Several weeks ago, someone asked me what I perceived as the "pay-off" for what I do and ever since then, I've been pondering the "why" of it all.
Sometimes I wonder. It's certainly not the modest amount of money or attention it's garnered me, thus far. To be honest though, I've never had a burning desire to be rich or a celebrity or even a member of the in-crowd. I'm sure for some, even thinking such is a shocking sacrilege. We do appear to live in a society where just about everybody and their mamas make a point of clamoring for an extended stay in the spotlight, if not the 15 minutes of fame to which they somehow and for some reason feel entitled.
Mainly, I write because I enjoy it. The sheer pleasure of it, when it's going well, mind you, ranks right up there with eating and sex. Over and beyond my own enjoyment, I think I write because I'm in awe of the pleasure it's capable of bringing to others. Nothing beats a letter from a reader who claims my novel, After The Dance made her laugh harder than she's laughed in years. Nor will I ever forget the comments of the woman who attended one of my library readings and said what she enjoyed most about reading my book was that she could actually read the love scenes without cringing or squinting her eyes.
Fan mail and positive feedback from folks who've read and enjoyed my work, make some of the less-than-pleasant crap one is forced to endure on the "author's journey" worthwhile. But please don't look for me to go into detail about any of that crap. I'd much rather stay focused on the pluses and the positives, rather than those things that truly make me wonder if picking up a pen and writing another damn word is worth it.
If you're a writer (or an artist) and you feel like sharing, I'd love to hear your reasons for doing what you do.