“I have written because it fulfilled me. I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever.” —Stephen King
When I was a starry-eyed teenager, I set a goal for myself: Publish a novel or bust. And do it before age seventy.
In hindsight, I realize I wasn’t going out on much of a limb back then. At fifteen, age seventy might as well have been 170. I was giving myself the equivalent of eternity to attain my heart’s desire.
But, oh, how time and space have a way of shifting your perspective. Now, here I am, age forty, unpublished, and staring down the barrel of it maybe never happening for me. And you know what? I don’t really care.
OK, so maybe I do care. Just a little. I’d still love to publish with one of those Big Five houses. That would be a thrill, no doubt. But what I realize now, what I couldn’t see then, was that more than anything my publishing goal was about validation. You accomplish this, I must have thought, and then you’ve really, finally made it as a writer.
Well, I’m here to tell you I no longer need validation to justify my journey. I’ve written. I’ve labored, perspired, and bled over the page. I’ve braved rejection, and I’m still chugging along. I’m already valid, legit, justified. I’m a writer in every sense of the word, and I’m going to keep on writing, come what may, age seventy and beyond.
I write because sometimes I make myself laugh.
I write because sometimes I make myself cry.
I write because writing is mostly hard work.
I write because those shooting star nirvana moments of inspiration are real.
I write because the characters hatched of my own imagination are dear to me like children.
I write because I want my real-life flesh and blood to know who I am.
I write because I hope to better understand myself.
I write because I’m going where I’ve never gone before.
I write because I can make something out of nothing.
I write because I’m a control freak who wants everything just so.
I write because I finish what I start.
I write because words are beautiful.
I write because words are powerful.
I write because every once in a while nouns and verbs and such come together in a sequence just plain greater than the sum of their parts.
I write because I need to pay homage to the stories that came before me.
I write because it’s the only way to find out what happens next.
I write because feeling close to the Creator of the universe can be as simple as hovering over a keyboard.
I write because I have something to say.