The Hardest Question

Writers sometimes get asked what I often think of as the hardest question - 

Why do you write? 

It's tough because writing means so much to us we can struggle to explain. 

However! A few thoughts - 

Writing has taught me more about myself, and the world, than anything else I've ever done in life. 

It forces you to think deeply about characters - people - what makes them tick, why they are what they are, and why they do the things they do.

Writing is also an invitation to explore the world.

Either physically, as I've been fortunate to do, travelling all over talking about my books and teaching. 

Or intellectually, as you research so many different places and periods of time. 

With its storytelling, writing gives you a sense of why life's events unfold the way they do; catalysts and origins, and the way actions and reactions are interconnected. 

And all that before you even get to the wonders of learning a new craft, and working, working, working at it to improve your skills. 

Another of the simple delights of writing is entertaining people. Prompting thoughts, feelings and understandings they may never otherwise have had. 

One wonderful example was waiting for me at Paddington Station in London as I travelled to Devon this week to do some BBC work - 


A certain bear who has brought joy to millions from many generations recognised me as a famous author and broadcaster, and just insisted on having his photo taken with me. 

Which brings me to the last in this, my quick list of why I write - 

Who doesn't enjoy living in their own fantasy world?