I write because sometimes I look back at what I've made, and I like it. It's even better if someone else likes it too.
The more creative writing I do, the more I try and get out of my "other" writing. As an engineer, a lot of my day involves writing emails, reports, specifications, job instructions, etc. Trust me, an email can be written badly, and a badly written job instruction can be dangerous. It's just a different "thing" I'm trying to communicate with the written word; and, it's also great to get feedback when your general manager says, "That was a fantastic report."
I know what you mean Bernard. I was a court lawyer and prosecutor in my early career, then I got sick and tired of it, so I moved into drafting laws and other instruments for the State Government. This means that I write for 10 hours per day solid - agonizing over phrasing, punctuation and generally trying to describe in the simplest possible terms the operation of the complex machine we call society.
The writing I do during the day is not without its creative aspect, however you tend to use the "left brain" more than the "right". Accordingly it is quite like editing a story after you've already got the guts of it there. The initial "spark" of creative release is missing.
That I should have any energy left for writing after work is, I suppose, quite surprising (particularly since I write at least 200 000 words "after hours" per year) but then again I am a strange, manic sort of fellow who sleeps little and feels madly compelled to exercise the "right brain" aspect of writing!
The world needs more strange, manic sorts of fellows (and ladies). The sort that write, of course, rather than blow people up.
I agree and empathise with what you said, though the writing component of my job is a lot less. While the left and right brain distinction you made is true, I think it's important not to underestimate our ability to use both, at both stages of writing, in both types of writing.
I have the ability to exercise creativity writing work documents. For example, I can play with the use of bullet points or tables, or create examples. Okay, in your case with drafting laws, I might be stretching it...
But editing your own creative writing: that's a different story. I find both sides of my brain working at the same time. There's the logical rules (left) side with it's spelling, grammar and punctuation; not to mention that part of my brain to scribble through two lines of fluff. But even then, the right side is working, throwing in a killer sentence here or there, or even another surprise ending. Some of my surprise endings have just popped out during a second or third draft, and have even surprised me.
I'm glad that you do find the time for your creative writing; I think it's very important. I'm deeply suspicious of a person who doesn't have a creative outlet. Imagine the hardship of life in the pre-civilised eras. Yet they still found the time to do their rock paintings.
I write because I love to read. I've read fabulous books that have left me wanting more. I've read stuff that was crap - but I still felt compelled to read it to the end, just so I'd know what happened. I've read books and thought to myself, "I would have done that differently," or "I could have written a scene better than that." I write because I have all these words inside of me that are dying to be heard (read).
I don't agree with the 2nd statement. Many of us have writers inside that have been dormant for a long time and it takes a little while to get them up and running. I think it is quality more so than quantity, and if today's words won't come, won't flow - then don't write just for the sake of writing. Go fly a kite, go walk your dog. But don't write just because you think it's something you are supposed to do. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm the type of person that can see that the dishes need washed, and I might do them when I get around to it, but, by God, don't tell me to do those dishes or they'll sit there until the cows come home... :)
I write and it seems to be helping...like Michael, I think the creative process is ongoing. Sometimes the inspiration is immediate, and sometimes it is an old memory surfacing. I love the 6 sentence format!
Lately daily writing is my goal. Now that work is slowing to a crawl, I have time to ravel and unravel an idea until it seems to gel. At the same time, I wonder if posting daily is good, or if I "shoulda" hung on it and polished it some more. Once it's out it's out...no more revisions.
I write because I have to, but do not consider myself to be a 'writer'. I think that is a label, or title, that should be reserved for folks that write 'professionally' - for a living. Not for 'hobbyists'.
As for the second statement, I read a beautiful blog (somewhere now lost on the internet) from a professional screenwriter and her opinion was: there are many people that are writers that HAVE NEVER WRITTEN.
I write for all the wrong reasons. It all began when I scribbled a half-ass original story as a 5th grade homework assignment, and the snowball effect that ensued. The school administration went nuts; at first, they thought I copied it from a book. So I produced a witness (my mother) who proved them wrong. Then my English teacher went even nuttier, thinking she'd just discovered the next John Steinbeck. I knew it was all a crock of bullshit.
Ever since then, pressure was put upon me to write. And to top it off, I wound up marrying a woman with a masters degree in English Literature. A great gal, but she's nuts too.
I write because to not write is to settle. Settling leads to striation. Striation leads to compression. Compression becomes unmovable. Unmovable, unchangeable, fixed. No way to live. Shake it up. Get things moving. bring it to the surface. Unsettle. Decompress. Move and be moved.
With regard to the second statement, I was told the same thing by my writing professor in college. He has 4 published novels. I have none. He writes everyday and I do not. However, I still think this is a scholastic view of writing. There are authors that write one book, get it out of their system, and never write again. Are they still writers? I write close to everyday, but I am not about to turn every creative expression into an exercise, assignment, or formula. Call me new fashioned.
I started writing as a child to cope with constant uncertainty and change (euphemisms for HELL). It was grounding in all the chaos, and it helped me sort things out. I never considered that the journals and poetry were anything but my own private therapy until they grew to ridiculous numbers and then I had to ask myself, What does this mean? Then I started publishing, an exhilarating/scary/hidden door process.
I still write to stay grounded and to purge confusion or ugliness in my mind, but my reasons are more than that. It's reflexive now, like breathing. I literally feel ill if I'm not weaving thought into words. I need it. If someone told me I could never write again and put me in a hole with no writing utensils, computer, etc., I would be like the character in Quills - Marquis de Sade - writing with his poop. It's that bad...