Sunday, January 23, 2011

Getting Out of My Head: Why this writer writes

People always wonder why writers write. There must be a reason, some great secret. Well, here's my story.

I'm an only child, and my lack of siblings definitely contributed to me becoming a writer. Sure, I had friends and playmates in the school yard, but at home I was on my own. So I played "make believe" a lot. In some ways, I never stopped.

I remember getting fussed at by my parents because I wasn't always focused in school. My brain didn't have time for math or science. It was too busy casting me in the role of Nancy Drew and solving mysteries. If Nancy didn't appeal to me that day, I would become the female Indiana Jones and discover the bones of some ancient creature.

Because of my pretend play, the world of the theatre caught my attention early on. What a great place to act out all those crazy things going on in my head, and when I discovered that writing allowed you to actually control everything--the feelings and situations of the characters--well, I never looked back. I've mostly been writing ever since.

Mostly. In college I stopped for awhile. There was just too much going on, too much to do, too much beer to drink. Besides, I was a theatre major whose time was taken by countless short acting scenes and endless auditions. Plenty of time for make believe! And the parties. Did I mention all the parties? Writing just couldn't compete.

But after graduation, when the real world made its great debut in my life, I started to live in my head again. It was actually kind of distracting for my boyfriends. I was so busy thinking about whatever story was cooking in the old noggin that I didn't always pay attention to the current love interest in my life. I started feeling like the stories in my head were way cooler than real life could ever hope to be.

But then I met the guy who became my husband. He was extremely distracting. My head stories got kind of pissed off at me when I started giving him more attention. So I started writing them down, just so they'd shut up and let me go on about my business. And my husband? He figured out what a freak I am early on in the relationship, married me anyway, and bought me my first lap top so my stories could come to life much quicker.

Writing gives me such a sense of freedom. It allows me to take journeys I could never take in real life, would never want to take! I admit it gives me a bit of a God complex, too. I control the world of my characters, though sometimes they do surprise me by acting on their own. Also, the process of writing allows me to still have "make believe" time, which in turn seems to make me a better wife, mother, and friend because I can focus on the world about me instead of being locked in my head.

So that's why I write. My brain won't leave me alone. What's your excuse?

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