Why I write

The erudite and purportedly flippant Lee-Anne (also champion of the written word, chooks and dogs) at Is It Just Me, has kindly asked me to join a blog hop answering a few questions on Why I Write.

So, here goes, and I’d love to know your answers to these questions.

How does my writing differ from others in my genre?

Genre? No idea what genre I belong in, novel wise. I’ve always been the round-peg in the square hole. Is there a genre for romantic comedy/suspense with a dark twist? The book covers in ‘romantic comedy’ don’t quite match my story. I will work on this…

Like Pinky Poinker, I could blame Monty Python and The Young Ones, (I’d add Absolutely Fabulous) for encouraging my differences.

ab fab

Photo credit: http://bit.ly/1qhLVgu

But I’d also have to add the influence of my dear, one-of-a-kind scientist father who is somehow so culture/gender/race/sexuality-blind that everybody can relate to him. It’s something I aspire to, whether writing or not.


OK, he’s fashion blind too. Orange TOWELLING hat!

Should one write to a prescribed genre? I can’t control what comes out anyway, it’s a lot like having a tummy bug.

Why do I write?

Writing is caffeine for my soul.

When I’m pleased with how I’ve arranged my words, it feels sexier than chocolate and champagne in a hot tub with the man of my dreams. Probably because the happiness from writing is more attainable and lasts longer. Actually, now I’ve found this image …

hot tub

Photo credit: http://bit.ly/1ltsAFP

Why do I write? Like the psychologist Dan Gilbert says – we, as individuals, are a work in progress that mistakenly think our identities and personalities are finished. We live under the illusion that the person we are now is who we will remain for the rest of our lives. The writing journey has liberated me from that illusion, it’s helped me unfurl. I love that word. UNFURL.

Writing is like showing the world my insides. That’s scary but writing is greater fun than this fear. It’s also about connecting with people. I’ve also learnt to toughen up, to take constructive criticism on board, but not to hang my self-worth or the equilibrium of my soul on external opinions. Still, it’s the biggest shot in the arm when someone tells me they really enjoyed Arafura and/or the humour in the story.

Writing and reading can decrease our sense of isolation. We are social beings and besides, it’s cheaper than therapy.

How does my writing process work?

My writing process sounds simple, yet in reality, is fraught. I try to clear my mind of the everyday. It helps if I meditate or listen to music that appeals to my soul. But it can take a couple of days to get in the right zone. It’s not writers block, it’s about feeling light-hearted enough to be funny, or playful perhaps, to find my voice, or the voices of my characters.

Coffee helps. Praise helps. Praise rockets me to the sparkly zone pretty damn quickly.

Then, when I’m there, as Ann Lamott explains – “It’s tea-time, and all the dolls are at the table. Listen. It’s that simple.”

tea party 3

And this crazy… Photo credit: bit.ly/1vc0EY2

Except, like a crazy-lady/ steam train that can’t stop, my characters keep talking to each other – and I scribble conversations on scraps of paper, or in my phone – at red lights, in the middle of the night, even dash in and out of the shower in case I forget. (I really am going to get a whiteboard for the shower.) I look like one of those people who can talk on their phone hands free, except I don’t even have a phone or the earpiece. See? Crazy.

Reading other authors broadens my writing process too. It’s reassuring to see a famous writer break a rule. But as my old-head-on-young-shoulders daughter tells me, “You have to know the rules to break the rules.”

What I’m working on.

I’m working on the second book in the Arafura series, Arafura – Unfinished Business, which should be published in a couple of months, or just as soon as I take my meds for editing disease. Here is the cover, designed by the talented Michelle Rene Goodhew. I think Michelle Rene has walked the fine line of illustrating a cover implying danger but also a more light-hearted element.

Arafura final

The first book is Arafura – Blood, the Wet and Tears.

For this blog hop, Why I Write, I would like to pass the baton to the inclusive, generous Su Leslie at Zimmerbitch: Age is just a (biggish) number. (who understands that age is relative – my Dad would get that!)


and the irrepressible and forthright Shelley Sackier who claims she is all of the below, but she forgot to add her positive aura. Shelley has previously written a post of this kind and her response is at Peak Perspective,


Here are some other links to the Why I Write blog hop, which may interest you:

The Adventures of Pinky Poinker 




With Some Grace

and thanks again, Lee-Anne at Is It Just Me?

Why do YOU write?

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43 Responses to Why I write

  1. You should be feeling pretty sexy right now Susan… I think you arranged your words perfectly in this post.

  2. You are a darling. You’re a wordsmith! I’m waiting for my next laugh, reading your posts. 🙂

  3. Lee-Anne says:

    Agree with Pinky, totes! A beautifully worded (and thus very sexy post), Susan. Just love the pics (orange towelling hat notwithstanding) 😉

  4. Carrie Rubin says:

    “We live under the illusion that the person we are now is who we will remain for the rest of our lives.”—Loved that line. It’s so true, and yet when we look back on our lives and realize how much we’ve changed–whether true internal change or change brought on by outside forces–you’d think we’d know better.

  5. Thanks for visiting, Carrie, hope all is well. Think I just friended you on Goodreads?
    Dan Gilbert has a great TedX talk on The Psychology of Your Future Self.
    Cheers 🙂

  6. Really enjoyed this, S, and getting in on your process, your insides.

    “When I’m pleased with how I’ve arranged my words, it feels sexier than chocolate and champagne in a hot tub with the man of my dreams.” LOL

    The sequel cover rocks.

  7. Why do I write? I used to be a songwriter–but things got uncomfortably squishy with just two verses a bridge and a chorus, so I decided to expand. I feel free.

    Love the post, Susan. It’s wonderfully eye-opening to learn why other’s do the same as ourselves, and then discover the differences between us as well. Congratulations on the nearly next publication! And I must say, if you think your dad’s fashion sense leaves a little to be desired, than I’d have to point out that your mom wholly makes up for him. I’m totally crushin on that dress of hers.

    Thanks for all the great links to other bloggers. I’m off to explore. Cheers!

  8. Hello Shelley
    Feeling free is a very worthwhile goal, and I think I understand what you mean.
    A songwriter, wow, did you write the music and lyrics?
    PS – I thought my hot-pants were the go, actually, but didn’t want to show off. 🙂
    Have fun exploring.

  9. ChristineR says:

    I love a person who doesn’t let fashion cramp their style! That bloke in the hot tub looks to be having a pleasant experience. And your new book cover is stunning. 😀

    • Thanks for your comment about the cover. It’s brave but suits the storyline.
      I think that bloke in the hot tub is my type-couldn’t resist putting the pic in!
      Fashion can indeed cramp ones style, I agree. Life is too short, isn’t it? 🙂

  10. Debbish says:

    I’m drafted mine for tomorrow. It’s harder than you think to come up with the responses!!!!

    I love the ‘writing is caffeine for my soul’ quote – and the notion of ‘showing your insides’. So true. x

    • Hi Deb, looking forward to reading ‘why you write’, then. I think your neck of the woods with the wide sea and sky, and fantastic climate are cause enough to write. I spent many a wonderful summer staying with cousins in Bundaberg. 🙂

  11. jbw0123 says:

    Susan this is lovely! Simple and fraught. That says it all.

    I’ve been passed the baton, too, but my blog friends so far are all busy, or have already been tapped, and so am looking for other participants. Any tips?

  12. MeglyMc says:

    I want you to know that your analogy about the hot tub is making me realize something ugly about myself…that I’m incapable of hearing that term without heading Uncle Rico’s voice (Napoleon Dynamite) saying, “I’d be soakin’ it up in a hot tub with my soul mate”. I am a sick person…

  13. alexkx3 says:

    “Writing is caffeine for my soul” – I love that epigram! Really nice post, one can tell that you’re a natural writer.

  14. alexkx3 says:

    Huh? Now I’m confused :S I have one blog thespicerackblog, and there is another one called the moustache, but it’s pretty much dormant and unused.

    • Well, I’ve just followed both. Hello to Yana and yourself. I liked your self-effacing, thoughtful ‘About’ page.
      Good luck with Bob Dylan. I’m going through a Muse stage. I don’t think we get to consciously choose what music we like, it either speaks to us or it doesn’t.

  15. Writing is caffeine for my soul…great line. I really like the way you express yourself and I can see how your writing doesn’t fit into a box…it’s unique. 🙂

    • Hi Carol, My novel doesn’t fit neatly into the romantic genre either. I’m going to read Missi’s Dating Adventures in the next couple of months, after I finish editing the sequel. Have to remain focused for now, as you’d understand.

  16. I finally figured out that writing is why I’m here. I really don’t have a choice 🙂

    • Oh Michelle, I like that. It sounds like writing offers meaning for you. And I can relate to that. Your last post on allowing yourself to be selfish sometimes had me lost for words, kept deleting my words!! It was great! 🙂

  17. Thank you Susan. Writing does have meaning for me, but also, it’s like I have this mission where I’m supposed to give out information so people can find the happiness they are searching for and a balance life. It wasn’t always this way. I used to write fiction–mostly mysteries. Life is funny because sometimes what you think you are supposed to do is not really what you are here for. So I just surrender and let the writing take hold.

  18. Peekiequeen says:

    Loved your line “Writing is like showing the world my insides.” Yup! I totally get that as i also completely relate to the nagging conversations of characters that force you to step outside your life, or the shower, to record the “overheard” discourse they’re having. I think that new cover of Book 2 is mesmerizing and must get on your book #1. I promise one of these days. Cheers!

  19. kathymarris says:

    Caffeine for the soul – yep that pretty much describes how I feel about writing too! I love your style Susan and I will definitely be checking out your novel. Where do I buy it/download it?

    • Hello Kathy, love following your travels. You can find Arafura – Blood, the Wet and tears as an ebook on Amazon, but publishing more widely soon. Sequel is just around the corner. Thanks for your interest. 🙂

  20. When I finish the sequel I will be reading the books and poetry of blogger friends, I’ve decided, and writing posts. It will be a couple of months away, though. 🙂 🙂
    Glad you like the cover, hopefully it’s imposing, yet suggests a lighter tone too.

  21. Pingback: To all the writing perfectionists ... - Best Selling Book

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