Thursday 30 July 2009

Writing? Huh? Wha? Why?

She said, "But why? Why do you want to be a writer?"

Because I get to have a voice. Because I get to have something to say and I get to say it. I get to create the world I want through putting words on a page. And maybe, just maybe, some people might like those words, they might relate to those words. And maybe those words will change them a little. Maybe a story about dreaming will make a little girl dream a little bit more, maybe a script about war will make someone care a little bit more, maybe a film about imagination will make a bunch of people feel inspired at least just a little bit more.

I write because if I just take things in and experience them, they'll get polluted with my judgements and belief systems, whereas if I turn what I think and feel into some kind of words, then it takes on meaning. And if I work hard enough on myself I can rid myself of those judgements and tear through the belief systems and then what will come out on the page is pure truth. Truth like Jimmy Stewart's voice, truth like Tom Hanks' eyes, truth like Marylin Monroe's body, truth like Billy Wilder's dialogue.

I could not write. I could try that. I could keep clicking on people's Facebook profiles and I could argue with someone in the street and work in a job I hate, but I'd rather do this. I'd rather live by inspiration-- I'd rather something just hit me out of nowhere and feel it say "Hey! I am an idea! Take a look at me! See if we get along! Dance with me baby! Come on, throw me down on that page. Give me some letters, give me some words."

When people say "Why do you write?"

I'm gonna say "Why do you have that ugly look on your face? You'd be a lot more beautiful if you said "You write, that's amazing!"

I write because a tree is just a tree. But once you get an idea of a tree, you can turn the tree into anything. You can imagine a beautiful woman sitting on that tree, you can write about the beautiful sunset behind the tree, you can do whatever you want with that damn tree. You see that tree outside your window right now? It's been sitting there for years and apart from when you jumped off it as a kid it hasn't had much reason to be there. But if you have that picture in your head when you write a script, that tree could take on a life of it's own. It could be the kind of tree that Forrest and Jenny would sit on, or a tree that the boys from Stand By Me would like . Before you know it the tree outside your window that inspired you is part of something sitting on some desk in Hollywood that's making some balding Executive think, "this is a movie!".

What people forget when they pull an ugly and say "A writer? What? Why?" is that anything any of us have ever been excited by or inspired by has usually come from a writer. A book you loved, a song you sung, a movie that scared you, a love letter that made you cry, a poem that changed you. This is all at the hands of some writer.

I don't care if you're a successful screenwriter, a hilarious twitter-updater, a novellist or a speech writer. Whatever you are, be proud that you do what you do. Take those letters, take those words; do something with them. Write a movie, write a love letter, write a text message, write yourself a note.

It's the write thing to do.

Care to share?


  1. Wow. I totally love that. I will reference this when people ask me the same question. It's everything I've ever wanted to say but didn't know quite how to say it. Nice litle double entendre there at the end, too. I too often say "I'll write more one day..." This I will red as often as I can to inspire to me write more NOW. Thanks, oh mysterious kid. Much appreciated. --MJ Couture wild

  2. Bravo. I loved it. More please... ;)

  3. Do you ever get the upturned eyebrows and the worried eyes combined with a sad smile?

    A lot of my relatives gave me that when I told them this is what I wanted to do.

  4. Reading that I felt what you meant not just chilling down my spine but everywhere :).

    Very very wonderfully written ;) and simply true, your text actually proves what you say in it because it lives exactly that :).

    Yay for writing! :)

  5. An old tutor of mine, a very successful man with a production list that would make you weep (it starts with Monty Python and goes from there), once told me "if you're at a party, never tell them you're a writer, because somebody ALWAYS has a screenplay or a poem or a novel that they want to tell you about." I still can't decide if this is the best or worst advice I've ever been given.

    As for writing, it's a compulsion, an addiction rather than anything else.

    I watched Inception again the other day and had a huge conversation with the mrs about how original that concept is, how that those "oh wow" moments are what it's all about. There's a very apt quote in amongst that script "the chance to build cathedrals, entire cities, things that never existed".

    To me, that's what writing is. To create, design, flesh out and control things that never existed.

    That and the fact that my brain won't let me stop writing. That days when I don't write are days I want to explode at the world and that, I feel, is a sure sign.

  6. This came just in time ......just when I thought my blog was the equivalent of talking to myself in the mirror. Well, it most likely is, now I just feel better about it.