Why Do You Write?

Why do I sit, day after day, staring at the screen until my brain bleeds and my eyes are sore? It’s so much easier to not write.

Or is it?

People write for all sorts of reasons:

  • creative self-expression or shameless self-promotion
  • self-exploration or to get approval
  • to communicate and connect or to get laid
  • therapeutic mental laxative or to re-write history
  • to make meaning or to impress
  • fame and money or just because the ideas are there and you’ve got to do something while you’re waiting to die.

Or all of the above.

I’ve written for all these reasons –  except fame, money and getting laid 😦 . But the thing which keeps me at it, despite the frustrations and the impossibility of capturing experience in words, is that I feel better when I write.

Not necessarily while I’m actually writing – there are good and bad days. When it’s going well the writing flows and seems to happen without effort. Those are the days I feel like a writer.

Bad days are a form of torture – death by words, or the absence of the right words. On those days I feel even more like a writer.

We are the story-telling mammal. Everybody lives their own story. You know things about yourself no-one else will ever know. You see the world in a way no-one else could ever imagine. This is the glory, and tragedy, of human consciousness. It’s lonely inside your skull.

Writing turns your mind inside out.

In ‘Writing Down the Bones’ Natalie Goldberg says:

“..we all have a dream of telling our stories – of realising what we think, feel, and see before we die. Writing is a path to meet ourselves and become intimate.”

Have you written today? What did you discover?

When I write I discover that I need to write, like I need to eat and drink and sleep. It makes me feel more alive, even on the bad days, because I’m actively engaging with my life. Instead of writing I could sit on my arse, watch TV and eat cake. Short-term, it’s easier. Long-term, I’d get fat and bored.

To create is completely natural, and yet we must choose to do it. To choose not to create is a denial of your existence.

So, it doesn’t really matter why you do it, so long as you do it. ‘Cos doing it is better than not doing it.

Why do you do it? Post your top 5 reasons to write and we’ll compile a definitive list.

In the meantime, keep writing..



One thought on “Why Do You Write?

  1. Five top reasons why I write.
    1) I have an insatiable urge to write, which is a compulsion really. (and definitely not for therapeutic reasons)
    2) Stories in prose, poetry, or script provide me with what life can’t- a organised encapulation of the ancient form of ‘the story’
    3) I have a lifelong passion for reading which translates into a passion for writing.
    4) I love words- words on a page, the sounds they make in my head, the rhythm, the power, the humour and the intricacies of words layed out on a page.
    5) Writing gives an opportunity to meet other writers and I like people who are creative and write.



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