Why do we do it, anyway?

There are a lot of excuses reasons not to write. Get almost any group of teachers together and you'll hear over and over again "I should write a book about that" but do they? No. Why? Let's count the ways, shall we? We shall:

1. I'm too busy actually teaching to write a book. Maybe over vacation. Or after I retire.
2. My husband/wife/kids/friends/sister/brother/parents think its a dumb idea.
3. This house isn't going to clean itself nor will its inhabitants feed themselves.
4. The kids/pets/spouse/etc. need my attention and writing a book would be selfish.
5. I just CAN'T MISS the next episode of *insert name of TV show here*, I'm invested in the series!
6. There are already too many books on the shelves to read them all, why do we need more?

You get the idea.

So, why do we do it? What makes us take time away from sleeping, cooking, exercising, our kids, our spouses, and the dust bunnies under our beds? If you're here, you're probably a writer and you know what a long road this is. If anyone here thinks that you can just slap some words on a piece of paper and wake up the next morning with a 6-figure deal, you should probably scroll through our archives a bit.

Also, read this post from my virutal-friend Jenny Milchman to see how long and heartbreaking - and then uplifting - it can be. Go ahead. We'll wait. (don't forget to come back, though!)

Just for fun, I emailed christy this week that I write so that I can have a book that goes to auction, get that elusive 7-figure deal, and then play Oprah for awhile. You know, stand around and point to people and say "You get a car! You get a car! Everybody gets a car!"

That's what this writing thing is about, right?? *cough*

Okay, fine, I DO want to do the Oprah thing. But there are a few other reasons I write, too. And they just about mirror the reasons above, which I didn't realize until now. Here they are:

1. I was planning on being Raptured on Saturday, but since that didn't happen, I have some extra time on my hands.

that was just a test to see if you were paying attention

1. As a teacher, I see inspiration every day at work. What better to do with that than turn it into a book? And then over vacation or after retirement, I can write MORE books!!
2. Everyone thinks having a published book is cool. They might think it's a weird idea if I do it for a few months and then let it go, but if I really stick with it, my family will understand why. If not, once I'm published, I can stick out my tongue and say nananabooboo.
3. It doesn't take long to spot clean and anyway, a messy house is a happy house. Also, if kids weren't meant to feed themselves, then I have no idea why they keep making Pop-tarts and Capri Sun.
4. I deserve to do something for myself. Writing a book keeps me in the house and gives me purpose. The relationships I have with my kids/pets/spouse/etc. will be better if I'm happy. Writing makes me happy. It's a glorious circle.
5. My life will be better if I give up TV. (Except baseball, and luckily, it's easy to write while baseball's on)
6. Okay, this one's sort-of true. But if the publishing world had stopped with Dickens, no one would go to the library. Just sayin'.

Give it up in the comments, friends. Why do you write? And what will you do when your "Oprah moment" arrives? (please, no nananaboobooing. That's just immature. :P)

a preview of erica's book launch


  1. I'l enjoy it! and appreciate all the hard work I've put in and want to give back. I write b/c I love to be creative and I love reading, so the 2 eventually found a way to mix.

  2. You totally summed it up. I'm not a teacher, but I write for all the same reasons. I basically was nodding my head as I read each point. It makes me happy and satisfies a part of me. Of course, a six figure book deal would be awesome and I would love to land the agent, and book deal in 6 months, but at the end of the day, the imagination satisfaction is what keeps me going.

  3. Oh yea. Totally a bunch of truth there! I write cause I can't imagine not writing anymore. Like, to think about giving it up my whole fantasies about the future just go black. Not that I have to be published or anything (but that would be crazy awesome and all...just saying...) but to not write, well what the hell else is there to do!? ;)

    My Oprah moment, I want to give my mom a house of her very own and open a nonprofit cat sanctuary!

  4. Ha! Erica, I loved this. I expected to be Raptured Saturday, too, but here we are at the old grind! No choice but to pursue our dreams. Why do I write? Because, as you say in your #4, it makes me happy. It really does, and there's no substitute for that (not even my favorite-ever episode of Bones/House/Castle/or The Odyssey w/Armand Assanti)

  5. I write because I can, because I like it, because I'm good at it, and because my kids get a kick out of it. The rest is icing.

  6. I love this!! Such humor and sincerity ~ you've got some awesome reasons to write. :)

    I, too, do it because I love to write, I daydream constantly, my imagination runs wild, I need an outlet and writing has ALWAYS been it.

    My Oprah moment - ahhhh. My family, sisters/dad/friends and all, would have a lot of happy surprises come their way! :) Group European Tour, anyone?

  7. Funny I was thinking about writing a post similar to this.
    I write because I want to see a book with my name on it on the shelves, no matter how long it takes. I write because I want to experience it all, not just the story writing phase. I want:
    - the awesome Critique Partner phase
    - the agent query phase
    - the rejections phase
    - the representation offer/celebration phase
    - doing edits with the agent phase
    - going on submission phase
    - the book deal phase
    - the book launch party phase.

    My Oprah moment? I can't see that far yet... but I will know what to do when the moment comes.

    Thank you for posting this. :)

  8. I write because my characters can't and their stories deserve to be told. That and I'd go crazy from the voices if I didn't. ;)

  9. I write because I have to. It's become part of me. I feel empty when I don't. And I have no Oprah aspirations, I just want a few teenagers to read my book and like it. Sad, huh?

  10. Love it! I'm a teacher too and this time of year is especially exhausting. Provincial testing and all the year end goodies coming up over the next month. But I still squeeze in time to write every day. Because I love it. As you say, it's something I can do just for me :)

  11. Yay, I knew we were all friends for some reason! ;) And for any and all group European vacations, feel free to email me and I'll clear my calendar!

  12. I write because I can't not write :) I don't have an Oprah moment, but I'd sure love to write a book that people REALLY liked!

  13. I so always wanted to be on the Oprah show. Well, she'll just have to come out of retirement when I get published :)

  14. Aw, Erica, I love your reasons. Those are all the reason why I write. I love it, and now that I am doing it, I can't imagine ever NOT doing it. Although I do have friends that ask every few weeks: Are you published yet?? Um, you just asked me 2 weeks ago. So....are you published yet? Um, no. But it IS hard, and there are times I want to give up because my house looks like a tornado passed through it, the laundry is piled up, and it's the third night of spaghetti because we have nothing else to eat because I haven't been grocery shopping because I hate it and I'd rather be writing. Anywho, I knew I wouldn't be raptured, so I figured I"d have more time to write in someone else's huge house ;p

  15. Who said, if you can NOT write, then don't.

    I can't not write. That's why, I guess.

    Sorry about the rapture. Wait, no...

  16. HAHAHAHAHAHA! That Oprah remix was SO perfect for this! BTW, it's you and me, the new Oprahs. Sipping coffee from our mugs, interviewing AMAZING authors and the actors starring in their books (I mean movies made from their books....) For a start, I'd like to have HUGE book giveaways this summer. If I EVER finish (start) my grading I'll be ready to celebrate! My husband did disappear for an hour on Saturday. Turned out he was at the neighbors (which never happened before) so I was in shock. I totally thought I'd be raptured WAY before him! I don't hear voices (yet) and I don't know if I could give up writing or not. Not ready to try giving it up. Although some weeks it seems I have.... I love it. I just wish I could fit it in more. I get the whole write in the middle of the night thing...wanting to write means stealing time whenever, but my brain doesn't WORK at 4 AM! Or 10 really. Does this comment count as my Thursday blog post? Should this have been an email instead???? C

  17. Great post--some of those reasons sound familiar when I used to teach at school. Why do I write? Well, because if I don't release all those stories inside me, I'll burst! Just back from a crime fiction convention and been truly inspired. My aim is to be one of the authors on the discussion panels in a couple of years' time! Would love to do a book giveaway one day that involves giving away my own book!

  18. I experience #3 and #4 every day of my life! #3 in the morning while kids are at school and hubby at work and #4 in the afternoon. Conclusion? I'm always feeling guilty (I guess we think writing is selfish because we enjoy it and our responsibilities are not supposed to be fun!)

    Thanks for the responses. I will use them tomorrow, ha ha!


  19. now you've got me wondering who'll be the next Oprah... :D Ellen? Anyway, I like your reasons why we write. Esp. #1. I have some extra time now, too... LOL! j/k

    Great post, thanks, girl~ <3

  20. Great post! As for why......well, I guess because I like my life to be so crazy that I can't think or sleep or anything...hahaha (yes, that IS maniacal laughter, as a matter of fact.)


  21. Sorry I haven't visited for a while. New baby has killed my blogging time overnight!

    I don't honestly ever expect that Oprah moment (though being interviewed by her would be a future career highlight!). But I'd love that feeling of really being able to reach out to readers and touch them. Engage their minds, pull them into the imaginary world I've created...LOTS of readers would be nice. Especially if they like my work. :-)

    That's why I write.

  22. I write because I love it! But if the Oprah thing were to happen for me...I certainly wouldn't complain, haha. What a great post!

  23. Can I get on the list for when you start handing out cars? I don't even need a car; a nice speedy bike will do. ;)


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