What do you write and why?

Writing is like figure skating: A mix of creativity, discipline, and sweat. But it's not as pretty to watch.

Writing is like figure skating: A mix of creativity, discipline, and sweat. But it’s not as pretty to watch or as hard on the knees.

We only have so much time to write and so much energy to devote to each project. I know many of you can relate, because you blog about it.

This week I’ve begun pushing myself to work on my novel. Yay me! Unfortunately, I have finite writing mojo, which means that I am too lazy to come up with an insightful post tonight. My mental energy went to the novel. Fortunately, I have you, so I am going to put you to work!

Please, in the comments, tell me what you write and why you choose (or are compelled) to write it. The “what” is up to you. It can mean poetry, fiction, or non-fiction or even blogging. It can be genre, like Romance or Haiku or Personal Essay; as long as it’s writing and it’s for creative expression. Shopping lists don’t count because I know why you write those. Duh.

The WordPress comment processor, bolted to the wall at WP headquarters is Greenland. Note the spam filter just below the three combobulators.

The WordPress comment processor, bolted to the wall at WP headquarters is Greenland. Note the spam filter just below the three combobulators.

I’ll go first:

What: I write fiction that falls in the general category “speculative,” typically thought to include horror, science fiction, fantasy, and supernatural. If the description “twilight zonish” resonates with you, then you probably have a good sense of my material.

Why: I enjoy speculative fiction for the freedom it offers. I can set a story anywhere in the universe, or even outside the universe. I can change the rules of physics. I can go anywhere, anytime, and do anything. At the same time, I can and often do keep it very close to reality. An odd coincidence in an otherwise ordinary setting and situation is enough to set a character on a strange journey, physical or metaphorical or both. I’m a sucker for a surprise ending or a twist as well, and the possibilities for such in speculative fiction are limitless.

There; that was easy. You don’t have to be so long-winded if you don’t want, or you can post a gigantic comment and text the very limits of WordPress’s comment processor. You take it from here…

39 responses to “What do you write and why?

  • Dave

    Ok, I guess I would say that for the most part I tend to write short stories and novels in the horror genre, although speculative fiction sounds way cooler. And I can relate to the twilight zone description. Curiously, my flash fiction always seems to center around love (well, except for the last one). Try and figure that one out.

    As for why I write these types of stories, I have no idea. All I know is that I’ll either think of something awful or scary that can happen and I start writing about it, or I’ll start writing some nice and sweet story, and then all of sudden everything goes dark and everyone dies. What’s up with that?

    Best of luck on that novel … I’m sure it will be a great one, and I look forward to reading it!

    • ericjbaker

      Funny. My speculative fiction often has romantic themes in the center too. Maybe we secretly want to write love stories but are insecure in our masculinity. Then again, I do like a good zombie horde and an invasion of malevolent alien insects. With kissing.

  • Jill Weatherholt

    Yay for you, working on your novel! I truly believe that should come before blogging, but the pressure of posting often wins out…at least for me.
    What do I write and why? That’s a loaded question since I’m in a major transition period. I have been working on a novel that would fall into the Christian/Romance genre, but lately I’m been sucked into the YA genre, reading a book a week and dying to write in the genre. I’m so confused…Any advice?

  • Created by RCW

    I write whatever comes into my head, whether I know what to do with it or not.

    I write screenplays and teleplays.
    I’m working on a novel with a friend.
    I blog incessantly (although more haltingly of late) about creativity, Art, writing and my personal journey through all of them.
    I’ve written peer-reviewed scientific articles.
    I Tweet and Facebook one-off whack-job comments.
    I write about the pharmaceutical industry for a US magazine.
    I write song lyrics (mostly parodies, but I’m trying new stuff too).
    I write about drugs and other therapeutics for a medical advertising agency.
    I’ve issued press releases and written grant applications.
    I write sketch comedy for stage and for television (soon).
    I opine on our local American Hockey League team (Toronto Marlies).
    I write jokes and diatribes; riffs and rebuttals; anecdotes, short fiction and poems.
    I offer advice and counsel. I ask questions. I make demands. I issue apologies.
    And based on a limited sampling, I write one hell of a eulogy!

    And why do I write for all of these forms and formats? Not for any reasons of attention deficit, but rather because I have thoughts, ideas, concepts, urges, up-wellings, eruptions and explosions, and most importantly, because I have NO FEAR.

    • ericjbaker

      And your writing portfolio must weight 27 pounds!

      Seriously, that’s cool that you embrace so many genres and forms. Why not, if the creative juices are flowing. You obviously have the chops if you are writing pharma articles. Good luck with all of it!

      • Created by RCW

        Thanks mate…actually, as I composed the comment, more and more things kept coming up…no wonder I can’t seem to get anything finished!

        Screenwriting is my focus…pharma/medical pays the bills…and the rest of it is creative tourettes (not to make light)

        Getting rid of the fear…that’s what did it!

        And a growing appreciation of people wanting to talk about writing is the gravy…thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Janna G. Noelle

    Keep working on that novel! Now that you’ve started, you can’t quit until it’s done. It’s like exercise: it will get easier the longer you keep at it.

    To prove my support of your novel-writing endeavours, I will help do your blog work for you. I write (am currently writing) historical fiction with a slight hint of magic/fantasy (magic realism).

    It write this because all the lessons we as humans require on how to live in this world have already been taught throughout history, yet we just don’t seem to get it, instead recycling the same mistakes over and over again. I like using history to draw a parallel with the problems of the modern world as a way of (hopefully!) helping inspiring solutions.

    My invoice is in the mail 😉

    • ericjbaker

      Some how I knew you would have such a definitive answer to my question. I look forward to reading it when it’s done. 😉

      Thanks for the encouragement. This novel is something I started almost two years ago and then put on hold for some other stuff. Now I’m trying to make some progress and trying to keep the momentum going. Somewhere, unformed in my subconscious, is a brilliant epic that will change my life. But I think I have to knock out a couple of these other ideas first.

  • lyriquediscorde

    What: I write poetry, short fiction, post-apocalyptic/supernatural adult fiction and YA fiction, as well as music/movie/book reviews.
    Why: With YA, I love the freedom of no specific genre, that I can slip in supernatural elements, time travel, speculative, or I can go very day-in-the-life. Plus, I have a soft spot in regards to “coming of age” and adolescent storytelling.
    With the poetry, my mind works in a non-rhyming, almost lyrical way much of the time. I write to music, music as muse, and poetry seems to fit it best.
    I am a fan of time travel/alt reality/post-apocalyptic stories and find it an interesting place to play as a writer.
    Short fiction I find to be a great place to test characters, and work on details and economy of words, the latter often a struggle for me.

    I also blog – often and a lot.

    • ericjbaker

      I agree there is something universally appealing about adolescent protagonists, perhaps because we were all there once. Were were less formed and not yet placed in boxes at that point in our lives, making adolescence so relatable for everyone. Aren’t those times the most painful?

      As for short fiction, the novel I’m working on now was born from a short story I wrote.

      Thanks for the comment and for adding to the discussion.

  • slevjay

    So that’s where you have been… I write poetry and fiction. Paranormal mostly. I write poetry because sometimes I such intense feelings that they need to come out and screaming like a crazed banshee is frowned upon so I write instead. I write paranormal because it’s what I love. Vampires, werewolves, elves, and the like are an obsession of mine and I enjoy the impossible things that are made possible by them. I read to escape and fiction is the best venue to do it. So I write what I love to read. Great post!!!

    • ericjbaker

      Thanks! I think you captured what poetry means for a lot of writers with your comment. I write the occasional humor bit with haiku and limericks, but I admire those of you who can do it for real and evoke emotions and wonder with your words. I don’t have that poetry muse for some reason.

  • nrhatch

    I write poems, essays, short stories, and fluff to communicate thoughts, ideas, hopes, and dreams to inspire thoughts, ideas, hopes, and dreams in others.

    Writing allows me to CONNECT with others, expand my horizons, exchange ideas and have FUN!

  • 1WriteWay

    I’ve written a few (poor) poems, a slew of short stories, and early drafts of a few novels. I lean toward the dark in my stories and my very first novel. Well, I lean toward the dark generally. I’ve written in the horror genre (and love to read horror as well), but my novel “series” is crime/mystery, although it’s not the crime so much that intrigues me. Rather, it’s how people respond to the crime, what they learn about themselves as they try to solve it. Which brings me to why I write: I’m trying to understand people. (Well, yes, I guess I should say that I’m driven to write, yadda, yadda, but you know that already.) Not to sound too hoity-toity, I write to find the humanity in people: are people who do bad things always bad, or are they just reacting to their environment? Can people be truly evil, with no hope of redemption, or is there some humanity, some sympathy buried deep within them?

    You should continue to work on your novel. It’s a priority above your blog. The blog will always be here, and you have plenty of posts for us to read if you’re too busy doing the more important writing. Of course, you could blog about your novel 😉 Little teasers now and then … 🙂

    • ericjbaker

      Cool. A mystery/crime writer! I love a good mystery. I’ve tried to tackle the genre a few times and can’t do it for some reason. We all have our strengths I suppose.

      Nothing hoity toity about exploring humanity, human motivations and foibles, and examining moral ambiguity. Most of the good fiction does that, regardless of genre.

      Thanks for the comment!

  • mobewan

    Great post idea, and keep pushing forward on that novel. Just shout if you need a kick…

    What: like you its all speculative. Ranging from modern day with a twist to far flung future SF to steampunk to epic fantasy and everything inbetween. Personally I like to read great stories. Page turners where I want to know what will happen. That’s what I want to write.

    Why: If I write anything ‘normal’ I get bored. I have a real life for that. When I read I want to escape, and its the same when I write. That said, it always seems to be quite normal, everyday woes, concerns and challenges that I write about, They just always seem more exciting when they are happening in a spacesuit, on the wing of a spaceship about to crash into an alien artefat whilst learning to control some new found power.

    • ericjbaker

      Cool! Sometimes my favorite speculative fiction is the kind where one tiny element is slightly off, but it plays out in a big way. Ultimately, I want the same thing… to write fiction that people can’t put down.

      Thanks for the comment!

  • Andrew Toynbee

    I began 2013 with the intent to blog twice a week – minimum. I managed it too. However, the sequel to my debut novel has languished as a result, so I have now throttled back my blogging considerably. Your post appeared on one of my ‘up’ days. 🙂
    I used to write science fiction, because that’s what I immersed myself in as a youth. However, my twenties and thirties saw a gradual shift towards high fantasy (I’d yet to publish anything at this stage) before I looked up to see what was selling – paranormal romance. So I aimed my first-ever novel towards that genre – and actually completed it. The sequel is now 1/3 done.

    Why did I write these things? Well, I had a lonely and unhappy childhood, so many of my attempts at a sci-fi story involved getting rid of everything that troubled me, resulting in mostly apocalyptic results, ie very few people in a very large (if still dangerous) world. My High Fantasy novels followed a similar formula, bringing a kind of order to my writing mind. It was somewhere I could be in control and filter out the unpleasant noises of society.
    Nowadays, I like to think I’m better adjusted… even though my paranormal romance still borders on the apocalyptic. 😀

    • ericjbaker

      I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I think our best writing happens when we are passionate about the story, regardless of if we know why. I suppose I write speculative because it lets my imagination run, but honestly, it’s just the most fun for me.

      Good luck with the completion of your sequel!

  • shelleyhazen83

    Short stories. Personal essays. Magazine articles. Column. News stories. I basically write until my brain oozes out of my ears.

  • livelytwist

    I write what I like to read- short stories about life and the human condition. Sometimes, I wonder if I’m too lazy to write a complete novel, stretching the plot for pages on end. But the challenge of condensing meaning in as little words as possible (the economy of language), makes my heart race. I blog the same way too. To make sense of my world and provoke others to think. I write because it is the clearest and most powerful way I know to express myself.

    All the best with your novel! Oh oh, I don’t like scary stuff 🙂

    • livelytwist

      Yes, “writing is like figure skating: A mix of creativity, discipline, and sweat. But it’s not as pretty to watch or as hard on the knees.”

    • ericjbaker

      As I’ve mentioned in the past, I write without a plan or an outline, which frees me creatively but is a bit intimidating regarding long-form fiction. I never know when I start out if the story is a short story or a novel until it starts blossoming into a tree or just a flower.

      I agree it is fun to tell the most story with the fewest words, though. I could always go back to my blog posts the next day and probably chop 20% out of each. But I don’t.

  • Douglas Pearce

    I write mostly comic fantasy. Probably because I can’t write historical drama and try to shoot for the hysterical rather.

  • kriskkaria

    I write comedy, funny stories about life. I like pondering why someone left a purple sock on their lawn or lost their pizza on the drive home or why crows dive bomb me on my way to the bus stop. So, that’s why I write Does This Happen to You.

    • ericjbaker

      Hahaha! I think about that stuff all the time. My son and I once found a toothbrush on the public walking area in front of our local library, which is very much in a wooded area. I’m still dying to know the story of how that toothbrush got there.

  • Uzoma

    Most of my stories come to me in bits — either I have the end or the beginning, or both. Writing a complete story is almost like trying to solve a puzzle; I think a lot and if I don’t succeed or feel satisfied, I archive whatever I’ve written. Since my favorite genres are mystery, suspense, and thriller, I think I’m OK with the writing process.

    Why I write? That’s a very good question. I love it. I love to see what I can do in a few words and effect it will have on my audience. I consider these story bits a challenge, whenever I’m unable to find the link between them or send them on a completely intriguing and different path.

    • ericjbaker

      My favorite quality in your writing is your ability to put the reader somewhere he has never been and show him experiences he has never had, yet it feels real and natural. You have a unique gift in that way.

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