I visit a lot of writing blogs, mostly just to read, and that is a common theme. Writers seem to search for meaning.
I have given up questioning long ago. I simply HAVE to write. I HAVE to take pictures. I HAVE to analyze things. Shrug. Let the others wonder why.
Sometimes it seems such a waste, this writing business. Sometimes I bubble over, most times I realize I don't really have anything important to say. But what would life be without writing? What would life be without taking pictures? What would life be without trying to put the puzzle together? The alternative is not really an option. Whatever else I may do, I must continue to write. Somehow (I think) if I write long enough, I will get all the drek pumped out of my brain and the good stuff will be able to come out.
I don't think Dickens had to wait this long, though.
Did the masters also have their doubts? Or did the words just flow from Dickens' quill like a silvery stream, with no effort on his part? I've tried to research what famous authors had to say about why they wrote, but, in truth, most of them didn't know why they wrote, they only knew they had no choice. Lost souls, like me.
George Orwell spoke about motivation, that you had to have some sort of inner passion that you cared about even to write fiction. He said his motivation was oppressive government and the plight of the average serf-citizen. He said he was inspired by the Spanish Civil War and after 1937 said he never wrote anything that wasn't driven by some sort of improvement in the human condition. Social Democracy was Orwell's driving passion. 1984. Animal House. I guess I get it now. This was after he got all the bad poetry out of his system.
I've always liked Ernest Hemingway's terse, pithy style of writing, so I thought maybe he had some terse pithy advice. But he didn't know either. He confided to F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1934: "I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket."
For every thousand writers, there are a thousand individual reasons why they write. I just like to tell the stories of things.