I am a writer. I've been in the process of writing something – anything – since I was a young child. I didn't start wanting to write for a living until I was much older – in my early twenties – but I always wanted to write for myself. It made me happy, kept me sane, let me vent, allowed me to experiment with all aspects of the human condition. What a perfect hobby. Then one day the bug hit me and I found I wanted to do it for a living. I don't need to be rich and famous, but it would be nice to pay my bills with my talent.
This is what I've come to understand: writers are a different breed. Like painters or musicians, they have their own language that only other writers understand. Nothing fancy or foreign; a simple communication that we all just get. No, I don't want to tell you what I'm currently working on. No, I don't want to tell you what topics I usually write about in my work. No, I'm not doing schoolwork – I actually ENJOY WRITING!!!! If you want to become the weirdo of High School, just be a writer. Most kids have trouble forcing a pen to paper for an assignment and the fact that you do it for fun mystifies others.
Life is interesting. Even when it sucks there's something to write about it. You've had a week from hell at work and need to vent? Go for it! Your day was perfect and you wish you could share your joy with the world? Knock yourself out! You want to communicate an issue that you feel deeply passionate about? Please, be my guest. You feel like screaming at a family member for years of sibling rivalry? All you need is a pen and paper and no one gets hurt. Is there any other passion so universal and worthwhile?
Writers are average people with average wants and needs and even average personalities. Is it any wonder we write about something more thrilling other than ourselves? Yet we make the normal interesting, use it to connect to the reader, share a bond with anyone who has been in that situation. Readers have read the same stories over and over since words were first put into print but they come back for more, anxiously awaiting the perspective of another storyteller. The story is not always important; it's how much you've invested in the characters' lives that makes you return page after page to see how it will end.
When you first meet a character in a book it's like meeting a person in real life: superficial and polite. The more you get the know the character/person, the more interested you become in what's happening in his life, and the more you seek out his company instead of remaining mere acquantances. By the end of the book/life, you are fully vested in this person and want to keep in touch to make sure he will be okay. And when the book/life is over, you mourn for a period about its passing, because you have enjoyed being part of it. You've grown with the book/person and it has changed you someway, no matter how infitesimal.
As a writer I empathize with every character I create. They are pieces of my own life and the lives I've shared within my existence. When I finish a novel, I know the characters and I are going our separate ways and will likely not meet again. It's like waving goodbye to a friend as his car drives away, knowing he will be living in another state now and the only time you can see him is when you pick up the phone – or your previous novel – and say hello.