Why Be a Writer?

Enid Bagnold bio on Wikipedia

I find it helpful to look at the lives of other writers. I like to find authors that lead me to think: Well he/she did that; I can, too. I also look because I am a writer, and therefore nosy about people. Enid Bagnold, the author of the above quote, also authored the classic stories National Velvet and The Chalk Garden, among many other novels, plays, and short stories. She must have been quite the strong heart, as she was a nurse in the Great War. She was fired because she wrote articles for the newspaper critical of the hospital administration. Then she went to France and served as driver of some sort. Can you imagine what a woman? She wrote throughout her life.

Some time around ten years ago, I began to get tired of the writing life. I got burned out with constant deadlines and striving for success. And then I got distracted by grandchildren and husband’s retirement and desires for travel and fun all day long. I thought I would give up writing. I thought I could.

I discovered that I could not.  I continued to write here on the blog and on Facebook and letters to friends. I continued to compose great essays and stories in my head and wrote pages and pages daily in my journal. You see, a writer writes. It is not all about publishing. Writing is a way of making sense of this crazy world, and of our place in it.

Author Barbara Meyers recently wrote a thought-provoking essay on her blog that spoke loudly to me. She questioned why she kept writing, as she has not achieved the success she hoped at the endeavor. I so identified with her, and so urge her to keep writing. We need her writing, her honesty and openness to show the rest of us the way.

I’ve been wondering about where I’m going with my writing for the past few years. I likely would not have thought of publishing a book, if my husband had not died. Now I look at what to do with my life. Grandson is growing up, and I’m better at avoiding housework than doing it. As one of my writer friends has said, “We’re not the quilting club types.” I’m not any sort of club type. The only thing that holds my interest and has for all my life is reading and writing. I believe that shows what I’m cut out for, and like Barbara, I’ve prayed on this and repeatedly am led to writing. (Yes, God talks to me every day, thank goodness!)

I’ve worked to get back-listed books edited and republished, and actually I enjoy that process. I’m self-taught at Photoshop, and oh, how I enjoy my creations! But I am hopeless at any type of marketing. I make very little money. Actually, I go in the hole. I think I’m coming to terms with that. And not worrying about ‘success’ as the publishing world sees it is very freeing. I set myself to simply write what is put before my mind and heart to write. I commit my way to God, and I am led.

The writing leads me to interesting places within and without. I meet such fascinating, and kind, people. The most interesting place I’m finding with my writing is peace within myself. Writing really is the answer to everything.