I’ve been writing since I was about three, since before I learned how to spell, before I even learned how to speak properly. Of course, I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing until much later. I would wander around the back yard weaving stories in my head, and when my mother asked what I was doing, I’d reply, “Imagining, mom. Can’t you tell?” That’s still what I’m doing. I’m imagining. Imagining new worlds, and people, and circumstances. Nowadays, that imagination bleeds through my fingers into my keyboard and transmutes into a form that allows others to experience it with me. Why do I love writing? For the same reasons three-year-old me did. Because it’s fun, of course.
I love writing because it allows me to explore. It allows me to go on a journey as anyone, to anywhere, with anyone, at any time. How amazing is that? It poses a question: “What if?” And the answer to that question pushes both me and the reader to explore and find our own answers.
I love writing because it drives me to see the world through other people’s eyes. In order to write a good villain, for example, I have to be able to get in their head and experience what drives them. This often leads to asking extremely uncomfortable questions and wrestling with difficult answers, for both me and the reader. It forces us to see the shades of grey in a universe we once thought was black and white.
I love writing because it allows my voice to make a difference. Even if I’m writing silly books about dragons, or space ships, or mummies, I have a forum to say important things. It allows my voice to expose the reader to new perspectives, and new ideas, and ways of seeing the world. Huckleberry Finn may have been just a story about a mischievous kid, but it changed many people’s perspectives as to how they saw slavery. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not comparing my writing to the greatness of Mark Twain, and I’m not setting out to write books that change the world. But if I alter the perspective of even one person through my writing, that IS changing the world.
I love writing because it connects me to people. It allows me to transport strangers I’ve never met to a new world and take them on a journey. It allows me to touch other people’s lives, even if it’s just in a small way. It lets me take the reader on an emotional and intellectual roller-coaster from the comfort of their sofa. How cool is that?
I love writing because it allows me to express myself in a way that nothing else does. The paper is my canvas, the words are my paint, and my innermost soul is the paint brush. Writing allows me to create something that, to me at least, is beautiful. And when I’m gone, it will be a piece of me that endures. Strangers will still get to peer into my strange imagination, and be transported to the crazy worlds I created for us to explore.
I love writing because I love telling stories, just like my three-year-old self. In fact, the only difference now is that I’m better at it than I was then.
Oh, and I get paid for it now, which is pretty awesome.
Matthew Mitchell is the author of Beyond The End, and the upcoming Immortal Blues. As a dreamer and an avid fan of all things fantasy and sci-fi, Matthew began writing his own stories at the age of twelve (they were awful). He honed his storytelling skills running tabletop roleplaying games, and later, live-action roleplaying games. After a decade as a pediatric nurse, he decided to pursue a full-time career in writing, his first love.
Matthew has been practicing a variety of martial arts since he was nine, and is generally considered to be an encyclopedia of useless knowledge. He lives in Arlington, Texas with three dogs, a wolf, and the wolf’s fluffy cat.