Thursday, August 2, 2012

Born This Way

This week’s blog theme is a simple, but loaded question: Why do I write?

It’s one I’ve asked myself so many times before, when I woke up morning after morning at 6:30 to pound out a few pages before going to teach for eight hours straight. It’s the question I ask when I read my manuscript for the twentieth time. The question I ask when a four page editorial letter pops up in my email inbox.

Why do I do this to myself?

Sometimes the task of creating worlds and stitching words together becomes too much, so I take a break. It’s these times I realize the answer to this question. After a week I feel the words burning at my fingertips, begging to be released onto a Word document. Scenes and characters whirl through my head like angry ghosts, demanding me to resurrect them. Give them life.

I write because I have to. I literally have to.

There was a period of my post-college life where I didn’t write for six weeks (I gave it up for Lent). It was one of the hardest fasts I’ve ever done. Some people were born to play sports. Others were born to be inventors and academics. Still others are gifted at teaching and nurturing. I was meant to create. During those six wordless weeks, I turned to other creative outlets. I sewed shirts. I drew charcoal sketches. I baked a lot of bread.

I’ve told my husband many times that I don’t think I’ll ever retire. It doesn’t matter if people stop reading or if I stop getting book deals. I’m not writing for the sake of getting published (thought admittedly, it is a nice perk). I’m writing to sate this crazy need, this urge to tell the world stories I don’t even fully realize until they’re done. I write because I really, actually believe that’s what I was born to do.

Or, in the words of Lady Gaga, I write because I was "born this way." 

And I have some crazy, insane discipline:

This is what my characters do to me on the days I don't feel like writing.

Now that I officially sound like a crazed, workaholic I will turn the question back on you, lovely readers. Why do you write?


When she’s not writing and drifting around the globe, Ryan Graudin enjoys hunting through thrift stores and taking pictures of her native Charleston, SC. Her novel LUMINANCE HOUR, the story of a Faery who falls in love with the prince she’s forced to guard, is due out with HarperTeen in 2013. You can learn about all of these things and more at You can also follow her on Twitter at @ryangraudin


  1. I work too and sometimes wonder why I push myself like you to write and blog. Love your answer to the question Why? Because I ask myself that too. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Sometimes I feel like my head would literally explode if I didn't get the words out!