Why do you write?

24/06/2015 Discussions, Writing 8

Why do you write?I write…

  • …because I’m good at it.

I’m not good at a lot of things: I can’t draw, for example, or paint, or make things, and I’m not great at Maths or Science. I can’t speak any other languages beside English and GCSE level German, I can’t play an instrument and I can’t do perfect make-up…but I can write. I can take words and fashion them into what I hope are half-decent sentences, and I can order them so that they have meaning. Sometimes it’s hard – really hard in fact – and I hate every single word that I painstakingly pour onto the page. But other times I read back my writing and think to myself ‘this isn’t half bad’. I never think it’s perfect (I don’t believe any writer ever does) but sometimes I think it’s OK, and that’s when all the hard work seems worth it.

  • …to create.

I’m a strong believer that everyone should have some form of creative expression in their life, and seen as I’m not very artistic or musically talented, writing is my chosen form.

To me there’s just something so fulfilling about having created something, and having created something that only you could create (if that makes sense?). No two writers will write the exact same piece of writing, even if set the same task or exercise, and that’s because it’s an expression of the self, and no two people are alike.

  • …to communicate.

As I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog, I’m quite shy, so it’s fair to say that verbal communication isn’t my strong suit. In conversations I often feel as if I don’t have enough time to think about what I want to say next, so I usually end up saying something stupid or boring (and then have to mentally beat myself up for hours afterwards!). Writing, however, offers a form of communication that gives you time to think and put into words what you mean, instead of it coming out garbled.

Yes, this does mean that writing is a constructed form of communication, in that it has been crafted by the writer, but that doesn’t make it any less authentic. In fact in many ways I think it makes it more authentic. Writing is a form of communication removed from social inhibitions and conventions and so can often be a truer expression of the self (even if what you’re writing is fictional).

  • …to escape.

Much like reading, writing can be a form of escapism. You can say anything, be anyone, go anywhere (even places that don’t exist), create worlds, destroy them, fall in love, break up, travel the world, or even the galaxy…the possibilities are literally endless. As long as you can imagine it, it can happen.

And whilst my life is far from terrible, sometimes it can be nice just to slip into a world of your own making, and the great thing is, you can take your readers along for the journey as well. It’s basically like translating your daydreams onto paper!

  • …because it’s cathartic.

No one is 100% happy all the time, and we all have negative thoughts and feelings sometimes. In this way writing can be immensely helpful as a way to get out these bad feelings. Whether you transform them into a chilling horror novel, or simply scribble them as they are in a journal, writing can be a pretty effective form of therapy!

  • …because I love it!

Why do anything with your spare time that you don’t enjoy? I can’t always say that I feel like writing – there are days when I just can’t be bothered, or try and can barely squeeze a single word out of my brain – but at the end of the day I always return to it. I can’t imagine a life where I don’t write, even if I never get published and no one else ever reads it. I write principally for the love of it, and I think that’s a good a reason as any to do it!

So why do you write?

8 Responses to “Why do you write?”

  1. Trinae

    Great article and good question to think about. I write for a lot of similar reasons; however, I mainly write because it’s the only talent I have. I can’t draw to save my life. I tried my hand at music… not so much. When I found writing, I never looked back.

    • Laura

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels like writing is their only talent! I did try to learn to play the guitar years ago, and I am now trying again, but I don’t quite think I have the same natural instinct towards it as I feel I do with writing.

  2. Ardelia

    “Writing is a form of communication removed from social inhibitions and conventions and so can often be a truer expression of the self (even if what you’re writing is fictional).” This is pure gold, Laura! This sentence really made an impression on me. And it’s so true. You wrote that so eloquently. (Yes, I am totally gushing about your sentence. :))

    I write because I enjoy it. I’ve got a few stories that I write off and on. Usually when I work on one of them it’s because I have this deep desire to write. That’s all I want to do. Just sit down and write.

    I’m also much more eloquent when I write than when I speak. I have time to think, edit, rephrase, and rewrite. I don’t have those luxuries when speaking. I also don’t speak up if I’m in a group larger than four, so there’s that, too.

    I also write to learn more about myself. Some of the characters I create are really similar to me, and looking at the way they react and their motivations, I learn something new about me.

    This was such an awesome post! 🙂

    • Laura

      Thanks! 🙂
      Writing because you enjoy it is definitely the best reason to write in my opinion, and I find that when I work on my fictional pieces it tends to be because I just want to write.
      And I definitely get what you mean about writing to learn more about yourself. I think because writing is self expression it can say so much about the writer, and I often see little bits of myself in my characters.

  3. Jackie

    Every reason you listed are my reasons too, but I would say my top three reasons are this:
    1. To communicate. I have so many ideas rushing through my head that my mouth cannot keep up. I’ve been known to get half way through a sentence and just stop because my mind had already moved on to a different thought or I end up going off on unrelated tangents, totally lose my audience, and then forget about what I started talking about in the first place. The people that are closest with me have grown accustomed to this, but when I’m talking with new people I get so anxious that sometimes I get really light-headed and sometimes I stutter, which makes the whole situation so much more embarrassing for me. When I write though, it allows me to organize and communicate my thoughts better

    2. To escape. Sometimes I just feel so stuck, but writing lets me explore. Lets me adventure. It fills me with curiosity and excitement (kind of like what reading does).

    3. It’s cathartic. Not everything I write is fiction. I’ve done a fair amount of journaling for over a decade, and I cannot fathom how I would have survived without it. I’m one of those people who, because I’m private/I don’t want to feel like a burden/suck at speaking, bottle everything up inside. If I didn’t have writing, I probably would have combusted by now!

    Also, it’s just stinkin’ fun! Some people like knitting. Some people like sailing. Some people like running. I like writing!

    • Laura

      I get what you mean about having too many ideas in your head that your mouth can’t keep up because that happens to me sometimes too. Usually though I’ll start a sentence and then it will come out completely different than I thought and not actually mean what I was trying to say, and I think it’s because I don’t have time to think properly about what I’m trying to say, and I’m thinking too many different things at once.
      Most of what I write aside from my blog is fictional, but I had dabbled with journaling, and would definitely like to do more of it as it has been very cathartic when I have done it. I tend to bottle things up too, so it would probably help me with that.
      Thanks for commenting! 🙂

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