I have been writing stories for nearly four decades. I don’t know where they come from. I don’t think they’re mine. I call their origin my muse because I don’t have any other answer. They are gifted to me in order that I might share them. I do my best to tell them, though I’m not sure I’ve ever done them justice.
Richard Bach wrote “If you will practice being fictional for awhile, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats.” My characters are real. I grieve with them, laugh with them. Sometimes I don’t like them very much. Still, I treat them with respect. These are their stories, and they have asked me to tell them. So I listen to them and try to put their stories into words.
I cannot speak for other writers, I do not know how they work their craft, produce their art. I do not know if how I experience writing is common or unique. Am I crazy, or does it just sound that way? When I talk to people about my characters, about how I write, I think they think I’m crazy. But maybe it’s them and not me.
For a long time, I did not feel right calling myself a writer. I was someone who wrote, but I didn’t think that was enough to make me writer. More recently, I realized I have to write. It’s something that I’ve always needed to do. Even if I never publish a single thing (except on my blog), even if I never make a cent, I’m a writer because I can’t not write.
Words feel inadequate sometimes, but they are all I have. And I will continue to use them as long as I can still hold a pen. I write for me. If others like any of it, if anything I write means something to someone else, that is both amazing and humbling. But it’s not why I write. I write because I have to.