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Why do I write?
The short answer is because I have to.  

Artists are called to create.  We are called to explore our worlds through our art.  We are called to document our worlds through our art.  We are called to change our worlds through our art.  To be an artist is absolutely a calling.  It's not for the faint of heart, nor is it for people who want the quick way or the easy way.  The act of creation is painful.  It takes time, your energy, and perseverance.  Being an artist means self-doubt, sore body parts, willingly subjecting yourself to criticism and rejection time and time again, and living, at least to some degree, outside of your culture. 

I can't explain why I was called to be a writer.  It's just a part of me.  When I don't write, I don't feel well.  I get moody when I don't write.  To quote the character of "Elaine" from "Ally McBeal", I get "snappish" when I don't write.  I wake up in the middle of the night with characters and stories.  Sometimes I wish that weren't the case, but it is.  So, I dutifully take down as many notes as I can, promise those characters that we'll have a deeper conversation some other time, and then try to fall back asleep.  Sometimes my notes provide the springboard for the next piece I'll be working on (or the piece after that), other times I read them over and think they're garbage.  But I never get rid of them.  Who knows when they might be a catalyst for something really interesting?  

What I have learned is that these notes, these dreams, and these random ideas are all part of my process.  I work in corporate America to pay the bills.  This means that I spend 8 to 12 hours, five days per week, of my time not writing.  That's my energy, my creativity, my brain activity, all going to something that is not writing.  To something that does not renew me, or speak at all to who I am or what I have to say.  That can be incredibly frustrating.  Sometimes that means I have to be very opportunistic about my writing.  I have to take advantage of thoughts and ideas when they happen, as much as I can.  I also have to be smart.  Just because I have a great idea at 4 in the morning does not mean that I should get out of bed and write 10,000 words of this story.  Sometimes it just means I need to write a few hundred words summarizing that idea so I can come back to it.  Later.  

But, at least for the time being, that's my reality.  Which means I have to make time to write.  I have to find and take opportunities to create, to write, to express myself.  I have to do this.  I have to write.  I have to create.  It all boils down to one simple truth:

I am a writer.  Writing is what I do.  


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