I've read lots of author bios online and almost every one has a comment about why they write.
Some write because they read something and thought "I can do better."
Others write because they've always had voices in their heads.
Still others write not because they think "I can do better," but because they think "I can do this too."
I started writing many years ago and stopped. Marriage and motherhood and jobs just got in the way. Or rather, I let them get in the way. Then a few years ago I discovered an online group that revolved around an old television show from the 90's, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Aside from message board posts about the actors who portrayed Lois Lane and Clark Kent, there was a section called fanfiction. What the heck was fanfiction?
I soon learned that it is stories penned by fans of the show and that revolve around the show's characters. People take the universe that's been created and the show's characters and write their own scenarios.
I read some that were very good. I read some that were very bad. And I thought "I can do that too." My first fanfic was a Valentine story. I also wrote one about Christmas and one where Clark Kent posed for a beefcake calendar. Another story was written in the form of diary entries by Clark Kent's mother. This fandom has its own yearly awards with nominations and voting and an online awards ceremony.
Of course, some consider fanfiction to be the little red-haired bastard stepchild of writing. After all, you've let someone else create the universe and characters, complete with goal, motivation and conflict. But I know of two published authors (one by Zebra and the other by Avon) who used to write stories for the same message boards that I did.
Then the unthinkable happened. Someone began posting a serialized story that was REALLY good. Almost TOO good. And it wasn't long before someone recognized it as a book from Harlequin/Silhouette with just the character names changed. When we looked into this person's backlist of fanfictions, we discovered more plagiarized work and she was banned from the message boards.
Another unthinkable thing happened. I read my first romance novel after I was asked to track down the plagiarized book and verify that indeed this wasn't the fanfic author's original work. After I read the first one, I wanted to read more. I discovered author websites and author chats and found out that my own area was home to several very famous romance authors. I read their books and more and pretty soon fanfiction lost its luster and I began to believe "I can do that too."
I found out about Romance Writers of America and joined my local chapter. I've attended two national conferences and the workshops that go along with them. I've read books on writing. I've done writing exercises. And I've started two novels -- started being the objective word.
The one thing I have not done is give up. A friend told me recently that when she went off to college, her father told her "Rock, as you go through life and attack your goals, keep your eye upon the donut and not upon the hole."
Great advice, huh? I need to start focusing on that donut and not what's missing from the middle.
Why do YOU write?
On a completely unrelated note, today's my mother's birthday.
Your gift is on the way, Mom. I was late mailing it because I was in another town eating Krispy Kreme doughnuts and staying next door to a meth lab. ;-)