Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Why Do I Write?

By Chester Campbell

First, I'll disabuse myself of the notion that anybody else really cares why I write. The fact that I write is what's important to the casual reader. Fortunately, most people who plunk down a buck or so to read what I've written appear to enjoy it. They write to me or tell me at signings that they're looking forward to my next book. That's heartening to hear, and helps keep me focused, but it doesn't answer the basic question.

Writer's blogs, email listserves, conference panels, and other such outlets frequently deal with the subject of why writers write. One of the most frequent answers is "I can't not write." Meaning, I suppose, it's in my blood or my genes or whatever else it is that makes up our being.

While that may be an underlying facet of the situation I find myself in, it isn't the real story. After much cogitation, head-banging against the wall, wailing and gnashing of teeth, or at least their mental equivalents, I have concluded that my continued existence depends upon two things:

Walking and writing.

Yep, life is as simple as that. Walking keeps me physically active; writing keeps me mentally active.

Without these cornerstones, I would rapidly degenerate into a couch potato or, in my case, a recliner potato. Though I haven't been a TV watcher for years, I'd probably take up with the boob tube and become addicted to stuff I currently abhor. There's the possibility I would start reading all those books I've always wanted to read but couldn't find the time. That would be nice at first, then I'd start nit-picking typos and lousy metaphors and sentence construction that made my stomach growl.

The failure to walk regularly would soon take its toll, leaving me heir to all the heart problems and muscle failure and such stuff I've been dodging for nearly eighty-six years. I'm afraid I would soon be ready for the waiting ash box at Spring Hill Cemetery.

Which is a way of saying I'd better get my butt out of this chair and head to the mall for my daily (almost) two miles. Then get back to work on revising two manuscripts from my early fiction efforts that I plan to put up for the Kindle and other e-book outlets. After that it's on to Greg McKenzie mystery number six.

So why do I write?

It's the thing to do.


Ben Small said...

Sure glad you do!

Jean Henry Mead said...

I'm glad you write too, Chester. I enjoy your books. I share your fear of deteriorating at the computer and ride my exercise bike every night while I exercise my brain watching Jeopardy. But writing in any form is a necessity, like breathing.

Jaden Terrell said...

As always, you're my hero. I need to do more of both--walking and writing.