On writing: why I write

Posted by Annalisa Conti on August 24, 2016.

All writers seem to have always written, and this could be quite an accurate summary of my story, too.

I've always enjoyed writing in school, and not only for class-related reasons: I was a teenager when I started to write my first novel. It was a complex fantasy saga, where a young female heroin embarked on a quest for a magic stone, which could save her world from a terrible threat, accompanied by a group of unlikely travel mates. It was inspired by the many fantasy and sci-fi novels I was devouring at the time, from the classic Avalon series by Marion Zimmer Bradley, to my far favorite David Eddings and his Belgariad and Malloreon sagas. My masterpiece was adventurous and passionate, and of course it never got finished, as I found myself swept away in the whirlpool called college.

After graduating I started to work in a highly demanding business consulting job, and writing ended up on the list of things I wished I had time to do. To be honest, it wasn't even close to the top of that list, which was heavily dominated by, in order:

  1. Sleep
  2. Eat
  3. Meet up with at least one non-work-related person once a week

You won't believe how hard it was to achieve the third point on the list, and therefore how out of reach anything beyond that was. But my job had everything I wanted: I traveled, I had responsibilities, I was challenged and I could learn something new and compelling every day. My life was full and exciting.

Until it wasn't.

After many years, I realized I couldn't feel the vibe anymore: the music kept playing, but I was tired of dancing. The life I had loved now sounded empty.

That's when I started to write.

I started to write my first novel, ALL THE PEOPLE, because I needed an escape from my daily life, because I wanted to go to sleep at night and tell myself I had done something valuable in my day. I also needed to share my thoughts and my feelings, and I found it therapeutic and eye-opening to see them appear on the screen as a result of my fingers chasing after letters on the keyboard. Writing ALL THE PEOPLE helped me cope with and face the changes in my life: I know it sounds superficial, but my work had always been very important to me, and not caring about it anymore made me question who I was. The novel was my subconscious response to the challenge: I hadn't changed after all, I still cared about my work, it was just a different work - being a writer.

And that's why I kept writing: because it makes me feel alive.

But there's more: why do I publish my works, if the benefit is just for me? Well, it's not. I imbibe my novels with my thoughts and my fears, and I tell stories about overcoming those same fears, because I hope I could help somebody else with my words. And that's also probably why I don't write fantasy stories, even if it is one of the genres I prefer to read: I feel the urge to be real, to face and overcome concrete challenges.

Where does then THE W SERIES fit in, with its superhero protagonist? Well, that's true, W has superpowers, but the adventures in the series will hopefully reveal the human side of W: the moral, the strive for justice, the normal problems even a superhero has to face on a daily basis, the grief, the regrets. W is one of us.

I write because it makes me feel alive.