Why This Writer Writes

I’m about to embark on a week of “staycation” from my real job where I plan to spend the bulk of my time working on my book project.  Before I drop out to do that, I wanted to post and give you some background and reasons why I write.  My reasons are not too far off what most writers cite as explanations…

I feel I have a story to tell.  Sounds pretty basic, right?  I have written poetry, short stories, essays, (what I think are) musicals, and now this historical Milwaukee Brewers book.  In each case I felt like I had something to tell.  In times where I didn’t really have anything to tell, I put the pen down and backed away slowly.

I want to learn more about what I’m writing about.  In the case of this Brewers book, I have heard many of the individual stories before and a few of the really memorable quotes.  The more I research, the more I learn – and much of it I never knew before.  I’ve also never heard the whole story told in order before, and that’s something I think I can rectify for readers that have experienced the same thing.  As the quote from Toni Morrison goes, “If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.”

I enjoy the process.  I take nothing for granted along the way.  A lot of writers hate editing their work, and I have to admit that when I was younger (like last year – just kidding), I wasn’t too fond of it either.  But over time I’ve come to relax and enjoy the journey.  Every second of it excites me, even though the hours are long and it can be mentally taxing at times.  I do have other books I’d like to write, but have learned to just scribble those ideas into a notebook and quickly get back to the project at hand.

To teach and entertain others.  I believe that if I’m learning things that I never knew about, then I have a responsibility to put these pieces together and educate others.  I also think the subject matter is entertaining, and not just for a baseball fan.

I’m writing something that hasn’t been written yet.  I mentioned this above, but I’m not sure anyone is ever going to write the book I’m creating.  For that reason, I feel I must write it.

I love books and want to give something back.  I was immediately fascinated by books as a young child.  I think I was really fortunate to grow up in an era that had more emphasis on books and less on video games and TV.  Not that I didn’t grow to enjoy those things in later years – I just found other worlds in books and learned how to use my imagination in ways that I couldn’t access elsewhere.  Now I have a great chance to give something back, and I hope to take the reader to a far-off place too.

Dopamine.  Nope, not dope – the brain chemical dopamine.  Studies have shown there is a link between creativity and the brain having high levels of dopamine.  The act of writing causes writers to get high on dopamine, and this makes them more likely to go after their goals.

I cannot not write.  For some reason I am compelled to write.  I have written stories since I was small, and with the exception of a several year break, I still feel the need to write.

These aren’t reasons why I write:

A lot of writers are typing away with the following in mind.  Personally, I don’t care about…

Accolades.  I’m not much into the ego stuff and anyone pouring praise all over me.  It’s nice I suppose, but not my motivating factor.  Leaving a legacy makes more sense to me.  If someone picks up what I’ve written in a hundred years and they find it enjoyable, great.

Money.   At this point I’m pretty used to actually working for a living.  My dreams of being a writer that got paid gobs of money to write giant novels went out the window with childhood.  It would be nice to sell a lot of books, but honestly if one person buys what I write and likes it, that’s payment enough for me.

Fame.  See the previous two reasons.  As my Dad often said when he didn’t care: “Whatever.”

I hope I’ve provided a little insight to what motivates me to write for you, the reader.  I promise to give you a behind-the-scenes look at my writing process in a future blog post.  Thanks for reading!

On the beach

One of my favorite places to write in a notebook – on the hill overlooking Portage’s Silver Lake beach. A fond place from years ago…

2 thoughts on “Why This Writer Writes

  1. Pingback: Chris Zantow’s Blog Year in Review | Chris Zantow

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