Why I Write
Perhaps more than any other time in my life, people have been asking me why I write. It seems odd to me when I think about it. Some days, I would rather people ask me what I write. But in those moments, there are not words enough to satisfy my answer. Trying to compress the whole of it into a discreet answer seems impossible. But because it is so important to me, I can be a bit, well, let's call it enthusiastic. Normally, I get only a few sentences out before I see a general loss of interest in the asker. Feeling foolish, I regain my bearing, bottle up my excitement and stuff it back into the depths of me where it usually lives before once again getting on with my day.
After thinking at length about it, I realized that these people did not expect me to have a real answer. The more I turned it over in my mind, the clearer the truth became. People are not wanting some insight into this thing that I always assumed they find valuable; that society at large finds valuable. Quite the opposite. I came to understand that these questions were coming from a place of puzzlement and discernment and perhaps even disbelief. I suppose I percieve in others a diminished sense of the value of what it means to write. I do not know for sure but it seems like what people are really asking is 'why would anybody want to write? It seems difficult and time consuming'.
Well, I think I would like to take a different approach to the question and focus for a moment on refuting the things that people have incorrectly assumed in the past concerning why I write.
- I do not write because I want to be published. I have been published under a pseudonym and while it was a rewarding experience, it was also really, really shitty in a lot of ways. Publishing work is great but it is not why I write, not by a long shot.
- I do not write to win friends. Yes, it is very gratifying and a singular experience to connect with others over writing; to find new ways of relating to others and to enter into conversations that bring growth. This I like immensely. Yet, it is not why I write.
- I do not write because I think it is cool to be a writer. It is cool, though.
Why do I write? Because. If I did not write, I would not be me. I can not even conceive of a life where I did not write. It is how I order the universe. It is how I know I was here. It is an echo of my mind sent into being. It is how I engage my existence and purpose. I do not now, nor since the time I knew I could write, have I ever felt that not writing was a viable option. I can never opt-out of writing. It is not a possible future because in order for it to be true, I would have to be someone else.
I write because writing is my home, my heart and my humanity. At the core of it, all writers have their own reasons to write, but I am guessing there are other writers out there who feel the same way I do.