No matter how much inspiration you draw from family, friends, those five people you always see at the coffee shop but never talk to, when its time for pen to meet paper, in that moment, the writer is alone. There may be people around, but the writer no longer exists completely in the real world. They have entered a realm that only exists within their minds, to converse with a vast community whose existence is only possible because the writer has caused them to be. Here, the writer treads the familiar paths of a world that has never been, and they hunt for the words to put that world on paper, so they might invite other people to enter it.
Because that’s the ultimate goal; sharing the world of the imagination with others. Making people see the real world through the lens of your own mind. Helping them understand the peculiar language of your thoughts.
But you can’t invite people in, until you’ve tethered that world to reality via the alphabet. To value their company in your world, you must first wander it alone, ferreting out all its secrets, learning its surface better than you know your own neighborhood. You get to know its people, learning their likes, dislikes, hopes, and fears. You laugh when they laugh, and cry when they cry (until you laugh at the thought of how angry your friends will be when they read that scene), until they are as real to you as the friends who may never forgive you for letting their favorite characters die. Then you give them bodies of paper, with ink for blood, and breathe life into them. You build them paper houses, in paper towns, held together with bookbinder’s glue and protected by bookshelves. Then, when the world is complete, and your work is done, you give your own, precious, private universe to the world, to do with it what it will. Some will hate it, some will mock, some simply ignore it. But a few, a beautiful, bizarre troupe you would never befriend otherwise, will find themselves on your pages, and love your world almost as much as you do.
At least, that’s what writing is to me.
Maybe that’s why I love it so much.