Why do we do what we do? Why do we try?
Some days, I wonder why I write stories. Is it to get published? Yep. Can’t deny that one. Is it to be read and heard, and maybe loved? Oh, yes. But why does it make me ache if I don’t? This yearning for storytelling; it’s not about the endgame. It’s something else. Something deep. Something core to who I am.
I sleep, in hope of dreams. I dream, in hope of ideas. I write, in hope of story.
I write to tell that tale.
And now and then I send a story out there. Sometimes there’s feedback and it’s grand. Sometimes, of course, it’s a ‘no’.
Occasionally, a no is just a silence. A silence you can fill with questions. Is the time not right? What did I miss? Why do I even do this? Why persist? What makes me presume I’m good enough?
These silences don’t make for great days. But it’s part of being a writer. If you can keep pushing through it, you can go on. Some days that’s hard. But, I promise you, if you’re a new writer, this day too: it’s worth it.
On one of those less-great days, I allowed myself to sink into the words of another. This single line grabbed me by the shoulders and held me, breathless. Wouldn’t let go.
‘Their voices mourned every unfulfilled wish, every step they hadn’t taken and every unspoken word.’
– Marianne in The Little Breton Bistro, Nina George
Of course, that moment in Marianne’s life wasn’t the same as mine. I don’t live the same life as her; we’re not on the same journey. But those words? They got me. They dug into my heart and, oh, they burned. I needed them. These words about striving and regret and life. They tell you to not give up. To thrive. To go on.
I couldn’t turn the page. I held her book like a lifeline.
One line, she did this to me with. One line.
That’s why. That’s why you do what you do. To connect to someone and take their breath from their lungs. To shore them up and see them through a day. Or a moment. And not even know it. To just hope that what you write might, one day, do that.
We try because we don’t know what else to do. But more than anything else, we try because we feel the presence of others.
Somewhere out there, there’s someone like you. And they’re waiting for your words.
One day, just once, I want to do that. I want to reach out, like that, and find someone. I want to write those words and set them free. I want to find you and be there for you.
That’s why. I need to do this. I can’t not. And some days it’s hard. Some days it hurts.
So, what else can I do, but try.