Writers and those astounded by the weirdness of writers always seem to ask this question. Most of us answer with a resounding “I am called to write” or “Can’t not write” (and damn the double negatives!). Recently, I attended a writers “conference” wherein two honest people said they became writers to earn money. Money? Ha, ha, laughed I. What person in his or her proverbial right mind would expect to earn money writing? Ah, one was a medical writer. The other wrote business articles. Okay. I suppose if you learned a modicum of grammar and sentence structure in Writing 101, you can write non-fiction (although great non-fiction still requires talent). However, to be a writer, to cast yourself in that mold, forsaking all living things to allow yourself the liberty of going anywhere, doing anything, engaging in multidimensional excursions with minute symbols splayed across the page like so many warring ants, opening your breast to the grand target: beat me, degrade me, cut me down, reject my best work, pass off my years of research as momentary entertainment, for I am a writer–now that takes more chutzpah than a mere seeker of money would ever possess.
The urge comes from beyond. What we write comes from beyond. And, if you don’t want to sleep with the light on at night, you won’t think about that for too long.