It’s probably easier for me to tell you all the reasons I don’t write. I don’t write for money. Or fame. Or to work through any psychological trauma. I don’t even write because, as many authors say, I have to; because I would die if I couldn’t put pen to paper. I’m not even sure I write because I feel I have something important to say.
I write because I love it. It’s so trite to say that, and I wish I had a deeper, more noble motive. I wish I wrote because I wanted to change the world or because I had a grand political purpose. But nope. For me, writing is an entirely selfish act. I write because it’s the one thing that when I’m doing it, I don’t feel like I should be doing something else.
Like all authors, I started as a reader. I would escape into worlds where heroes and villains and gods and monsters did battle. Where children were the stars and adults merely obstacles blocking their way to victory. Reading gave me a sense of power, a sense of belonging. I was never alone when with a book.
It was a simple extension to start inventing these stories myself. I had a little red typewriter when I was eight and I used to bash out stories about monsters with two heads called Fluffy and heroes with eyebrows like mating caterpillars (I’m proud of that line to this day). I felt like a god.
Today, many, many, years later, I still do. When I write, I have complete control over the worlds I’ve built. I get to create characters then put words in their mouths and life in their limbs. I’m like a little girl playing with her toys. Only this time, I get to share those games with anyone who wants to pick up my books.
I write because as the youngest of three girls I was ignored and interrupted a lot. And when writing, no one can do either of those things. It’s like waving a giant flag that says, “I am here. I exist.”
I write because I make sense when I’m writing. The overactive imagination that got me into trouble in school, the endless useless bits of information my magpie mind has collected over the years, and the fact I would happily live in my PJs and never leave the house all make sense when I’m writing, in a way they never do when I’m out there in the real world.
And finally, I write because what other job can you do while wearing a dinosaur onesie?
Kim Curran is the award-nominated author of books for young adults, including Shift, Control and Delete. She works in advertising and is obsessed with the power of the media on young minds. She is a mentor at the Ministry of Stories and for the WoMentoring Project, and lives in London with her husband and too many books.