I'm super excited that the very first contributor to the Writespiration Why We Write section is none other than S.G. Browne. ::insert screaming crowd::
I've only read Breathers (OMG, best zombie novel EVAR), but we own everything S.G. has ever written (and hubby has read, and loves, them ALL). In fact, he just finished Less Than Hero just today (see cheesy pic at bottom).
Once I get my 3rd Tarot book written, I'm starting on Fated (Ron's always bugging me "Have you read it yet? Have you read it yet?").
OK, enough gushing! It's time to find out why S.G. Browne writes...
Ask a room full of writers why they write and you’re likely to get a room full of answers.
To tell a story. To be read by others. To make sense of the world. To make money. To maintain their sanity.
While I can’t speak for other writers, it’s rarely been just one or another reason for me but a combination of several reasons. And over the years, those reasons have shifted.
Thirty years ago, while reading The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub, I became so caught up in the adventure unfolding on the pages that the world outside of the book ceased to exist. And I thought: I want to make someone feel like this.
That was the first time I realized I wanted to be a writer. So when I started writing on a steady basis, my motivation was to not only be read by others but to make them feel the same way I felt when I read a good book. I also wrote because I wanted to become a published writer. More than that, I wanted to make a living as a writer. While I wasn’t writing for the money (because let’s face it, most writers don’t make enough to live on), I was writing toward the goal of supporting myself as a full-time writer. It wasn’t purely financial motivation, but more a goal of being financially independent doing something that I loved.
To paraphrase Henry David Thoreau: I wanted to go confidently in the direction of my dreams and live the life I imagined.
For the better part of twenty years, this remained one of the major driving forces behind why I wrote. But I also had stories I wanted to tell. I wanted to make sense of the world around me through my writing. And I wanted to share my literary vision with others. That’s what got me up at six in the morning to write for two hours each day before going to work and it’s what put me at my desk for another two hours every night before I went to sleep.
When I first started writing, I wrote straight supernatural horror. But in 2002 something shifted and I started writing dark comedy and social satire. So rather than writing to scare myself and others, I wrote to make commentary on our society in a way that was darkly humorous. I wrote to make myself and others laugh while thinking about the world in which we live. And I still do.
After I sold my first novel, Breathers, in 2008, my motivation for becoming a published author and full-time writer were realized, so those motivations took a back seat to my other reasons for writing—primarily creating stories that mattered to me. That’s not to say creating stories that mattered to me was ever a lesser reason for writing than any of my other reasons. It was always one of the main driving forces behind my writing. After all, if the story doesn’t matter to me, then why should I expect it to matter to anyone else?
The funny thing is, once you start to earn a living as a writer, you realize there are now other people out there who are reading your novels and who have expectations. So once I published a second novel and then a third, while I was still writing to tell the stories I wanted to tell, I was also writing for an audience.
So there are a lot of reasons why I write.
I write to tell stories. I write to make commentary on society. I write to make myself and readers who share my sense of humor laugh. I write to make others feel the way I do when I read a good story. I write to make sense of the world. But I also write because I’m happier when I’m writing than when I’m not. Writing nourishes my soul. It also provides a respite from reality.
Ray Bradbury once said: “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
Based on that advice, I plan to stay drunk for as long as I can.
-- S.G. Browne
S.G. Browne is the author of the novels Less Than Hero, Big Egos, Lucky Bastard, Fated, and Breathers, as well as the eBook short story collection Shooting Monkeys in a Barrel and the heartwarming holiday novella I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus. He lives in San Francisco. You can learn more about his writing at www.sgbrowne.com or follow him on Twitter at @s_g_browne.
Note from Janet: Also see S.G.'s piece The Writing Life: You Are Not Alone on Medium here. Below, my awesome husband giving a thumb's up to S.G.'s latest! Big thanks to S.G. for taking the time to share why he writes with us.