I have a cheap and easy cop-out for this one: I write because I don’t know how not to.
I started writing when I was five or something, writing terrible things that were filled with deus ex machina and what would have me castigated for flagrant copyright violations. Fortunately, none of that got published.
I also read. Reading is like a religion to me. It’s a challenge.
Friends and family have joked, in the past, that I don’t read so much as eat books. I read fast. That’s thanks to my dad reading the entirety of The Hobbit, and then the entirety of the Lord of the Rings trilogy to me prior to me actually finishing kindergarten, then encouraging me to read it myself shortly after. Its why I have a tattoo of a Tolkien quote on my ribcage, my way of appreciating and reminding myself that without that, I wouldn’t be where I am.
I tell stories. That’s all I can do. I don’t really know how to do anything else. I make things up, I obsess over words, and I repeat interesting phrases over and over in my head to dissect them.
None of this really explains why I write though. It’s all kind of tangential reasons.
Except, its not. I’m going to write because there’s just some little spark or something deep down inside me that informs me that this is just “what I do”. I’ll work a day job, have a career, and even be happy with it, but I won’t be able to stop writing. I’ve tried. There were periods where I did stop writing because school or work or other things that just sort of happen on the road of life got in the way. And I would stop, for a while.
Then later, whether weeks or months or whatever, I’d start again. There’d be an idea, or a phrase, that would just niggle at me and wear at me until it was typed up. Then another would follow. And another. Then I’d have a short story or some chapters or whatever sitting in front of me. At that point, something has to be done with it.
Why do I write? I can’t not. It’s a compulsion. There’s not really a choice in it for me.
I may end up toiling in obscurity for the rest of my life, though I sincerely hope not. I’m going to keep at it. My parents sowed seeds, though I expect not on purpose, that gave me a love of stories.
Words, I’ve learned, are important.
You see it everyday, even if you don’t realize it. They’re these crazy little combinations of noises and symbols that unlock feeling and emotion and thought in our brains. You can use them as weapons, lashing out and hurting others. Or you can use them to heal, to provide a balm for those that are suffering. They can force us to think. We use them every day and it blows my mind the amount of power they have.
This is why I write. It is important. I have to. And I like to think I have stories to tell. I’ve had some success thus far, and I’m going to keep going. You should too.
Tyler Omichinski is a writer, game designer and freelance writer from the Great White North of Canada. He writes for a number of review websites, has a number of short story publications, and is about to self-publish a novella. He has an inexplicable fascination with survivalism, fitness, travel, and painting. His work has been published in the science fiction magazine “Grey Matter” and in the upcoming anthology “Den of Thieves”.