There’s something that drives me forward in life, and I want to understand it. Don’t you? There’s some quote I’ve heard a dozen times that doesn’t have a single source now if it ever did: “I write to discover why I write.” The same quote comes in different forms: “I dance to find out why I dance,” or even, “I live in order to learn why I’m alive.” It’s all the same idea. To be honest, most of the time when I hear someone say this, I suspect they say it more for style than for truth.
As a kid, I figured that a young man became a writer by deciding to be one. I only needed to decide to start exercising, to start learning Japanese, to start reading the collected works of Shakespeare with enough sincere gusto that my goals would draw to me as if on the end of a string.