Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday on YA Highway asks a reading or writing related question each week, and invites bloggers to give their own unique perspectives. This week's question:

What's your numero-uno reason for writing?

Writing gives me a voice.

A few nights ago, my family was sitting around a fire outside. My boys wanted to tell ghost stories, and my husband said, "You're the writer. Tell us a scary story."

Oh, and that should be simple for a writer, shouldn't it? After all, we make up stories every day. But I struggled to think of a story I'd heard from someone else, much less made up myself, and even then I was pretty sure I wouldn't tell it the right way. (It reminded me of the episode of Dexter where he told the kids a scary story, and that certainly didn't seem appropriate.) Some people are amazing verbal story tellers, and those same people tell jokes with great punchlines. I am not one of those people.

I'm the type of person who thinks back on conversations, especially heated ones, and regrets what I said. Not because I said something I didn't mean, but because I couldn't manage to say what I actually felt. I'll think about it for days or weeks, until I finally come up with exactly the right words. Of course by then, it's too late.

Writing is the antithesis of that. Because I am in control of the story, the conversation with the reader, and I get to spend hours or days or weeks getting a paragraph just right, to say exactly what I want it to say. And I don't even have to let anyone enter that conversation until I'm ready, and I invite them.

Now I'm going to sneak in a second reason. I am a daydreamer. I don't daydream about myself, though. I daydream about people who I'd like to know, and what would happen to them in crazy situations. (Let's call them characters.) But if I walked up to someone in Starbucks and said, "I had the craziest day dream the other day, about this girl, who..." I have a feeling they would hightail it for the parking lot. So instead, I tell their stories on paper. And I love them. All of them. Even the naughty ones. (I loved Kristin's post last weekend on loving all your characters.) If I didn't have something to say, I guess it wouldn't matter if I didn't have a voice. But I do have stories to tell, and I would like readers to meet my characters and love them as much as I do.

How about you? Why do you write?

Music for this week: Refer to yesterday's post :)


  1. "I get to spend hours or days or weeks getting a paragraph just right, to say exactly what I want it to say." Yes, I'm a much better story writer than storyteller too...for just this reason.

  2. Daydreaming is a HUGE reason why I write. I do daydream about myself, but now that I'm a writer, I spend a hefty amount of time daydreaming about what's going to happen to my characters.

    Great response!

  3. Thanks for reading! I was in 4th grade when I discovered that other people didn't spend most of the day in their imagination. The best part of the online writing community is meeting other like-minded people :)

  4. One of my self-doubt moments was hearing writers talk about how they were always telling stories to their kids, or parents, or friends. I might have been able to do that as a child (I did a lot of world-building and playing out storylines with my toys), but I don't know that I could just sit with my children and improvise a great story. Maybe I could. I don't know. Anyway, I too feel I'm much better with the written word. It *is* nice to know I'm not alone. Thanks!

  5. Ah, the 'wish I would've said' regrets. I have those too! Writing gives you the option to say what you want to say, to mull over it, and get it just right. Great post :)

  6. Great post Laurie. I agree about the voice and daydreaming. I think mine is a bit of both. I'm a rather shy individual at first until I get comfortable with a person/group but not when I'm writing. But I have to say I think my number one reason to write is that I love getting lost in the world of my story for a time. I like being inside someone elses head for a little while where all my real life problems don't matter. To get to lose yourself in your writing is amazing and if others can find joy in reading it too...even better.

  7. Oh wow! This was so beautifully put. And such great reasons for writing!

    And I'm a daydreamer too. People often wonder what is wrong with me. :)

  8. Thanks for all of your comments! It seems like a lot of us are daydreamers ;) A few people today said their heads might explode if they didn't write- I think that's another great way to put it.

  9. I'd never thought about the connection between control and writing until your post. How true! I can be a control freak about some things, and I love how I get to decide everything that happens on the page.
    I also remember that DEXTER episode with the scary story. Too funny :)

  10. Yes! I love being able to express myself (and my daydreams) through crafted writing instead of impromptu speaking - it's the same reason I feel more comfortable on email than on the phone, but even better because it's enjoyable and creative. And I'm always trying to get my students to see writing as an opportunity to control and extend their voice as well. Really great post!