There is a perception that writers tend to be, for want of a better word, sad. Hard to credit, I know, but I think that I developed an imagination as a kid to escape reality - My home life was happy and stable, but I really, really fucking hated school. What did I do wrong in a previous life to deserve 11 years of that? 11 years! You get less than that if you fucking kill someone!
Orwell wrote that he “Created a private world in which I could get my own back for my failure in everyday life” So maybe us writers are moved to imagine different worlds (or inspired to write about what’s wrong with this one) because we’re unhappy or discontented or angry with the world we live in?
And maybe we’re motivated to want to become writers in order to prove something to the world? I have a clear memory of being on an activity holiday with the school in France, getting a hard time from some tossers, and thinking I’ll show them, I’ll be a writer for Dr Who! (Which is which is what I wanted to do back then - wouldn’t say no now.)
So that’s my earliest memory of wanting to be a writer. My teenage self wanted the fame and glory of being a screenwriter. The twat. One of the many, many reasons I’ll go back in time one day, and give the little gimp a good slapping!
Later on, in my teens and twenties, my imagination evolved to think about girls, and thinking’s all I tended to do. I know it‘s hard to believe, but I was a bit of a sad bastard back then. No, really…
Of course, I’m fine now, but what I write tends to be fantasy based, escapist. And it tends to be boy meets girl, with a bias towards unrequited love. For example, I once wrote a short story about people who work 9 to 5 fighting the apocalypse, and it ended with the hero standing in a darken underpass (I thought oh god my chance has come at last…) after not getting the girl. And covered in the blood and entrails of a Hell Beast, obviously.
I say escapist, but the above story, for example, does deal with scary real things like work and relationships and feelings, but via the fantastical. I also tend towards the comedic, which is perhaps another form of defence/escape?
But to (finally!) answer the bloody question, I write what I write because of who I am. And I am who I am because of where I’ve been. As Orwell said, “if (a writer) escapes from his influences altogether, he will have killed his impulse to write. ”
I was going to answer the question why I write - not why I first wanted to write, but why I write now? What do I get out of it? What do I want out of it? But a more pressing question is: Why do I blog?
I’m coming to the inescapable conclusion that it’s mainly to escape the harsh, brutal reality of rewriting!