The magazine Poets & Writers launched a totally beautiful and poignant column several years ago called “Why We Write.” Author and book marketing coach Jonathan Gunson posed the question in a blog post and asked readers to answer the question. http://bestsellerlabs.com/why-do-you-write/ More than 350 readers commented on his blog post alone. (More responded to his question on Twitter and Facebook.)
I was one of the 300-plus who commented on the blog post. My answer? I write because I can’t not write. I write to connect people through story and expression. I write because, at its base, writing is about communication and about understanding ourselves and others and the relationships we weave.
It’s a deep question. So many of us struggle to get at the answer, the real answer, to why we write. Here’s how several others responded to Gunson’s “Why do you write” question:
“It’s an affliction. Like a twitch I’m trying to control.”
“Because there is a story on my mind that I have to share with the world.”
“Because what percolates inside deserves a voice.”
“It’s the one thing that has consistently called me, my entire life. It’s also how I make meaning in my world.”
When I was in graduate school, one of my professors assigned me to keep a semester-long private blog, on which I posted thoughts as to why I write. She assigned reading material, essays called “Why I Write” by Joan Didion and others. At the end of the semester, she asked me to compose my own “Why I Write” essay.
It was one of the hardest and most rewarding assignments of my graduate school career. I found myself exploring the parallels of writing and motherhood, how both pursuits are fierce and demand your everything, how both are beautiful and messy and raw. How the learning curve of each never ceases. How the rewards, if your pursuit is dogged and all-encompassing, are out of this world.
How about you? Why do you write? Please share in the comments below.