The other day, a friend of mine mentioned to a mutual acquaintance that she was beta-reading my first draft. The acquaintance responded with a question that I am certainly not the first person to be at the other end of: “Why would anyone want to write a novel?”
She didn’t literally mean “anyone,” of course. She meant anyone like her, or like my friend, or like me. Anyone who has a job as anything other than a professional novelist.
There are many, many ways to answer this question. Because I love to write. Because there’s a story inside of me that wants to get out. Because disappearing into the fantasy world of writing is often even more fulfilling than reading a novel, an activity which I also love. Because when it’s difficult — when the characters won’t cooperate, when the words won’t flow — is when it helps me grow even more as a person and as a writer.
The good people over at NaNoWriMo probably said it best:
“The other reason we do NaNoWriMo is because the glow from making big, messy art, and watching others make big, messy art, lasts for a long, long time. The act of sustained creation does bizarre, wonderful things to you. It changes the way you read. And changes, a little bit, your sense of self.”
Might not be the same for everyone, but that’s why I want to write a novel.
I write to write. I write because I love it. I write for me.