It is part of the human impulse to write, and there are as many reasons to write as there are people. I often think of writers as photographers, taking snapshots, painting worlds with their words that other people can then share: We are all archivists of the human condition; recorders of culture, anchors of ideas, of philosophy, of hopes and dreams and what it means to be free and alive – all vitally important motivators, which keep us coming back for more to write and read, and push us forward while renewing our strength for the relentless discipline of writing.
It is part of a writer’s nature to write, so telling them not to do so, is like telling them to take the notes out of a symphony, or remove the colour from the flowers; or like instructing the waterfall to turn around and go back up the hill. A true writer eventually admits no impediment to her writing, making the decision to write relatively easy in the end.
The decision made, our writing will often be propelled onto the page, like the water flooding out of the taps when we finally turn them on. There will be no agonising about what to write, or where we start. The initial flood may slow to a trickle, but hopefully by then, we will have crafted something satisfying that gives us a hint of our future direction.
Deciding to write creatively is not a rational decision. It is not something that we sit down to, with a list of ‘pluses and minuses’ tallying them up to work out a total and then deciding whether to go ahead or not. Perhaps, you think, it should be, but then, how many of the biggest decisions in our lives are the result of rational thought? Did we commit to our partners after an assessment of their worldly value? Did we fall in love with our dwellings because they ticked everything on a pre-selected list? Probably not. I can give you a few rational reasons why writing is a waste of time. These days, the success rates for new writers can be compared convincingly to the chances of winning the lottery. Who in their right mind would write anything, faced with odds like these? But like falling in love with our mates or falling into life with our bijou pads, unless we fall head over heels, we stand very little chance of succeeding: our hearts are at the centre of our huge decisions.