There are lots of reasons why people want to write fiction. Unfortunately, the problem with reasons is that they can be refuted logically by friends, colleagues, and especially family members. Those we look to the most for support and encouragement wind up talking us out of the passion we so long to share with the world.
“You want fame and fortune?” they snicker before pointing out, with unreserved condescension, that most writers do not earn much of either. You don’t see very many authors dodging the paparazzi. Chances are, even published authors have the freedom to run to the grocery store in their yoga pants and oversized sweatshirts. And most authors can’t afford to quit their day jobs. Need proof? Start reading book jackets. You’d be surprised at how many, “So-and-so works as a…” you’ll find. Sure, maybe J.K. Rowling can afford to dream up her next fictional universe while basking in the sun beside her pool, but most writers to scribble away in the few moments they steal away from our real lives without too much guilt or financial repercussion. Writing is a secret mistress.
“But you don’t understand,” we protest, “It’s something I must do. It’s within me; I can’t stop it.” The need for creative expression is too intense to ignore. Those more poignant confess, “I just want to touch the hearts of my readers, to affect them in a powerful way.” If this describes you, don’t be surprised if a colleague laughs in your face then later posts a cryptic message online, “Want to express yourself and entertain the masses? Get a Twitter account like the rest of us!” Composing a witty remark of 140 characters is certainly less daunting than a novel of 100K words.
But, really, if I’m honest, none of those motives fully encapsulate why I write. I’m so far gone. You see, I’ve lost touch with reality. I believe all my favorite characters exist somewhere out there in the real world, or at least, in history. I mean come on! It’s a great big universe out there. Who’s to say there isn’t a “madman with a box” running around out there, straightening his bow tie?
The fantasy world is so much bigger than the world I know. But somehow, I believe that if mankind can dream it, he can bring it into existence. If I can write a world, a character, a Harry Potter, on the page, then I can somehow bridge the gap between fantasy and reality and bring that character into the real world. Granted, I may never come in actual contact with my creation, but I need them to exist because I love them so very much. I need to believe that they are out there. And until I meet every person on the planet—and beyond—you’ll never convince me that their existence is impossible.