I grew up believing that writers write because they love to write. But as I grew older & a bit cynical, I became confident that writers write because they love being read. Somewhere & for sometime between these 2 ends of the spectrum, I also believed briefly that writers were people who cannot not write & hence they wrote.
I think that we expect the world to be a reflection of our own self, though one might also argue that we are a reflection of the world around us. Yet another version of ‘which came first-the egg or the chicken’! But coming back to the question, me believing that writers write just out of love was probably my naivety & an innocent idea of a world where people’s actions are governed purely by their desires. The other possibility, the belief of people writing for the sake of being read must have most probably been formed when I started realising consciously or subconsciously the importance of external validation.
But looking back, the thing that troubles me the most is the phase where I believed that writers write because they just have to i.e. it just comes to them. Because though it seems utopian- stories coming to your head through a magical story spirit- it is a defensive belief as a writer. Defensive as in-the day I stop writing, it’s not actually me, but this magical spirit of stories that has failed. It’s a prelude to all the ‘I know what to write but I am just not feeling ready in my head ‘, ‘I should start writing tomorrow morning, because tomorrow morning is always the best time to write’, ‘I will start writing with a fresh mind after I buy a new pen, notebook, MacBook, table, chair and an island’ & the classic ‘I need to experience life before I start writing about it, so let’s get high first’.
This is probably the point where after so much blah-blah I finally tell you based on extensive research & life experiences, both mine & collected; that why do writers write? I have an old escapist habit- when you can’t answer a question, prove that the question itself is pointless! So what I believe is this- all writers are not governed by a thumb rule, some write because they love writing, some write because they love being read & some like me write because they love getting paid for it & most of them for reasons beyond my comprehension.
But the reason I am writing here is different- it’s to stay sane, it’s to clear my head of these thoughts which are constantly in my head but have no constructive effect. It’s to become a happier person or at least trying to find out what can make me happier. In the least, it’s a way to accept that I am not happy, although I am also not unhappy. It’s a way of accepting the possibility that what I am going through is not a phase but probably something which might require therapy & this might be a good start. It’s a way of accepting & reiterating the fact that this state of mine needs to change & that does not need a miracle, but just action.
But the best part is that all the heavy-duty analysis of my new-found belief tells me that even if writing about my current state won’t change anything, the fact that I’ve started believing in my power to change it, is a great start in itself!