Writing. It’s hard to explain to non-writers. Why do we write? What’s so great about it? What's the point? Why spend hours creating something that might not be seen by anyone? Why why why?
English author William Somerset Maugham puts it very well:
“We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to.”
As an introvert who used to shy away and cry at the thought of engaging in spoken conversation, I found self-expression through reading and writing. These were safe spaces for me. Pawing through books sparked a love of written content. Going on to produce writing of my own was a personal refuge and served as my escape from the big, scary world.
Writing is a security blanket for so many.
As someone who is in deep love with the idea of escape, writing is an extremely helpful tool. Writing can serve as a form of self-care (need some tips?) and can help take our minds off what’s bothering us. Who can resist that?
Writing gives me an opportunity to think and process my feelings. Through written word, I found that I was able to present my thoughts and feelings in a manner that was the best reflection of them. Taking time to explore my thoughts helps me understand myself better, and helps me analyze situations with clarity.
Me being pensive in Cedar Rapids, IA
Writing however, also creates an opportunity to fully immerse and involve oneself with the rest of society and the “real world”. Written content can bring attention to important issues and has the potential to reach far away audiences. That’s the power of this artform: you can do with it what you will, and it can lead you anywhere.
Over the years, as I’ve studied literature and writing, and have worked on developing my voice, I discover the far-reaching potential of the craft: writing is powerful.
A valued friend of mine recently told me,
“Writing is brave. Once you write something and click ‘publish’, you can’t take it back”.
It was so funny to me that what she fears most is what I love most about writing. I love the idea of permanence. Writing is permanent. And I think it’s such an important ability to both possess and celebrate. It’s another mode of immortalization.
So many people dream of being published or having their work in print because these physical materials act as gemstones in the crown of our legacies. We want to be remembered, and writing presents that opportunity. Whether the motivation of wanting to be published is “good” enough is up for interpretation. (Personally, I don’t have any issue with it. Let people dream.)
It’s altogether harrowing and inspirational to know that the words we write will most likely outlive us, whether digitally or traditionally published. I think about authors who are still relevant today because their work has outlived them. This excites me!
Writing forces you to think about what you want to communicate, and to stand behind your opinions. However, writing also presents an opportunity to track changes of opinion and thought, thus documenting one’s mental development and journey. There’s real beauty in that.
Writing is such a unique beast. It is altogether fun and difficult. And once you find inspiration and get into a groove, it becomes addicting. Sometimes you hate performing the task, and other times, it's the only joy in the world. Simply put: I write because I can't not write. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
Thumbs up! You got this!
Why do you write?