The Real Reason Why I Write

The bigger you are...

Because I love it, I’m good at it, I love to play with words, and work with words as much as read them. Words thrill me the way you put them together, mix them up, tweak them, select them, reorder them and they speak back to you in all kinds of different ways. Make you laugh, cry, cringe, and draw you into the drama and danger!

Okay, okay, do you want to know the real reason why I write? Because it’s safe. Not much can go wrong sitting on a chair in front of the screen, or balancing a laptop on your knee.

I was a clumsy child, born with two left feet. I fell over them all the time along with any stray hairs left lying on the ground. My orthopaedic surgeon once asked what on earth I’d done to my knees, since the damage to them resembled that of a champion skier. I couldn’t explain, but, now, thinking about it, I think it was all that falling down I did as a kid. And what did I land on every single time? Yep, my knees. It’s a wonder my nickname wasn’t Scabbers. (And no rat jokes thank you!)

My knees wore scabs more than shorts. The pair of them. Yet, I had two sisters who could run like hares and won all the school races. Me, where did I come? Last, and that’s only if I finished the race because I had a bad habit of falling over three strides in.

I did grow into my clumsiness and even grew up to play a reasonable game of tennis. I could swim rather well too. (It’s hard to fall down in a swimming pool.) I could have been an Olympian, the like of Shane Gould, if only my parents had given up some sleep and taken me to training at 4 a.m. Just for a few years until I got faster.

Writing I can do sitting down. Nothing to bang my head on, crash into, slip over or trip up on. Love it. But it’s the words that keep me coming back. I can lose myself in others drama and danger and still get up from my chair unscathed.

Not like a simple act of trying to find a connection on the back of the television the other night. Stepping out from behind the television table, I couldn’t get my second foot to follow the first. I don’t know what it even caught on, but down I went – hard. OUCHIES! And all for what – a Nintendo cable connection. Another dangerous sport! So no more games or sporty activity for me. I’m sticking to writing.

Hope you can’t prove me wrong really, but fess up in the comments if you’ve had any diabolical disasters while writing. Otherwise, tell me instead what do you love about writing and being a writer?

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Sally Murphy" alt="Sally Murphy">

Sally Murphy

Ouch! I get it Chris – I often wear bruises like this too. Not sure I’ve ever managed a writing related injury but I had a bruise deeper and darker than that one right down my thigh earlier this year – from teaching year 9 drama!

October 17, 2011 at 1:53 pm
Sheryl Gwyther" alt="Sheryl Gwyther">

Sheryl Gwyther

Sorry I had a little grin with your account of clumsy disasters, Chris! 😉 Glad you’re sticking with writing.
The only accidents I’ve had when writing is from sitting too close to the edge of my wheeled office chair, having it slip out from under me and landing on the floor – with only my dignity ruffled.
I love writing and I’ve thought about why before – the most honest thing I can say is it’s the best feeling in the world when a story slides, creeps or roars from my imagination like magic. What could possibly beat that? 🙂

October 17, 2011 at 1:57 pm
    christinemareebell" alt="christinemareebell">


    Hi Sheryl,

    Glad to hear it was only your dignity ruffled. Office chairs can get a bit contrary some days.

    Love your description of how story slides, creeps and roars out of your imagination. Conjures up magic images just reading about it. I agree, nothing beats it. 🙂


    October 17, 2011 at 3:38 pm


Love this post, Chris.

Hope your poor leg is feeling better. I could really relate to the ‘clumsy disasters’. Must a a writerly thing. We are so busy creating wonderful worlds in our head that we lose track of what’s happening in the real world:)

I guess that’s what I love about writing…escaping into the world of my imagination:)


October 17, 2011 at 8:21 pm
Corinne Fenton" alt="Corinne Fenton">

Corinne Fenton

Hi Chris. What a funny post (I enjoyed it very much) – probably because I could relate to it easily. Writing is the ‘safer’ option for me too – my family nickname is actually ‘Wreck’ – (true, not a story at all!)

October 18, 2011 at 12:14 am
    christinemareebell" alt="christinemareebell">


    Hi Corinne

    “Wreck”, oh dear, not sure whether to laugh or not. You so don’t seem the awkward type, more stylish, but then I guess I try to avoid showing that side of me in public too. Let’s just stay “safe” and keep writing.


    October 18, 2011 at 1:24 pm
Dale Harcombe" alt="Dale Harcombe">

Dale Harcombe

A bit of humour never goes astray. Thanks Chris for your post.
Why I love writing? Who else gets to talk to invented characters and make up stories about them and join in their joys and sorrows and still claim to be sane? Only writers.

October 18, 2011 at 9:11 am
    christinemareebell" alt="christinemareebell">


    Hi Dale

    Yes, you’re right, if others do that talking to invisible people and laughing and crying thing with them we writers do, the knowing nods would start indeed.

    Thank goodness we can claim creativity or poetic licence. (I won’t tell, if you don’t.) 🙂


    October 18, 2011 at 1:29 pm
Angela Sunde" alt="Angela Sunde">

Angela Sunde

Hmm, this reminds me of the time a chair was accidentally dropped on my head during a writing workshop. I even have a photo similar to yours! The bruises lasted for weeks. I hope yours heals quickly – Arnica cream is the answer.

October 25, 2011 at 6:10 pm
Alison Reynolds" alt="Alison Reynolds">

Alison Reynolds

Reading the above I am starting to wonder how safe it is sitting and writing. Especially with one finger in a splint!
I haven’t fallen off my chair, but often do horrible ouchy, mashing things when fiddling around with computer leads and computers. I thought I got a finger stuck in the back of the box once, but managed to get it out … eventually.

Hope the leg is better!

October 27, 2011 at 3:43 pm
    christinemareebell" alt="christinemareebell">


    Oh no, Alison, pinky still in the splint. Not good.

    I’m not sure if the act of writing is the problem, but there does seem to be a strong building of evidence to suggest we writers seem to have a few “safety” issues. Shh! We’d better not let the insurance companies know what klutzes we are. 🙂

    Take care of your fingers, we need to them to keep writing many more of your wonderful books.

    PS: Leg is much better now.

    October 28, 2011 at 8:05 am

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