Why I Love Being A Writer by Gene Lempp

Writing, for me, and I know for many of you, is an unparalleled experience. It’s in our blood, haunts our thoughts both waking and dreaming, is a soul-deep drive. And it should be – it is passion that both inspires our work and empowers it.

Here are a few of the things I love about being a writer – I hope they will ignite your passions as well.

I love finding out new things about people. When a character comes out of the blue and says, “Hey Gene, let’s talk. You see, I’m really like this. I’d never wear a turtleneck. Stop making me eat peanut butter, it makes me gassy. Etc.” Getting to sit back and have quality time with my subconscious manifestations brings the writing to life. Sure, the character doesn’t Actually exist – but for writers they do and in deeper ways then the people we know in real life because characters can’t hide their truths from us if we take the time to seek them. How often are you able to see beyond the masks and facades of the people you know when they are trying to hide something? This intimacy is what makes character creation is a refreshing activity.

I love discovering new worlds. I have a fun writing exercise that I use when I want to create a world or scenic area. I call it the Blank Cube. Have you ever seen a cartoon where the characters fall out of the background into a completely white limbo? Imagine yourself in such a spot, only you have absolute power to populate the scenery however you choose. Where is the horizon? What color is the sky? The color and shade of the grass? Turn in a circle, what do you see? Shape the world with the power of your thoughts alone. No inner editor allowed here – just you and the unquestioned power of creation. This is one of the greatest joys of being a fiction writer. Yes, it’s an ego trip, but please save self-denial for that third sprinkled doughnut that is calling your name. Explore the Blank Cube and bring a new world to life.

I’m one of those people that loves knowing the “why” of everything. Call it a strange and guilty pleasure. When I’m working out a storyline, the first test centers on why an event would happen, why would the character(s) take a certain course or action, why would anyone care, why, why. This is a fun exercise and another way to gain intimacy with your characters. “Hey, Bill. Why do you stutter when you talk about your mother but the rest of the time your speech is politician smooth?” And don’t forget to ask the villains the same questions: “Why exactly are you trying to become the supreme overlord of the corner hot dog stand?” In life, finding out the reasons behind other peoples actions and those of the world around us is often difficult and hidden by layers of defense; I’m convinced it is a reflex from childhood, no one wants to get found out and have to pay up for their actions: “If they knew why I did this it would make me look stupid/incompetent/etc.”. In our fiction, the world is an open book (pun intended) that cannot hide when we take the time to search. Find out the why and watch your writing resonate with the power of discovery.

Last, but never least – I enjoy meeting and getting to know other writers. Spending too much time alone in one’s own mind does have drawbacks. Insulation saps inspiration – we need contact in order to learn, grow and recharge the batteries. Only another writer can truly understand the trials and joys of writing. Yes, your mom loves you but a nice brownie and a suggestion to go do something “useful” is not going to help figure out how best to get your protagonist from point A to point B. Take the brownie to go and find a writing friend to talk the issue out with – and that, my friends, is something “useful” and a joy I hope you all experience regularly.

What are some of the reasons you love being a writer? What is the “writerly” activity you most enjoy? Do you have writing buddies you can hang out, call and chat with?

~*~

Gene Lempp

21 comments

  1. Unfortunately, all my writer buddies exist only in the virtual world. But I love you guys! I’ve never really analyzed why I love being a writer, because it’s not really something I consciously chose to be. I’m stuck with it. Even when I thought I wanted to stop, I still wrote, on scraps of paper, post it notes, etc. I think the one thing I do love, is we writers can talk to the voices in our heads, and not be sent away for it! LOL 🙂

    1. Almost all of my writer friends are online as well, although it looks like my ROWbro Kerry will be moving to my area soon – so there is hope. I find that in the modern era physical location is less important since we have such a myriad of ways to stay in touch. Writing is definitely “in the blood”, there is no way to avoid it – some people sing, we write🙂

  2. Gene, you hit on some soul-satisfying reasons to love being a writer. When else can we build our own dream worlds ask all the questions we want to ask? Obviously, I would never in person ask Bill why he stutters with his mother, but it’s wonderful to explore his responses as a character.

    One more reason to love to write is because without it, I don’t feel like a whole person. It’s how I express myself.

    1. There were years (too many) where I didn’t write and I always felt like something was missing from my life. When I came back to writing it was a rediscovery of a part of me that was lost and I’d never step away from it again. Writing is what is essential to my mental well-being, published or not, matters not. Thanks for the comment, Suzanne🙂

  3. I think you nailed it with this post. The reasons you listed are some of my reasons, too. And I love being part of the writer community.

    I only have one writing buddy nearby, but I love it when I can get together with Kait Nolan and Susan Bischoff for our little writing conferences. There’s always much fun to be had. I would love to meet more authors, but that might have to wait until I’m making more money so I can travel more. LOL

    1. Your meetings with Kait and Susan are legendary and I’m so glad you all get the chance to reinvigorate each other. Conferences seem to be the best method for most of us but I doubt the time is as dedicated as those intimate conversations wrapped in the bliss of words. Enjoy those special times.

    1. Thinking of oneself as a character “could be” difficult for sure, then again, if today’s Jenny looks at yesterday’s Jenny – well, then you have two Jenny’s. *grins*

  4. Writing gives me the license to day dream all I want and not feel guilty about it. The ‘writerly’ activity I enjoy the most is writing. Turning off my internal editor and just letting it flow. I love the Aha moments that occur when you least expect it. One of my characters would go in a completely different direction than intended and open up a plethora of ideas.

    1. Right with you, Robin. Love to daydream, love epiphanies – especially when they are guided by that soft internal instinct most call a muse. Always nice to have ones own mind surprise them🙂

  5. I love getting lost in another world that I have created, but which expands into something that feels greater than me, puny writer. I love having a finite number of words — yes, I know it’s large, but finite — to express my stories and having to wrestle with which ones are the right words. I love seeing the plot unfold, which sometimes follows my plan but diverges a little as the characters take shape. I could go on and on.

    I enjoyed your take on this, Gene. I also adore having fellow writers now who understand the challenge and excitement of writing.

    1. Getting lost in another world, traveling roads I could never walk, yes, that is one the greatest joys of writing. And you are right on target that it is the writing that is most important because without that how could we reach those thrilling destinations? Thanks, Julie🙂

  6. I really enjoy your character’s inner dialogue. I’m glad they give you dietary instruction. I’ll have to ask that next time I sit down with mine. LOL

    Hope you never stop writing, Gene! You’re awesome at it. Love your “bones” series and you are the GO TO guy for connecting with other amazing blogger/writers! Will you be attending the DFW conference this year?

  7. Being able to spend extra time with my imaginary friends has always had a certain appeal, and writing certainly makes it easier to do than babbling to myself on a street bench… 😉

    Joking aside, I’m completely with you, Gene, on the whole “why?” question is always hovering around, being asked, even if not verbally. Though, as some people have been cursed to find out, it doesn’t mean I WON’T ask… I am notoriously nosy (hey, ‘inquiring minds’ and all that). I need want to know.

    Great post, Gene. Thanks for sharing. I love reading other writers’ processes too.

    1. Right with you – the need to know is a driving desire, it is one of the main reasons many of us write. Yes we could right anything, but exploration is always the most fun, at least to my way of thinking. Thanks, Eden🙂

      1. Here’s a small thought…. Perhaps the propagation of books has taken the hold it has in part because so much explorations “feels” done these days (It isn’t, of course… If anything, I think we’ve found more to question than we ever had in nearly any other point in history. Or at least we’re more aware of the questions….)

        And really, I should be thanking you for so eloquently voicing things that I feel in my heart.

  8. I love getting to know my characters too – and I must say one of the biggest thrills of my life was the first time I was in a room full of people who didn’t think I was crazy when I said my characters talk back to me!

  9. Two Jennys? Can we handle that Gene?
    Sorry it took me awhile to come by to see you but I’ve been sick. Let’s not go there. What do I love about writing? The feeling of watching the story unfold as you print it on the page. I love that. And how did it get there? Crazy! As for writing buddies. Other than our wana group and Donna, that’s about it. And Donna is on a dead line so she been missing in action lately. And she still has not read my WIP! The first time I sent it she lost it. LOL! So where I’m at with things, I don’t know. I think I’m a WIP Gene!🙂

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