Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Why I write

By Julie

I wrote this piece a year or two ago as a timed writing assignment for a class with Barbara Samuel, now also writing as Barbara O’Neal. A fabulous author, Barbara also teaches occasional online classes about finding your writer's voice and about the emotional aspects of writing. We spend most of our learning time as writers focused on craft, when nurturing the soul and discovering our calling and place in the world of writing is just as important. I highly recommend taking one of Barbara's classes, joining an Artist's Way class in your area or online, or finding something similar that works for you. I tweaked this a bit, but most of what I originally wrote remained true.

I write, simply, because I have to. When I don't write, I feel as if I’m wandering, lost in a cloud that hovers over a grey, drizzly world. Sometimes even when I write, I feel as if the world is grey and drizzly, but the writing helps me cope.

I write because I'm good at it. It makes me feel like I have worth as a creative, growing person. I read what others write and think, “Yeah, I can do that. Maybe I can even do it better.”

I write because my brain is like an auditorium full of people chattering, crying, and laughing about what’s going on in their lives, and writing helps me get it down. In the middle of their noise, I find stories crying out to be told. (Nope, I haven't been diagnosed yet.)

I write because I get bored in my world. It can be routine and repetitive, and I need stimulation. My brain needs to be actively engaged in thinking about people and who they are and why they do the things they do.

I write because I want approval, often. I'm trying to get past this, but there it is. When I write, I want to show it to someone and hear them say, “Wow! This really makes me think. You're very talented.”

I write because I'd love to make enough money to do this job for the rest of my life. I’d rather write for a career than anything else I can imagine. Anything else seems like putting in time until I die or the world comes to an end, whichever comes first. I’d rather do something that keeps me interested and engaged than something just to receive a paycheck. Paying the bills with writing money would be a nice perk.

I write because everything seems to come across the lens of my brain as a framed photo or a vignette of sorts, telling me I need to record it. I believe most days I notice things many others don't have the capacity to notice, or would just as soon ignore. It makes me happy when I see that chunk of type, telling the story nobody else might have bothered to write down.

I write because objects and events are rarely simply things I can take at face value. They make me think of other things, that make me think of other things, that make me think of other things. Everything is a catalyst. I see one shape, and it reminds me of another. I hear one story, and I’m off and running with another. The only way to make sense of any of these things is to capture them with my pen.

I write because it keeps my monsters at bay. The ones that tell me I’m not talented enough or gifted enough or that I’m not much good at anything else. The ones that tell me I should sleep all day.

I write to live, and live to write. It's nearly as easy as breathing, though some days, I wonder why the words won't flow. On those days, or in those weeks or months at a time, I feel as if I’m holding my breath, floating just below the surface, when I’m supposed to burst from the water in a brilliant ray of light.

I write because I write, and the more I write, the more I write.

Now you. Why do you write? Take ten minutes and write without stopping. Be honest. It's for you! If you want to post it on your blog, leave us a comment with a link.


  1. It's taken a while to get on this, but finally i did.
    If that doesn't show up, go to whitaker legacy dot blogspot dot com. Thanks for giving me inspirrrrraition!!!!

  2. Hi, Julie,

    I enjoy Barbara Samuels' work, too. I'm pleased to discover your WWW blog. I accepted your challenge and blogged about why I write on my blog site, with a link to you so my readers can enjoy your posts, too.


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