Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Deep writing thoughts . . .

The Phoenix Microburst conference was great! Really, every time I teach at a writing conference I come away feeling like I’ve learned so much. David Morrell was great speaker. I could listen to him all day. In fact, I could follow him around from conference to conference like a stalker. (See last blog.)

For those of you who aren’t familiar with David’s books, he writes a lot of best sellers. He wrote First Blood, which was turned into all the Rambo movies. This is as close as I’ve gotten to Sylvester Stallone since I posed for a picture on his bed. (Long story.)

Anyway, David knows a ton about writing and promoting.
The good news: I’m now more motivated to shove all those flyers which are sitting in my family room into envelopes.
The bad news: I just realized that even if I become really famous, I will still have to shove flyers into envelopes, because David still does. He showed us some of his, in fact.

The envelopes apparently never end, and all I can say is thank goodness for self adhesive! Ditto goes for the stamps. I would choke if I had to lick them all.

David also said some things about writers that made me think. First of all, like many authors I know, he had a lousy childhood. This really makes me wonder if all writers have something traumatic happen in their young years. (Besides Junior High, that is, which is traumatic for everyone.) It makes me wonder what I’d be doing now if my mother hadn’t died when I was six. Maybe I’d be an executive of some corporation, or a really organized room-mother who makes matching theme shirts for all the students in her kid’s class on water day. Or at least maybe I’d be dressed and showered in the morning instead of huddled over a computer trying to delve into the psyche of characters who don’t really exist.

But Ces’t la vie.

David said that he thinks every person has one driving quality about them; something that motivates their actions. As writers we often say this about our characters, but I’ve never heard anyone say it about authors. I have since been wondering, but can’t tell you, what my over-riding quality is. I asked my husband but he is no help in these matters. He is an electrical engineer and therefore doesn’t notice people’s qualities. He does, however, understand how to work the computer so I keep him around.

David asked us to ask ourselves why we write. The obvious answer is, “Because I have to.” Most of us know this and leave it at that. He asked us to take the question one step further, “Why do I have to write?”

He spent some time telling us about his life and why he has to write. I won’t try to give you a synopsis of his answer because I couldn’t do it justice and you might want to hear him speak some day. (If you have the chance, do.) But since then I’ve turned the question over in my mind. Why do I have to write? I think I know the answer to this one, but I’ll let others weigh in first. What do you have to say, writers? Why do you have to write?


Anonymous said...

Bruce Coville says writers write either to redeem an unhappy childhood or to celebrate a happy one. That definitely makes sense to me, though I suppose it could be a little of both, too.

I'm mostly in the redeeming category myself--though a little of the celebrating has been creeping in lately, too.

Michele Holmes said...

Wow, that whole thing about the unhappy childhood is a little creepy. In my case, it does fit though. That said, I have a lot of good memories too, and if I ever choose to include something of real life in my writing, it is one of those times.

I think I love to write because I read so much, and I read so much as a child. And the reason I read a lot . . . I was lonely, and it was a great escape.

Now the lonely thing isn't really an issue. And escape qualifies as hiding in the bathroom with my laptop so I can get a complete sentence written without one of my children interrupting.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Now, there's a thought-provoking question. Why do I have to write?

Because it lets out the little voices in my head and lets me imprision them on paper! If I didn't write, they'd still be in my head, telling me to do things . .

Janette Rallison said...

I especially love the question because no matter what the answer, we sound a bit crazy . . .

Anonymous said...

I write because it is something personal. I dont feel comfortable telling one person everything. So instead of telling some one i twist the experience and write on it. By the way I think youre right. All writers have had a bad childhood in some sort of way. My childhood and now teenhood is very twisted compared to other people. I currently write lyrics, poems and am writing a novel. It is very agoanizing. I am a HUGE fan of your novel, It's a mall world after all. I originally came on here to find a sequel but noticed there wasn't one. I would really like one though *wink* *wink*. No but thank you for writing and writers like you inspire me everyday to write more and more. Thank you and I hope to read the rest of your books in the future.