The funny thing is I sat down to write this post thinking it would be easy. And then I got something of a surprise. Why do I write? I can’t imagine not writing. I can’t picture spending more than a few days without putting words on paper or on the screen, certainly not going for any amount of time without thinking about it.
I’ll try to explain why. You have to promise not to have me committed afterwards, okay?
When we talk about writing, and about why we write, is implies that there’s some sort of option available. I’ve never found that. Stories tend to find their way into my head. Bits of stories, little rags of images and ideas that gradually, artlessly, weave themselves into something complex and difficult and something which cannot really be ignored. We call them plot bunnies because they pop out of nowhere and multiply like... well, rabbits. I’ve had stories start from such varied things as picture, music, names and even a book on medieval queen consorts. Ideas truly are everywhere. It is keeping them under control that is the problem.
Because once those ideas are in your head, they can tick away for years without finding another one which fits with it. But when the right two (or more) ideas come together, heaven help me because they are not going to let up until I give in and start writing. I think about stories all the time. I’ve missed exits on motorways, burnt countless dinners, missed phone calls, and the cat has on occasion had to sit on my notebook in order to be fed. Let’s not bring up the number of cups of tea my poor husband has made for me only to find them some time later, stone cold and untouched.
When we think of writers, and speak of word count, we forget the amount of time spent thinking about the story, planning the world, working out the logic, making it all slot together. I do an awful lot of this subconsciously and often find myself unable to continue with the actual writing of a story until I have worked out the problem in my head. Usually this means I will switch to another story and work on that for a while, but in extreme cases I just go on a reading binge. Nothing jogs my stubborn mind quite so well as reading something marvellous written by someone else.
Stories are a vital part of life. Imagination fuels everything thing we do. I think, as writers we recognise and use that to our advantage. I can’t recall a time when I didn’t write and want to be a writer. I can’t imagine a time when I won’t write and I really don’t want to imagine anything that could make me stop. I write because I’m a writer. I’m a writer, because, well, that’s just what I am.
As R. F. Long she writes fantasy and paranormal romance stories including Tales of the Holtlands, a series of novellas comprising The Wolf's Sister (2008), The Wolf's Mate (2010) and The Wolf's Destiny (2011); and novels, The Scroll Thief (2009) and Soul Fire (2010).
Writing as Ruth Frances Long her forthcoming novel for young adults, The Treachery of Beautiful Things from Dial Books for Young Readers goes on sale August 16, 2012.
The trees swallowed her brother whole. And Jenny was there to see it. Years later, when she returns to the woods where Tom was taken to say goodbye at last, she finds herself lured into a world where stunning beauty masks the most treacherous of evils, and strange and dangerous creatures await - creatures who seem to consider her the threat.
Ruth lives in Wicklow and works in a specialized library of rare and unusual books. But they don’t talk to her that often. Or maybe she's learned not to listen. Maybe.
Connect with Ruth on twitter or her website. And find The Treachery of Beautiful Things on Goodreads and Amazon! And don't forget to enter the contest below with tons of awesome prizes!! (Something NEW has been added....)