Writing Junkie 411: We write because …

So, a few months ago I did a post on why I blog (feel to read that here: Blogging 411: To write or not to write, is it even a question). And I realize blogging is very similar to writing so why should I even think to do a post about writing. Well, let me see if I can break down my train of thought.

Blog essentially means web log. Other definitions say it’s like an online journal and I find Urban Dictionary’s definition very amusing: “A meandering, blatantly uninteresting online diary that gives the author the illusion that people are interested in their stupid, pathetic life. Consists of such riveting entries as “homework sucks” and “I slept until noon today.”

But writing is different. Writing is defined by Wikipedia as “the activity or skill of marking coherent words on paper and composing text.”

On that note, I write because …

1) It frees my mind – I once expressed in a journal entry that journaling is like my version of Dumbledore’s pensive. For those who aren’t readers, or movie watchers, and therefore have no idea what I’m talking about, in one of the Harry Potter books Dumbledore places his wand tip to his forehead, pulls out a memory, and puts it in a pensive so they don’t crowd his mind but he can access them later. Writing does that for me. It frees my mind to move on to other things.

2) It helps me gather my thoughts – Because who hasn’t had an experience that they don’t really know they’ve experienced until they’ve thought about it for a bit? I mean, when we got through an event that’s emotionally charged there’s a point where instinct takes over and you don’t get to stop and think about it until it’s done. Call it adrenaline or whatever, but sometimes, you just need a moment to think. And writing helps me do that. And more so it provides a record so you can go back, review what you wrote, and think about things semi-subjectively.

3) It’s fun! – I know, it’s not dramatic or earth-shattering. But it is fun. At least to me. I enjoy writing down what I thought about a play or my first day managing a library. I find fun writing about a book or a movie I can’t shake or made me have one of those “aha!” moments. And I have a blast reading through my thoughts a year later. Even though it’s embarrassing and I plan to burn all my journals when I die or something because, gosh! It’s still fun.

Those are the main reasons I write. I could go on with a list of 10 or even 20 reasons why I write, but I think Ralph Fletcher sums it up nicely (I found it! I found the quote I referenced in Writing 411: That pesky little problem that plagues even the best writers) :

“Writers are pretty ordinary people. They have favorite songs, favorite movies, favorite TV shows. Writers have evil big sisters (and, occasionally, sweet ones). They get good or not so good grades, take vacations, paint their houses.

Writers are like other people, except for at least one important difference. Other people have daily thoughts, and feelings, notice this sky or that smell, but they don’t do much about it. All those thoughts, feelings, sensations, and opinions pass through them like the air they breathe.

Not writers. Writers react. And writers need a place to record those reactions.” (Ralph Fletcher, A Writer’s Notebook, p 3-4)

Writers react. I react. I react to life and I need to record my reactions because it’s an instinct I have. Call it a habit, but really, it’s second nature.

I write because I observe. I write because I feel. I write because it’s comforting. I write because it’s something I need to do.

I write because it’s who I am.


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