Aside from that, this was a difficult question for me, and I've been mulling over possible answers for awhile. Here are a few of them:
- I write because I can't imagine NOT writing.
- I think it started with my love of books.
- Well, I tend to talk a lot, and this is an outlet for all the extra words that build up in my head. (I'm only half-joking.)
- I love words, and when I read something beautifully-written it makes my heart feel bigger. I want to be able to do that for others.
- I like having the chance to take time on an idea, refining it, polishing it, and then presenting it in a way that helps others see something I see.
- I write because I'm a glutton for punishment. (If you're a writer, you understand.)
- I write because my thoughts get all tangled up, and they don't straighten out until I start to put words around them.
- It makes me feel good.
- I have a compulsion to edit and polish everything, including text messages and Facebook status updates. (Maybe this one should go under the heading "Why I Edit," but it actually applies here, too, since the opportunity to craft instead of blurt is one of the things I love about writing.)
- I like discovering new things about myself and the world.
And then, beyond just the writing process itself, you get into stories. I love creating characters, putting them in uncomfortable situations, and watching them get out. I love the feeling when I've been carrying several story threads and panicking that they'll never come back together, and then suddenly they DO, and it just works.
I also like having tangible progress. No matter how many diapers I change, there will be more; no matter how many dishes I wash, they will always get dirty again. But when I look at that word count and it says 100,000--and I know I did that--it feels amazing.
There are a lot of reasons why I write, and sometimes one will seem more important than another. But in the end, it comes down to this:
I am a writer. I have always been a writer, even at the times in my life when I haven't written consistently. I write because it's part of who I am. And I'll keep working until someday my writing skill matches my writing dreams.
(And on that note, I'm going to go keep working on my pitch for the writing conference next weekend. Wish me luck!)