Reasons I Write #MFRWAuthor

What compels me to sit down and put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard? I’ll admit there have been days recently when I’ve asked myself this question and couldn’t come up with a reasonable explanation. Maybe at this point, I’ve done it so long  that I lost sight of what I really should be doing with my life.

Over the past year or so, I’ve struggled. Every time I would sit down to start a new project I’d lose momentum and never finish it. I tell myself when I begin a new project that this will be the “one” but of course, it ends up collecting dust like all the rest. I’ve beaten myself over it, berated myself, decided I can’t possibly be a real writer and should find a new past time. Then I wake up with an idea for a great story and I start the process all over again.

“Why do I do this to myself?” I ask. I don’t have answers.

Do I do it for profit? Not likely. I’d have given up and moved on to something lucrative by now. Even if I managed to finish my books and publish them, I don’t foresee them making me tons of money. I’m okay with that. Money isn’t a motivating factor.

I’m definitely not seeking fame or glory. The handful of times I’ve encountered someone who has claimed to have read my book, I cringe in horror. Recently, my son mentioned that his 6th grade English teacher read it. At first I scratched my head and wondered how she even knew it existed. I certainly don’t go around telling people I know I’m a writer. “Did she like it?” I asked him, suddenly fearful about running into her again at the next school meeting. He didn’t have an answer so I like to think he was mistaken about the fact she’d even read it. My point being, I’m obviously not seeking attention for my writing.

Still, despite my fears of failure or inadequacy, despite my struggle to finish what I start, despite knowing I’ll never get rich from it – I keep writing anyway.  I suppose we can call writing a passion, or maybe an obsession? There is a sense of joy and satisfaction I get from creating something new. I take pride in what I do accomplish. And heck, anyone who has published a book knows the magical feeling of holding that book in your hands for the first time and thinking, “Wow, I did this. My hard work and determination brought this thing into existence.” I’ll continue to persevere for no other reason than to feel that again.

I suppose when it comes down to it, the only reason I write is because quite simply, I am a writer.

How Much of Me Is in My Writing #MFRWAuthor

Do we write in order to fulfill fantasies and experience what we will never face in reality? Do we write to make sense of past problems or heal old wounds? Or do we simply enjoy the idea of playing God and watching the characters we create become a better version of themselves?

Me?… Well, I have had a pretty amazing life up to this point so there aren’t many scars to mend and the few crazy encounters I’ve had, I prefer to forget. So, that’s not why I write.

Fantasy fulfillment? A chance to play God? Well… maybe.

Why ask these questions in a blog post about how much of ME I put into my writing? Because how much of me exists within my characters and story worlds kind of depends on why I put them there, to begin with, doesn’t it? And for me, I believe it comes down to the pure joy of putting something to paper that previously only existed in imagination. It’s reminiscent of playtime as a kid. (But let’s not forget kids play to learn and make sense of their world…)

There is always a piece of me in everything I write but just like my kids are not ME simply because I am their mother, my characters and stories are not autobiographical either.  Other factors in my life help to influence, shape and create what ends up on the page, sprinkled with a lifelong interest in psychology and astrology. (Odd mix, I know.)

Inevitably, I know myself best so I will take quirks, hobbies, experiences from my own life and sprinkle them into my story. For example, headaches are a big thing for me. I started getting migraines when I was in elementary school with intense pain and vomiting. That sort of experience is not only uncomfortable but interferes significantly with daily life. My main character in the novel, The Between World, suffers from this same infliction but in her case, it is an unfortunate side effect of psychic abilities. (If only I could say the same…) It was an experience I felt I could write even if the reasons for it differed.

I like to think of my characters as friends I’ve never met. When I sit down to write I ask myself who is this person living in the story world I’ve established and why would she do what I’m asking her to do? Will her personality resemble mine? Probably. Would I do the same in her situation? Not necessarily.

If the character doesn’t interest me or I don’t care about the world in which she lives, I have no reason to follow her. I’m human and let’s face it, as humans, we tend to be drawn to others who share something in common with us. Shared experience is often the foundation of new friendships.

So yes, I suppose you will find ME in varying degrees in every story I write. I hope that’s a good thing. 🙂

Thanks for checking out my post in this week’s challenge. Hop over to the MFRW52 Challenge page or click on the Linky Tools below for the complete list of participating authors.

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My Earliest Memory #MFRWAuthor

Welcome to the second week of the 52 Week Challenge – My Earliest Memory.

My earliest memories are like a series of old movie clips that occasionally play in my mind but without sound or a connection to other moments, they are a little disjointed and hard to say how much is a true memory and how much is my imagination filling in the gaps.

At the time, my parents lived in a trailer park in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. Being 3 or 4 years old, everything felt big to me even though logically now I know space was likely cramped. I remember my bedroom and my bunkbed. I slept on the top bunk and from there, I felt like the ground was miles away.

My dad worked second turn as a truck mechanic so my days I spent with my mom and our little terrier named Flea. But occasionally, my dad would take to the woods behind our trailer where we would sit on a huge hill drinking chocolate pop and watching the trains pass by in the valley below. I was fascinated with trains and of course, I loved special time with my dad. I remember one afternoon, however, I must have sat in an anthill and there were dozens crawling all over the place. I didn’t want to sit down.

Then, another flash of memory. Nighttime. I was standing at the screen door in awe because on the street outside our trailer a car had caught fire. I remember my parents being panicked, rushing. I remember being taken down the road to my aunt and uncle’s trailer for the time being. But to this day, I always wonder how that car caught fire and whether or not the driver was okay. In my memory, I see him in the car but I don’t know if this was the case.

I remember kids who lived in our trailer park. Next door, I think? They seemed so much older than me even though probably the oldest was around 10. I remember one time they kept telling me to calm down and stop crying because they knew if my parents saw me they would get in trouble but I don’t remember why I was crying. I just kept wondering if the older one was a girl or a boy.

I remember my parents bringing home my baby brother, wrapped up in so many layers. And then, not long after, they bought a house and I remember running around the empty living room the day it became ours. I remember being in the car as we pulled up to the trailer for the last time and thinking that it wouldn’t be my home anymore. I felt a little sad but I was eating a McDonalds Happy Meal with a milkshake so – not too sad. 🙂

Thanks for reading my post on the 52 Week Challenge Blog Hop. Click the link to read memories from other authors participating in this challenge.

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