Quite a profound question to start off the week, don’t you think? It’s one that I don’t talk about much here, since the cartography always seems to take precedence over everything else. I also think this is something that I have avoided talking about because the truth might not be what people are expecting to see, or, more likely, what I expect people are expecting to hear, if that makes any sense.
We’ve been brought up to think that writers have some form of compulsion to write, that they were born that way, with words struggling to escape their thoughts and that the only way to release those words is by writing.
I suppose that’s true for most writers but I don’t think that’s me. Though I often find myself edging to write when I’m not, I don’t think that it’s a compulsion or something that I can’t live without.
I think I’m a lazy person by nature, and I hate that. I’ve tried setting up routines where I can force myself into doing a set amount of writing every day, though I have never managed anything that maintains a semblance of regularity. The closest is writing during NaNoWriMo (and no I’m not taking part this year) when I really plan ahead and psych myself up.
I became complacent when I was single, writing when I wanted to, often devoting entire days and weekends to writing. Now I’m no longer single and living with my partner things become more difficult. Working shifts and odd hours makes things even worse. I get to write on mornings when I’m working late or days off when my partner is working, though I find it very difficult to work in the evenings, which is my preferred time, due to wanting to spend time with my family. This has really taken a toll on my hobbies.
Ok, so that answers why I don’t write, but not why I write.
I think, after perusing my posts here and elsewhere, it’s pretty clear that my focus is mostly on mapmaking, and I don’t mind that, really. I enjoy drawing the maps, though I need to work on my productivity (I tend to waste a lot of time doing things in steps that could all be one in one big step at the end, thus wasting lots of time) I spent quite a bit of money on a Photoshop course which got me an ACE degree, which helped with my cartography.
Though even the cartography is ultimately an ends to a mean.
I am creating a world, and that world needs maps, mostly for my own sense of completeness than anything else. One of the reasons my maps take ages to make, compared with other people, is I want to make sure that everything is correct – if I add a city, I want to make sure its correctly catalogued in the ubiquitous Encyclopaedia Elyden so that I can reference it quickly in the future if need be. Sometimes I’ll need to edit old entries to match the new ones or update regional histories to match changes made to borders or territories. I also have quite a few large ‘work maps’ that I use for my writing that need to be updated whenever I add a new place or feature, so I end up spending time updating those. There’s a lot more stuff that goes on behind the scenes than you might thing at first.
So, I write as an extension of my worldbuilding. I’ve created this world, am constantly expanding it, might as well do something with it, right?
Is that reason enough to write? Am I a ‘real’ writer? Does the fact that I’m not published make a difference? What if I ever was published, would that class me as a real writer even though I’ll always consider myself a worldbuilder first?