Why I write

"Writing is not a job or activity. Nor do I sit at a desk waiting for inspiration to strike. Writing is like a different kind of existence. In my life, for some of the time, I am in an alternative world, which I enter through day-dreaming or imagination. That world seems as real to me as the more tangible one of relationships and work, cars and taxes. I don't know that they're much different to each other. "However, I write about these alternative worlds because it helps to preserve them. I'm their historian, their geographer, their sociologist, their storyteller. I write them into being. I have to say I don't care whether this is a good thing to do or not; this is just the way I am and the way I live my life."

These are the words of Australian author John Marsden, and today on the English Muse, I'm exploring the mental and emotional gymnastics that Marsden put me through when I read my way through his Tomorrow, When the War Began series these past weeks. My post is here if you're interested.

When I first read this quote, I thought "Oh yeah, me too." But that's not strictly true. Those alternative worlds? Escaping into them is why I read, not necessarily why I write. And that got me thinking: why do I write?

It surprised me that I had to think so hard to find my answer. After all, I've been writing since I was six or seven years old. Why did I write then? Why do I still write now?

Being a writer is like being an explorer. Charting new territories. Forging new frontiers. Rewriting the maps. Here be dragons! I undertake this adventure in the company of people I love, the characters who populate my stories. They are my co-explorers, often drawing me into places I'd never have thought to go. It is exciting, invigorating, and utterly addictive.

So tell me: why do you write?

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