I doubt that writers are people “who need to write,” as some people say. That claim seems a bit limited and dramatic.
But writing does seem to exercise of a part of the brain that, in some people, wants a lot of exercise and can’t easily get that exercise another way.
I write because in my writing I can play with abstract concepts in a repetitive, sometimes-obsessive fashion that I couldn’t do in conversation; my play is intense and full of self-reference.
My writing has been one of my longest loving relationships. I remember writing with my first solo glass of wine in my pre-teens, tapping wildly on an electric typewriter in my brother’s room; I remember writing as identity-formation in high school, in my jeans with song lyrics safety-pinned to my inner thigh; I remember writing as it became my career goal in college.
I have been working on the same novel for seven years—a story about a 13-year-old girl name Clara who is kidnapped to the underworld and given simple instructions for her release: “Create a work of art. No one will judge it—you just make it, and you’re free.” But her anxiety about producing something memorable paralyzes her.