We ask ourselves a lot of questions when we write.
Some questions, like ‘why am I writing this at all’, remain unanswered as we are consumed with the idea, with the story, with the characters.
It just seems like a good idea so we run with it.
No better reason to write is ever needed.
Then the writing prompts questions regarding the content: where is the plot going, what is the story, who are the characters, what is the ending going to be?
There are hundreds of questions that come up and need answering.
Some of them get answered in the first draft, but most don’t get answered properly until the rewrites.
And by ‘properly’ I mean to out satisfaction, in the mind of the writer.
It’s by asking questions that we fashion the piece once the idea has popped in to our head.
When we’re writing the questions come thick and fast and the answers come just as quickly. We have a chance to check the answers, make sure they are what we want, change what’s needed, ask new questions; it’s all happening when we’re writing.
When we’re not writing the questions are very different.
Usually the doubt creeps in. The questions are mostly about the validity of our ideas, whether the ideas and writing are worth anything. And that’s without the tough questions of when / where will we get time / space to write: how are we going to achieve the physical writing?
Sometimes questions creep in that seem silly. Who am I writing for? That’s a classic.
Well, we’re all writing for ourselves aren’t we!? We *need* to write, it’s what we do, it’s what drives us. It’s how we keep ourselves sane, get our ideas out rather them letting them drive us crazy.
The answer ‘if it’s good, people will like it’, can come to our rescue.
But can we make it ‘good’?
Are we clever enough, talented enough, have we read the right books, got the right information, do we know enough about the craft? It can go on a bit when the negative questions creep in.
But all that’s for when we’re not writing, for when we’re not gripped by the idea, by the need to just get it out.
There are some that ask the big questions before they start writing, that plan and think about themes and ideas to suit a market, an audience. I’m guessing that these people are in the minority of writers. Maybe they shouldn’t be, but I’d guess they are. Maybe we should all plan more, think about markets, audiences, brands, commercialism… maybe we should all be much more aware of the other side of writing. Maybe there should have been a question mark there?