If I recall correctly, the first post I made to this particular blog was about the question of how I know if I'm a real writer. I've long since answered that question in my mind. Even if I hadn't recently published my first novel, I know I'm a real writer. Why? The answer is rather esoteric: because I write.
The next logical question should probably then be why do I write? I could go in a circle and say because I'm a writer, but that would just be silly. And not in a fun way. So why do I write? For a few reasons.
First, I write because I don't think I can not write. Asking why a writer writes is like asking a runner why he or she runs, but maybe even more basically it's like asking a human why he or she breathes. How could I not? I'm unable not to write. Yes, I can hold my breath for a short time, but my body will force me to breathe at some point. In the same way, I may get busy and not write for a few days, but I can't keep it up forever. Before I know it, I'm here in front of the keyboard, neglecting some urgent task, in order to mentally and spiritually respirate.
Second, I write because it's the one place where life makes sense. As people who actually know me are aware, my life has been pretty out of control in the last several months. My marriage of 28 years is over in every way except legally, and that part comes soon. At the age of 51, I'm in the process of moving in with my parents (only until the end of the school year or until the perfect apartment comes along, whichever comes first). But when I write, people do what I want them to. The good guy wins. The distressed person gets rescued. The bad guy pays for his crimes. The couple stays married, and not just legally. Even if real life is a bad banana with a greasy black peel, to borrow from the great Dr. Seuss, the world I create when I write is perfectly ripe. Not green anymore, but not mushy and gross. Just right. Why would I not do that?
Finally, I write because I want to make a living writing. And I definitely won't do that if I don't write--well and regularly. The more I write, the more I increase my chances that I can actually make meaningful money at it. That's not as romantic as the other two reasons, but most writers, high-minded working-on-my-art statements aside, want to be able to write full-time, and that can only happen if you're independently wealthy (I'm not--If I were, I would've been Batman a long time ago) or you get people to give you money in exchange for your writing. I'm hoping that will work out, but it definitely won't if I don't keep writing.
So how about it--want to give me some money in exchange for my writing? Go here.