Friday, August 21, 2009

Why I Write What I Write

In a dark corner of my home is a room passed by when I remodeled. There are no windows, the carpet is faded and worn, and the lighting dim. I retreat to this room everyday for an hour or so and write on a novel, this blog, or read. An old sofa is tucked tight against the wall and shelves of books line each wall.

I write in this room more than anything else. Which brings up a good question: Why does an accountant write a novel? For those unfamiliar, most novels are written by people with another profession. Writing is a hard way to make a living. So why do I do it?

For me, writing is more than getting a story out and more than a pass time. For me, novel writing is about conflict and conflict-resolution. In my line of work this is a powerful tool. Granted, my characters suffer greater conflicts than I'll ever see, but they still must resolve a serious problem to survive, or at least, return to a normal life.

Everyone has problems in their life and resolving them is difficult, and next to never, prepared for. Most people work to avoid conflict and will even suffer great lose rather than face an issue. The behavior is self-defeating, but done still the same.

Even aspiring novelists frequently avoid conflict in their stories. Of course, this means they don't have a story. Humans by nature are ruled by 'flight or fight'. We choose 'flight', but our heroic fantasies have us 'fight'. Reading novels are a great way to experience conflict and resolution. It is unlikely we will engage the same devices a character in a book uses, but the way the conflict is resolved can be a valuable lesson.

I write to understand conflicts and its life-cycle. Writing also allows me an escape at a deeper level than only reading a book. Writing the story gives me a front row seat in resolving a perplexing and intractable problem.

And that comes in handy when battling the IRS.

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