Why I Write – Florrie Jackson

IMG_20160225_191224159I write because I can’t stop.

I write every day. It’s not a chore; it’s not a pain. I just can’t stop.

Even when I don’t set a pen to paper or open my computer, I’m writing. If I’m having a conversation with someone, I’m writing it out in my head. Every time someone says something, my head says, “she said, he said.” It’s only a matter of time before I’ll actually write it down on paper.

I wrote my first book when I was ten. I had thought it was enough, before, to just write in my head. But when my mother suggested I write a little book for my grandfather for his seventieth birthday, the idea was infectious.

I tried writing some stories on paper. They were all fictional, fantasy, and awful. They all started out as though there was a lot more to come. I eventually settled on a story my grandfather had told me himself. I gave it to my mother, and she typed it up for me. It became a twenty-page book, with twenty-point font, and enormous illustrations, that took me fifteen minutes to write. She sent it to a self-publishing company, and they sent us a book. When I saw it, I felt like a real author.

I kept writing. I wrote non-stop every single day. I tried to write a novel, and I threw it all out. I tried again and got thirty pages in before I decided it was awful. By the time I turned twelve, I had a quite a few books, all unfinished, all no longer than thirty pages.

I tried again, typing the same story as before, this time in a fantasy world. I got a rush at the end of every day of my summer vacation, when I saw one, two, five, ten more pages than the day before. I just couldn’t stop. I’d already written the whole story out in my head a hundred times before. It was just a matter of how fast my fingers could go, typing it all up.

When school started, I read it all over again.

It was really terrible. I’d skipped things, rushed things, my characters made awkward leaps of logic, said awkward things.

Somehow, though, I couldn’t throw it out. I thought, once, that maybe writing wasn’t for me. That I should stop.

Then a new girl at my school said she’d written a book. I told her I was writing one too, and we couldn’t stop talking.

What she said were the most fascinating things I’d ever heard. She talked about her process, and her story, and her characters, and it made me so happy, happier than I had ever been, to hear those words from someone who thought like I did. We talked for hours, and we texted for hours. We traded books and met each other in the hallways to tell the other about a new idea.

On New Year’s Eve, I decided to try again. It was the best choice I’ve ever made.

I don’t think I’d ever before been happier than I was that January. I started a new story, something totally different; something with no page-count goal, or word-count goal, or any sort of goals at all other than to just to complete it.

I did complete it. It was the most fun I had ever had. I wrote between classes. I wrote during snack and lunch. I wrote during theater rehearsals. I told my friend about it all, and she was actually interested. I was ecstatic.

When I finished it, one hundred pages and two sleepless weeks later, I forced myself to take a break from writing so I could study my lines for the play, but I never really stopped. Between the time I finished my book and the beginning of spring break, I had planned out three completely different sequels in my head.

When spring break began, I decided to go somewhere else with my writing, try something longer this time. Something I would actually do something with. What I would do, I had no idea. For once, it seemed like I had something to look forward to other than going on vacation and rereading the Harry Potter series for the thousandth time. I planned it all out and wrote the first seven chapters. They weren’t bad; they just seemed out of order. Rather than throwing them out, I just put them in a different folder. When summer started, I began it all over again.

I wrote all through summer vacation. I finished my book on Harry’s Potter’s birthday, and I edited it on my phone on vacation as best as I could. I sent it to my friend and she almost immediately responded, “The song is called Yellow Submarine, not We All Live in A Yellow Submarine.”

I felt so happy when I read that because it told me I wasn’t alone in writing, and that she actually cared. When she sent me her book, I read it and told her what I thought of the main character’s friends and the strange weather. We both understood. We both understood what it is like to write, how addicting and invigorating it is to get it out on paper, to have it exist when it doesn’t fit in our heads anymore.

She told me that it might sound wrong and insulting, but when she reads my writing, the first word that comes to her head is soft.

That is the first word that comes to my head when I think about my writing.

Writing does not have to be solitary. It can be, but no one can do everything on their own. You have to ask for help, comfort, anything and everything when you’re writing. I never lock myself in my room for hours to write. I open my computer and start texting my friends, while writing. They keep me here on Earth instead of somewhere else. And it would be a stupid lie to say that doesn’t make my writing richer, better, clearer.

Writing gives me a purpose. Writing makes me happy. Writing keeps me up at night. Writing helps me fall asleep.

Writing is what makes me tick. The world we live in is not endless. But our imaginations are. We can always think of something new, always go somewhere else.

I write because I can. I write because I can’t stop. I write because when I do, I feel happier than I am at any other time. I write because it is satisfying to see the words on the page. I write because I have nothing else that makes me as happy.

Writing is my Everything. If I can’t express aloud, I express it on paper. Writing is as finite as the number of words in the world, and that number is endless. Every moment of every day, someone says something that has never been said before.

There is no good reason, most of the time, not to write. But there are an infinite number of reasons to do so. For me, it is not a choice. But it is a something that makes me happy, that keeps me going.

For me, writing is happiness and freedom and the ability to let my imagination free.

Florrie Jackson is in eighth grade and she loves to read, write, curl (the sport, not hair), play with her dog, play the piano, compose, learn languages, and go to school. She types and writes almost exclusively in colored pens, and pencils, and ink and runs a creative writing club at her school.

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3 thoughts on “Why I Write – Florrie Jackson

  1. At 14, you know more about yourself as a writer than most of us do at 52. Thank you for reminding why I started to write and how it was once fun and can be again.

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