Aug 30, 2011

Why Write?

A.L Kennedy is that type of writer who always leaves me feeling drained. She enjoys a certain critical acclaim, but isn't really a literary heavyweight in the sense of a Martin Amis or Ian McEwan. There's barely much plot in her stories. Her's are stories exploring the sad inevitability of everyday life.

Anyway, was reading a few of her columns in the Guardian today where she explores the reasons why a writer writes. Really, despite the loneliness, the doubts, the turmoil of repeated rejections, why does one write? While the fears plaguing all writers may be similar, I'd like to think there are hundreds out there who never taste success at the end of this painful process. What about them? Do they stop writing? How do you stop doing something after you have been repeatedly rejected  when you haven't figured out how to stop doing it? That's the question she explores here. It's a question all of us face.

Writing a book is supposed to be simultaneously traumatic as well as cathartic. In the end it's worth it. Here's what she says in another piece:
And yet: you're a writer. You have written. There's a book out there with your name on it. Imagine that. You did imagine that. Every word of that. And in the moments when you're undistracted, you can feel that the other books are waiting, the ideas that will come to you to be expressed. This is a vocation – it called to you and you answered and now it calls in you. If you are quiet enough to hear, it always will. You have that and you are lucky, beyond lucky. Which is – I often have to remind myself – nothing to complain about. Onwards.



stonetemplepilot said...

If anyone has ever seriously thought of writing and have not yet done it, this particular article by Kennedy would definey motivate them in a certain perverse way to actually put pen to paper!:)

blessed are those people whether famous or not , whether good or bad , who can write.

Now the truth . Have you ever?:)

drift wood said...


You loved her piece too, huh? :)

I'm still penning that elusive Booker winner.

Shoumitro said...

The emotions attached with writing or composing music, or for that matter with any other creative thing, perhaps come from, in a subconscious sort of way, the act of imitating God, being a mini God.

Much enjoyed Kennedy's piece, though I found the style unconventional (and hence stumbling) and hard to comprehend at times. But an absolutely new flavour, of course!

drift wood said...


What a lovely thing to say! Cuts right to the heart of the entire subject of creativity.