It seems to me that we as writers see the world much differently than most. Every little sigh, every step, every fleeting thought is analyzed for a possible story. Overheard snippets of tune could become the backdrop of a masked ball; a friend's sigh could lead one to write a long and melancholy monologue; a crack in the sidewalk brings back a tidal wave of memories and the idea for yet another book.
Writers often live double lives. There is the life of the person, which consists of schoolwork, tasks, and other mundane and usual activities. And then there is the life of the artist inside; the artist who cares not a bit for food or sleep, only to unburden herself through the flowings of her pen. The artist lacks the common sense of the person, and she feels much more at home seated at a desk with either pen and ink or an open Microsoft Office Word document before her, as opposed to the person who prizes fellowship and conversation. The person enjoys her companions; the artist analyzes their every slight glance, every guarded sigh. It is as if we are constantly taking notes on how to be better writers, how to better capture that elusive moment on the page . . . and in essence, we are.
It's hard for someone who does not write to understand the emotion that comes over us when we finish a perfect scene, a realistic description, a page-turning chapter. They do not feel the burden on our shoulders when a scene is living itself out in our head and simply must be written down. They never hear the anguished pleas of characters who rarely have good timing for their complaints. They cannot believe we would gain so much pleasure in simple words written on a page. What is there to like about writing? they ask us. Why would you want to bother writing everything down, when it happens every day?
It's because we seek to understand things. Rather than accepting everything in the world as it is, we tirelessly try to make sense of life's deepest questions. We struggle over every line. We attempt to capture the essence of human nature in our books so that readers will say, I thought I was the only one . . . We want to understand life.
And so, we write.