Sunday, October 11, 2009

Why do you write?

I was skimming a few articles about parents of children with cancer (I know, very uplifting) and one of the articles discussed a writing technique used to help parents cope with their children's illness. The articles were for my health communication course, but as my afternoon progressed, two unrelated (to the course) thoughts came to mind. One, was that it might be interesting to write a story that featured a dying child as the protagonist, and two, why do people write...I mean other than to get published? In the spirit of research and my progression into PhDland I thought I might conduct an informal research project through my blog to investigate why people write.

If you write (I mean as a past time, not for class or work) I would appreciate it if you took a few minutes to answer the questions below. Your responses only need to be a few sentences per question. It doesn't matter whether you write prose or poetry. You can post your responses through the comments section of my blog, through Facebook, or through email: pegraelian(at)gmail(dot)com. I'll use the responses I receive to write a journal-like article discussing any themes I find. Since this isn't an official research study I will just use your real name unless you ask me to do otherwise. Please respond by November 1st.

Questionnaire: Why do you write?
If you do not have time to answer all of my questions, or do not know how to answer a question, please skip it and send me as many responses as you can.

1) When did you start writing as a past time?
2) What kind of stories/poetry do you like to write?
3) What do you like about writing?
4) What makes you "feel" like writing?
5) What kind of emotions do you experience when you write?
6) What is your writing space like?
7) Are there any particular types of characters or themes you like to write about? If so, please describe. If not, why not?
8) Is there anything else you'd like to add?

My Responses

1) I can recall enjoying to write as far back as grade 4. I used to write stories about a group of worms who formed a rock band (not The Arrogant Worms). I also recall writing a Christmas play for the kids at church one year when I was quite young. It was from the point of view of the stable animals.

2) I generally write speculative fiction or "light fantasy" (I don't do magic or creatures). There's usually a romantic aspect--I can't help myself.

3) Writing is my main creative outlet (for some reason I am completely uninterested in creating my own sewing or knitting patterns). I like creating worlds and characters, although often the worlds aren't much different from the current world we live on. I like to tell stories. When I tell stories in real life I try to be as factual as possible, without exaggeration, but when I write that changes. I like to entertain people and if I hear someone laugh at something I wrote I always want to know what triggered their response.

4) Fantasy movies and books often put me in the mood to write, especially if they're similar in someway to the story I'm working on. Music, primarily classical music that's very romantic, with huge swelling passages with heavy strings (think Jupiter from The Planets) often inspires me. I sometimes put on the soundtrack from the first Harry Potter because it helps me think, I too might one day achieve my goal of publication. Sometimes the weather can also do the trick, like a good crisp fall day.

5) I'm usually very excited when I write, especially when I'm working on a part I've got well planned out. I balled once when I wrote short story about a couple who experienced a still birth.

6) I write at home on a desktop at a corner desk, so I face the wall. I'd like to change that so I could look out a window. Music is almost always playing. Sometimes I write by hand in class when the teacher/subject is not very interesting.

7) My main protagonists are always female. I try to make them smart and capable of solving much of the story's problem on their own; however, I don't like invincible characters who can do everything themselves, so a healthy dose of uncertainty usually plagues them as well. I try to make sure my characters are smart (such as Nora, who is deaf, but wants to be a scientist) to promote a good image for potential readers who are likely to be young girls.

8) I do want to publish my manuscripts one day, but that goal is not the driving force behind my writing. If it was, I would probably never write as I have yet to experience success. I feel "down" and incomplete when I don't have time to write as much as I'd like. Writing is an important part of who I am.

Thanks in advance to all of you who take the time to respond!



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