Today’s piece is written by Brian Ford
When I was 20 years old I managed to save up enough money from my various jobs to take the summer off between my junior and senior years of college. The purpose – I was going to write my “Great American Novel.” Why? Life had taught me enough at that point that I knew if I didn’t, I never would.
This as you might guess took my family and friends by surprise – I might as well have told them I was taking the summer off to become a downhill slalom skier. And so, despite everyone’s protests, I did it – I spent every day that summer pounding the keys until I arrived at my inaugural tome three months later.
It’s a period of my life I will never forget – for the first time every day wasn’t about work/classes/money/girls/etc., it was just about the writing. More importantly, it made me feel that actually being a writer was possible. It made me get my first literary agent, it made me sell my first freelance work, it made me learn how to pitch my ideas, it made me start TheFutonCritic.com, it made me do all the things that led me to uproot my life to try and make a go at the television business here in Los Angeles.
So why do I do it?
The easy answer is I don’t want to do anything else. The real answer is I love what we do with stories – as both a writer and a viewer. As a writer, stories are about breaking up what’s going on inside you – your dreams, fears, hopes, loves, joys, hates, pains, lusts and regrets – and then reassembling it together on the page – as characters, dialogue, settings, action, drama and comedy. For a viewer, it’s about breaking up what’s happening on screen – characters, dialogue, settings, action, drama and comedy – and putting it inside of you – your dreams, fears, hopes, loves, joys, hates, pains, lusts and regrets. I can’t get enough of either process – they are the arteries and veins respectively of my mind.
And so as I chase the dream of admittance into the writers’ room – of spending my days breaking apart stories and reassembling them – all I can think of is that summer, when it was just me, my computer and the stories.
That’s why I write.
WHY WE WRITE is a series of essays by prominent – and not so prominent – TV and Film writers. Conceived by Charlie Craig and Thania St. John, the campaign hopes to inspire and inform all writers. If you’d like to comment, or tell us why you write, visit the Why We Write WordPress site or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.