Here we are again, lovelies!
Kicking off Guestober post #3 is the lovely and amazing Emily of Emily Etc. She's spunky and fun, and I love checking out her blog for the latest randomness and bookish nonsense floating around. So without further ado, take it away, Emily!
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
A classic question for any four-year-old. “An astronaut.” “A train-driver.” “A ballerina.” At the age of sixteen, the vast majority will have changed their minds a dozen times, but for me the answer has always been the same. I want to be a writer.
Recently on the blog A Splash of Ink I read a post on the topic of writing manifestos; the question of “why do I write?” I was writing ‘novels’ – laboriously stapled three-page-long works illustrated with Crayola felt tips – as a toddler. I was writing long before I knew what “catharsis” was, or had a concept of adding my voice to the world. I was writing merely from the urge to create.
I have always loved art – drawing and crafting – and I am constantly creating: doodles, birthday cards, cakes, designs. More than this, words: lists, blog posts, silly rhymes. Short stories, poetry, novels. I write because there are whole worlds inside my head that need to get onto paper; because the people in real life are not enough for me, and I need to create new ones. Why do we create characters? I think it is to understand ourselves better.
This is the next reason. I write to straighten my thoughts, to understand what I truly think about things; this is especially true of blog posts, where in communicating my ideas to the world I often clarify them to myself. Sometimes this is self-indulgent – blog rants or angsty poetry. Sometimes it is painfully honest. Sometimes my broken characters reflect myself.
In this way, I can give myself catharsis – a purge – but I can also find strength in my characters. I can put them in difficult situations and, strange though it may sound, learn from them how they respond; through writing them, I can prove to myself what can be done. And on the flipside of this, I can live what in real life I cannot; they say “write what you know”, but whilst this is partially true, in writing you are able to depart from your own life. I think that this has strong links with our addiction to romance – the novels we read, the OTPs we have, feed our inner hopeless romantic, and sometimes we find ourselves writing this way too, creating the love stories absent in reality. But that is a topic in its own right, which I won’t go into here.
Finally, I write for the world. I write to prove myself as a teen author, and I write the story that I think the world is lacking. Toni Morrison said, “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it”, and this is undoubtedly true. I write fantasy because I love it, and I want to create a world for readers to love too; I write characters that (hopefully) don’t exist already. Obviously I am a bookworm, and there are platoons of characters that I know and love, but there are also those who are annoying, badly-developed and difficult to relate to, and I write to counterbalance them. Is there a heroine who you liked until she dropped everything for some guy? Write one who doesn’t. Is there a villain with two sides to their personality that just don’t add up? Write one better. This is the story that the world needs. I write to create a story that readers can root for. One day, I would like to be an author who readers love.
In the end, I am aware that the novel I’m writing is probably 98% rubbish, but that is far from the point. My work will get better; I will get older and more experienced, and hopefully one day, I’ll be ready for publication. Until then, I am writing for myself and writing for others; writing to create a story that I, and the world, needs.
Emily is a reader, writer, likes-to-draw-er, reviewer, amateur baker and very amateur poet. She blogs over at Emily Etc., about books, writing and a host of other things. She'd like to thank Seana for letting her trespass into this wonderful blog, and also Sunny; kudos to her for this post idea! She would like to know: why do you write? What are you trying to do with your story?