of entertainment since I was a kid, so it seemed natural to write about them.

The other reason I continue writing here is that it’s the best way I’ve found to cope with my depression.  I don’t feel like I have any control over my life, and I hate most every aspect of it.  I used to drink to try to cope with those feelings – I drank way too much, in fact.  Since I thought I didn’t care about living, it seemed only natural to drink until I went numb for a while.  Sometimes literally numb, but more often figuratively. I probably don’t have to mention that since alcohol is a depressant, it can deepen depressive episodes and promote certain thoughts that might crop up during them.

Sure, whatever you say

I’ve basically quit doing that, and I’m trying to stay on course. It’s hard not to fall back into old habits when that high wave of depression hits, and it always does hit without exception. But that’s where writing comes in. My writing projects, as piddly as they are, give me at least one goal in life to pursue that I actually care about. And since there’s no ultimate goal to writing, no end destination, these projects will hopefully continue until my life ends, whenever that happens.  It helps that the subjects I’ve chosen to write about also provide an escape from the shitness of everyday life.

I hope this post doesn’t make it seem like I’m trying to get any sympathy.  That’s not useful to anyone, and in any case, I’ve always just tried to be sincere on this blog.  Seems pointless not to be, since I can’t get away with true sincerity out in the real world.  I also know well enough that since I’m not currently starving to death or living under a dictator, I have it better than a whole lot of people.  Having that knowledge doesn’t help with depression, though, as much as it seems like it should (and don’t use this line on someone who’s dealing with it as a way to try to give them perspective – it doesn’t work.)

For some reason, I always get this way around the holidays.  Ramadan starts on Monday, and even though it’s not a big deal where I live, it’s a big deal in my family.  A whole month of fasting and repentance.  I know a lot of people think it’s just an ancient custom not worth bothering with anymore, but I do think there’s value to the fast.  Self-denial of that kind puts me in a weird mindset – not weird in a bad way, either; it’s the kind of mindset that’s best for writing.  Thankfully, the fast doesn’t include games, so I’ll still be playing them this month as well.  That and having a feast at the end, because I’ll sure as hell feel like it by then.

I’ll still have a beer sometimes, I’m not going all cold turkey or anything.  Also hope Irina doesn’t think I’m trying to bite her style here, putting related anime stills in my post

Well shit, that was another rambling bunch of nonsense.  My next post will make more sense and actually be about something.  In the meantime, if you feel like it, I’d like to hear about your own motivations.  What drives you to write?

8 thoughts on “Why write?

  1. I feel this post for sure. It’s hard for me to sit down and write everyday. I have a family, a very busy job. I don’t have enough time to do everything I am wanting to do. I always feel bad when I don’t write anything for a long period of time. It’s a pain.

    • Yeah, it’s hard to do sometimes, especially when the ideas aren’t flowing and you just don’t have the time to think of anything but your primary duties.

      • I think my biggest problem is that I feel like I have to write about things the masses will enjoy instead of everything I enjoy. Just need to get out of that mindset and write what I want consistently.

      • Yeah, I know what you mean. I write pretty much whatever I want, whenever I want. Probably not great for my view counts, but I feel like it would be pointless otherwise.

  2. What drove me to begin writing reviews was to set an example of what criticism of games should entail – actual discourse and not clickbaity sensationalism. I used to think that game critics should be more like film critics, but now I feel film critics are just as bad (and in many ways, worse), so I decided to review films as well because it’s important to know when something does or doesn’t live up to the hype. I am far less knowledgeable of films than I am video games, but I do enjoy writing these reviews.

    • That’s a good goal to have. Writing a review that’s immune to hype and anti-hype, or as close to it as possible, should count as a public service at this point.

  3. I had a somewhat rambly post that touched on this in my own sphere recently, but basically, I write because I enjoy having my own little space where I’m contributing something to the marketplace of ideas, and I enjoy sharing my thoughts and connecting with others on them. I feel that I’ve gotten a lot out of it, and it’s really opened my thoughts up.

    I’m glad that you’re getting good out of it, too. Writing takes a huge amount of time and effort, and if you’re not getting personal fulfillment out of it, it’s not worth the time. Lots of people go into it with the idea of making a living out of it, but the road to that level is not a good one if you don’t have more fulfilling reasons to write, and there are easier ways of making a living. I hope this keeps being a beneficial experience for you.

    • Thanks, and same to you. Being able to contribute my own ideas is also a reason I write.

      Writing certainly does take a lot out of you. I wonder about those authors who churn out novel after novel that look almost identical like it’s nothing. That’s a different kind of skill and one that I have to respect, but I don’t think I’d be able to do that. That personal fulfillment is key.

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