Why Write?

I’ve just been reading this engaging blog by John Scalzi on why he writes, and how much he loves writing.


Unbelievable.  Most writers hate writing.  That’s why Raymond Chandler drank.  It’s why some writers (not me!) have clean houses, because they use cleaning as a writing-avoiding activity.  The sheer act of confronting that Blank Page has often been described as the most traumatic thing a person can experience next to, um, finding there are no more cookies in the jar.

For my part I love rewriting. And I love those days when the writing just flows, and the mind just has to keep out of the way of the back brain’s creative energy.

Those days don’t happen often. Though I had one recently. On a journey to York where I’m currently teaching a module on film, I had forty five minutes in Starbuck’s before 7am, followed by 2 hours on the train there and the same on the way back. And during that time I wrote an entire radio drama script.  (PS Don’t tell my producers this – they think I take my time about it!) It was an awesome outpouring from the back brain, though admittedly it came after some months of research.  And, to my relief, when I read it over the next day – it DID all make sense…

But usually, writing is frustrating. You stare at the page. And it’s blank. And you stare harder.

And it’s STILL blank.

Maybe the trick is to be ridiculously busy – as I am at the moment – so there’s literally no time for prevarication.

Rewriting is a joy though. That’s when the hard work is done; and the creative teasing out of the full potential of the story can start to take place.  I’m rewriting several projects at the moment; a whole bundle of joys.

But Scalzi! Man, that guy is MUCH too happy. He’s going to give writers a bad name at this rate.

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