Why I Write

“We do not do this thing because it is permitted. We do it because we have to. We do it because we are compelled.” – Rorschach (Watchmen, Alan Moore)

Boy, Rorschach gets all the best lines, doesn’t he? In a broken, Manichaean kind of way, of course. I’d love for that bit above to be my manifesto for why I write. “I do it because I am compelled.” (*mic drop*)

Of course, that would be overstating it. I don’t write because I’m compelled to, as romantic as that notion might be. I write because it’s one of the healthier ways to work my brain regularly.

In other words, if I didn’t write, to be able to sleep I’d have to (a) drink even more than I already do, (b) find a much more physically exhausting line of work, and/or (c) do a lot of math. Which isn’t to say that I write just before bed. Unless I write to the point of exhaustion, that’ll just get me going longer. I write earlier in the day, and that works my brain enough that later I can sleep.

So I’m not quite compelled to write, and I’m certainly not compelled to write fiction. I’m sure I would be just fine if the stories stayed in my head – plenty will anyway, I’m sure – but I find that I enjoy the variety. While my day jobs have tended to involve plenty of nonfiction writing (as did undergrad and grad school), at a certain point it’s nice to try to give shape to (some of) the things my imagination cooks up.

Looking up the page, it seems like a post with this sort of title should be much longer. Still, this is the most important part I can articulate right now. That’s the price you pay for getting stuck with the leftover words at the end of the day.

Today’s fiction word count: 2666

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