Why I Write

These days it seems less and less that I come to my desk to write for a purpose that is my own. It is disheartening to get bogged down into the minute of university study or work. As each semester wears on, my capacity for creativity wears thin. What begins as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed very quickly ends as lacklustre and uninspired. But the show must go on as they say, and these words won’t find themselves. So how then do you continue? Despite everything that encroaches on you, how do you pick up and carry on? For me, the simple answer is I don’t know; honestly, sometimes I do wonder. Words, writing, reading, and creating are my passion, they are the lifeblood that courses through my veins, and I often find that there is no way for me to continue. I have gone months without putting down a single word for the love of it. At one point in my life, I went years. But here I am, persevering, despite my own self-doubt and the pressures of life that encroach upon me.

Herein lies the question, why? After all this time, all these years, why do I continue? I have been driven to write for as long as I can remember; rarely was there a moment in my childhood that I didn’t have a pen in hand. I was that kid, an only child, lacking the entertainment of siblings. I loved nothing more than to immerse myself in other worlds and then create them for myself. It was my escape then in much the same way that it is now. I seek escapism and thrive on the mental relief it provides me. The ability to pick up a book and leave the world’s worries behind me is a gift that I am grateful for each and every day. But literature is more than that; it is more than a good story that we snuggle up with on the couch to forget who we are for just a moment. Literature gives a voice to the stories that may otherwise be left untold. The extraordinary stories, the ones that may not necessarily change the world, but perhaps they will change someone. Open someone’s mind to new concepts. Or show them a facet of humanity they had never known before.

As an author, I send little pieces of myself out into the world, like fragile paper boats and I hope. I hope that my story will be loved, I hope that it is as important to someone else as it is to me, and I hope that I’ve done justice to the story and characters I’am are portraying. I write because I have a story to tell; whether it is a difficult topic or not, I strive to tell the story to the best of my ability and find that those stories that come from my own truths are often the most well-received. Which is difficult for me, as a lover of fantasy; a nut that I am yet to fully crack. My ability to write fantasy fiction is dwarfed by the reception of my human-centred realistic pieces. But I digress, writing the human experience is the key for me, it has kept me going in times when I would much rather have thrown in the towel.

The human experience is what currently drives my writing, I find each story rooted in humanity gives rise not only to the next but also to understanding and compassion. It is fundamental to who I am and my own human experience. Providing insight into the difficulties of everyday situations in average lives has a particular beauty. This the current path of my writing, and it is at the core of why I write. In truth, however, there is no one reason why I write. It is as natural to me as some find it to have a conversation; in fact, I would say that I can write far better than I could ever speak. But do I need a reason why? The question itself seems legitimate enough to warrant an answer. And it is a question that I am more often than I dare to count; I certainly shouldn’t be justifying myself when it comes to my passion, and I know that the question wouldn’t arise if my chosen path were not in a creative industry.

I have written for as long as I can remember and used books to escape from my own reality for even longer. This will never change, it will be a part of who I am for as long as I draw breath and I won’t ever justify it. I can’t. All I know is, when something draws you in, tugs at your very being, honour it. Give it space and the time that it needs; because that is your passion calling out, begging to be allowed the freedom of expression it so rightly deserves. We don’t have enough time on this earth to spend our lives doing what we think other people want us to do. They aren’t the ones who have to live our lives, we are. In Tolkien’s words, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

© Sarah Arber 2020