Why I Write

Friend and critique partner Jo Hart wrote a post on the Top 5 Reasons Why I Write, and it got me thinking about my own reasons.

1. I’m in love with words. Any language. Ever read a story, poem, or novel, and just hug the book to yourself afterward? And think, “Wow, I can only think ‘wow'”? And sometimes, finding the exact right word for what you mean feels like an adrenaline high? And Word-of-the-Day calendars are great & all, but they only give you 365 words, and that’s not quite enough?

2. Writing feels good. If I can string words together in what I think is a pleasing way, I read them over and over and feel really good. Sometimes it doesn’t even have to be a string of words (see above) – it can be one, e.g. “epiphany.”


(Yup, brilliant. Feels good, doesn’t it?)

3. I can’t not write. I’ve always written things down. The only times I’ve imagined a world in which I don’t write are times when I’ve been severely depressed. Which is, you know, not fun for anyone.

4. It’s cathartic. Depressed, bitchy, manic – it all goes into the diary at some point; it all goes into the stories.

5. I’m self-absorbed. If ever fiction fails me, I can fill up diary books (and, sorry, yes, blog posts) all about ME.

6. Sometimes I get an idea or have a dream that I have to write down (e.g. girls sneak out of beautiful city to explore ravaged city full of scary creatures)

7. I’m too in love with office supplies to stop. Notebooks, diaries, pens, markers, dry erase boards, index cards…writing is a great excuse to buy these things.

So, how about you?

Attack of the Radioactive Dog

Despite the fact that I feel bad about making fun of a radioactive dog disposal site and the poor beasts therein, the “comic” really isn’t all that funny. It’s disappointing, and that disappointment has to do with something I’ve learned about writing lately: you take a character you like, get her in lots of trouble, and then have her solve her own problems, usually in a creative or unexpected way.

In this comic, we’ve got a character we like a LOT (ahem, moi, in very big sunglasses), and she’s in lots of trouble. A radioactive dog has escaped the confines of death and its barrel and is skulking toward our heroine while emitting ominous GRRRR sounds. But the end is disappointing, because our heroine has not taken steps to solve her own problem. In fact, she just sits there like some moronic blonde in a horror movie. I’m surprised she doesn’t climb out of the car to investigate the noises, thus rendering herself easier radioactive dog chow.

However, I had limited time to make this comic, and I wanted it to stay on one page of the diary, so I had to end it fast.

No matter the outcome, it was fun. And that’s what writing should be.

How would you end the comic?


I almost forgot! The winner of last week’s giveaway is Megan! She’ll be receiving an ARC of Heidi Ayarbe’s new book, Compulsion, very soon!

Diary Books I Have Known and Loved

The topic today is diaries. I have more books than I care to count, and most of them are full (although I just bought two new blank ones when I was picking up my copy of Mockingjay).

So here are photos of the book covers and some of the pages, in all their glory, spanning over ten years of writing. Except for one, every one of these has been filled up with my (often pointless, repetitive, self-obsessed) writing (something like this blog, actually).

By the way, I had quite a few extra “excerpt” photos, chosen for their bright, colorful pages and/or illustrations. Upon closer examination, though, I found either embarrassing confessions or cruel, vindictive entries (usually about ex-boyfriends. Sorry boys).

What makes a good diary? An accidentally pornographic cover is always a plus (see black & white photo diary, above). My preferences include plain, quality paper so I can use a variety of pens and they won’t bleed through. Spiral-bound is easier to write in. I prefer somewhere in the ballpark of 6 by 8 inches, although some of my favorites are 8.5 by 11.

If you have a favorite diary, or diary preferences, I’d love to hear about them.