Life,  Writing

Why Create Anything?

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So I keep asking myself what my purpose is in writing, or creating anything.

I’ve gradually understood that I’m unwilling to take the time away from the truly important things in my life to do. And what I mean by truly important is family. I’ve reached the point recently where I don’t write on weekends unless I’m working nights. If my family is home and available, I need to be available to them. It’s far, far easier for me to interrupt some task or chore around the house than it is to stop in the middle of the scene. So it’s better that I don’t even start the scene.

Of course, the problem with that strategy is weekends are when I should be getting my editing done. Most of my new words happen in the car, dictating into my phone. New words typically aren’t saleable, or sometimes even readable. I think between first and final draft not many sentences remain completely intact. So I’m going to have to work that out because just pounding out the words doesn’t get me any closer to publishing things.

But I started this post wondering why I create, what my purpose is in writing, why it’s necessary to my mental and physical well-being. Because it is. My mood is better, I’m happier when I’m in the process of writing or making something. Not just in the act of creation itself, but in and around it. The world seems brighter, more colorful, easier to grasp and interact with when I’m creating.

But I also get those feelings when I’m learning something new. Whether it’s improving my lackluster French, slowly building up my non-existent Japanese, gradually filling in the gaps of the math and physics I used to know once upon a time, or even just cruising interesting sites and articles on the Internet, I get a sense of mental well-being out of learning.

So I’m happier when I’m learning, and I’m happier when I’m creating. Mental health adds to physical health. When you feel good in your head, you can convince your body to become better, stronger, faster.

But why do I have to create?

There are lots of easy, pat answers for that. Lots of silly ones too.

There aren’t any voices in my head, but I do have a tremendous imagination. The more I exercise it, the more expands. That’s not always a good thing, but the good far outweighs the extra guilt or fear I’m forced into on occasion.

I don’t feel the need to kidnap people and force them to act out my imaginary stories, but if someday someone wants to make a short film or movie or audio drama head of something written… that would be awesome. Maybe I should do it myself.

I’m not concerned about a legacy or leaving something of myself behind, something concrete. That’s not up to me to decide. Be the best person you can be, be the best person you can to people around you, and your legacy is in the memories you leave with them. Anything else is a bonus. But not for you, not for me. For them.

I don’t have to write. I can walk away from writing it any time. I’m not addicted, and I won’t fall apart I stop. I spent the majority of my 20s, and the bulk of my 30s not writing. I didn’t guide, and I didn’t go crazy.

So why then? What purpose is in it?

I ask myself this a lot, and I always come up with the same answer. I don’t know.

I right, or record, or create, because I can, because I enjoy it, because I love it. Not because I have to, or need to, or want to, but just because it’s fun.

If it ever stops being fun, then I’ll stop.

Whether or not it’s short, life is finite. There is a limited amount of time available to each of us. That’s the realization everyone needs. Time is limited. Don’t waste it on things you don’t enjoy.

But be careful how you interpret that. I have three children, and each of them seems to spend some amount of their time thinking up new ways to piss me off. It’s not intentional, it’s a kid thing, and the parent half the equation, the half I need to balance out, is to use those things to learn, to teach, to grow.

I hate being angry, particularly if it’s at someone or something I love. The trick is to use that anger to grow and become better than I am.

I think you need to do that with anything, any experience. You can’t choose what the universe puts in your path, but you can choose how you react to it, and you can choose your own path from each reaction. We each build the universe around us, and what we choose to do, what we choose makes that universe what it is.

I choose to create. I choose to learn. I choose to love.

What do you choose?

Be well, everyone.

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