If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all: read a lot and write a lot.Stephen king
I write for me, but I want you to read it too.little switch bitch
I’d love to help the world and all its problems, but I’m an entertainer, and that’s all!william shatner
I’ve been reading for as long as I can remember (I started at fifteen months, so my family tells me) and writing for about as long. Stephen King’s quote above doesn’t serve so much as a reminder, but a description of my life, and even if I don’t have the time to read so much (or to write so much) I’m always composing in my head.
If a blog post comes out of it, then that’s a success. If not… well, it’s an idea. And and idea’s something.
I may blog now, but back in my teenage years, I kept a diary. Frustrated by the hoops I had to jump through in academia, writing my journal every night was the way I got my writing out. Unlike my friends who did the same thing, though, I would freely pass my diary around, letting people read everything I wrote. (I even read bits out to them, if they asked.) I applied the same logic to my LiveJournal, when I started that a few years later, and latterly to ILB.
Like LSB’s quote above, my writing is for me, but I want you to read it too.
I don’t really get the idea of writing which isn’t there to be read. That is, after all, what writing is for by design. One of the first things we are taught at children is how to read, and what’s the point in learning a skill if you’re not going to use it?
I write to entertain. I always have, even when I’m not meant to. My teachers didn’t like my unorthodox approach to every written assignment (but at least I made them laugh!); in the sixth form, my political and historical essays weren’t neutral enough (but at least I made them think!); at university, my tutors appreciated the effort but were often confused by the overabundance of sardonic wit (but, again, I made them laugh!).
[It’s a good thing I did a creative writing dissertation, as well, as I don’t think I could have hacked my way through yet another essay deconstructing the precious art form of literature…]
My aim, in writing, is to entertain. Whether or not that actually happens is immaterial; I write every word in the assumption that someone, at some point, will read it. Thirteen years ago, I started writing ILB with no idea that people would read – but I hoped they would – and they did. So I kept writing, kept the content going, and kept enjoying myself. I want people to read my words and have a good time doing so.
And that’s why I write.
Or to put it another way…
A year and a half ago I had a job interview for something I really wanted. I rehearsed, for want of a better word, the practical task and even some of the interview answers (although, in the end, I freewheeled my way through the interview… son of an actor, I can do that…), but forgot completely that there would be a written aspect of the interview process.
I was given a blank piece of ruled A4, a black biro and a printed question.
“Don’t worry about giving too many details,” the interviewer advised me. “This is just to see if your grasp of written English is sound.”
“Righty-ho,” I replied (yes, I genuinely said “righty-ho”). “But can I put details in if I want?”
“Do whatever you want,” she said cheerfully, “it’s your writing.”
The Hallelujah chorus rang out.
A page and a half of dry humour, parenthetical remarks and deliberate oxymorons later, and she came to collect it.
“This is… quite a lot longer than I was expecting,” she said, “but I look forward to reading it.” I thanked her, took my leave, and on the way out, I heard the telltale rustle of a page being turned, followed by short, sharp bursts of laughter.
And that’s why I write.