Why DO Writers Write?
I’m not saying I have the answer – I’m hoping you writers will answer in the comments. But I do know the answer for me.
What an amazing, complex life we lead, populated with people unlike us and experiences we couldn’t imagine, much less foresee. I’m fascinated by the kaleidoscope of change, and how other people view differently the same things I see.
Writers are first, observers. I think we all began as ‘noticers’, seeing things others pass by. Somehow it congeals in your head over the years, and remembered photos shuffle to a (seemingly) random photo album of memories that eventually morph to a book. Don’t ask me how – I’m as in the dark about it as you are. I’m just grateful for it.
I didn’t discover why I do this until many years after I began. It started with an unfocused compelling drive, and it wasn’t until I looked back over the books I produced that I discovered:
It’s true. These are several of my books, and what I realized, looking back.
The Road to Me (my first) – putting to rest childhood sexual abuse.
The Reasons to Stay – marrying into a family of three and becoming an instant parent.
The Sweet Spot – forgiveness includes forgiving yourself.
Days Made of Glass – Moving on from grief – it allowed me to finally let go of my sister who died of cancer a decade before.
The Road to Me – The way you see things as a child is only a small part of the whole picture.
Amazing Gracie (out next April) – How to come back from a seemingly unforgiveable mistake.
For Roger (working on now) – Mercy vs. selfishness – facing the inevitability of losing a spouse.
I had NO idea when I began writing each of these that I was exploring an aspect of my own life that I was struggling with. It only became clear in retrospect.
The mind is an amazing thing.
So let’s hear it, writers! Why do you write?
I’m not sure this counts, because I’ve never written a book. However, while on vacation recently, I heard a conversation that really intrigued me. Then I realized there wasn’t another person around. It was all in my mind. I’ve never experienced that before. Now I have been writing this down and though I realize no one will probably ever read it, i’m having a blast! Also it helps to avoid the Christmas season which is tough to get through.
Dianne, you’re not crazy – this is how it begins! I finally was able to write when I realized NO ONE ever had to see it. Look what happened! Never say never…Write on!
I LOVE words. I write because my disability isolates me from people who don’t want me around them. My mother freaked when I wrote my first book as child. Instead of reading it, she yelled at me as if I had done something wrong. There are people who think that being deaf means I can never be a writer. Yes, I stumble on the tenses and leave off a word here and there, but that is what proofreaders and editors are for, right? Instead of encouragement, I receive negative feedback, and I still struggle, knowing that no one will ever read my story.
The only way no one will read it is if you don’t put it out there, Karen! I’ll be first in line to read it!
You have a unique perspective on the world around you, and I for one, would love to know it.
I think for me and a lot of others it is because we need to work our way through points in our life that dealt emotional or physical blows so significant we felt helpless. As a writer we accumulate a large amount of human experiences and situations of others both through reading and watching others. For me it led to enough confidence to begin putting words to paper. And then, there was the wonderful comment from Stephen King who said “Write what scares you.”
You are a brave soul, Lou. You’re right. That’s what it takes.
When I get any award for writing where I get to make a speech, I’m going to thank Dr. Harvel, my freshman English teacher at Lamar University … that b**** 😀 Right before she gave me a D, she pontificated that I was resting on my high school laurels and would never amount to much of a writer (BTW, my high laurels were in math). I write to channel the weirdness in the world that my wife says only I understand. And I’m desperate for affirmation, and I’ve discovered that most people are pretty impressed with a slightly twisted insight and a well-worn thesaurus. I love to see the “ah-ha” moment when somebody else gets it.
Totally get that, George! 😉
Why? I don’t really know. After I fell and got hurt in 1997 I was depressed. Couldn’t work as a nurse ever again. Three years later I happened on a website with free classes to teach writing courses. I thought, why the hell not? I always liked writing assignments.
I guess that started it all. It helped with the grief and depression. Lord, the mess those first words were.
Now, I’ve had one published book, another is with editors, I have a series outlined, and I’ve done well in some contests.
But, I doubt myself and my abilities every time I open that laptop.
I’ve had many people offer support. Thank God.
Guess I’ll keep writing and reading
If you’re afraid and doubtful, you’re a writer, Winona! Don’t worry, you’re doing it right.
So glad writing is helping you – remember that when you’re afraid.
I think back decades to when I regularly read Runners World. To paraphrase: There is no such thing as a jogger. If you lace up your shoes and move, you’re a runner. Speed/experience doesn’t define you. So if you peck away at a keyboard and hit Save, you’re a writer
Lots of truth right there, George.
I’ve always had the drive to write, that itch you just have to scratch. And since I won my city’s “I love my daddy because…” contest in 25 words or less when I was 12, I’ve been attempting a good 25 words ever since. I know part of it is validation of my worth in some way. This year when I contracted with a publisher for my fantasy romance The Witch Whisperer, I was over the moon! Somebody liked my writing!! Now, pressure is on for book 2. Imposter syndrome rears it’s ugly head once again and I wonder if I can slog my way through this story. Will they pick it up? Who knows. The Witch Whisperer is about a witch with broken magic who has striven for perfection her whole life. I actually cried when I realized I was writing about me.
I’ve watched your climb for years, Barb and am SO proud of your success! Imposter syndrome is NORMAL for your second book – shove it aside and sit down and write! You’ll do great.
And thank you, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one subconsciously writing about my own struggles.
I write to get it out of my head! It would literally drive me mad if I had to keep it locked up, up there. Once it out, I don’t have to think about it. Especially right now, with my 11 week granddaughter still in the hospital and no date to come home. So, I write to get it out of me. If I cry, I may never stop. People say “I know what you are going through ” NO, they don’t, that would be like me telling my sweet daughter I know what your going through. No, I don’t. I didn’t give birth 5 weeks early, have to walk out of a hospital without my baby. To turn around and spend the next 31 days sitting in that same hospital and then get sent home for 11 amazing days still with no answers only to go to a doctor visit and get told to immediately take her back to the hospital where she was for another 4 days only to be tranfer to a hospital that is an hour away, but with traffic it taking almost two. If I don’t write it down and get it out, it will drive me MAD!
I’m glad you wrote it here, and hope it helped. You know I’m praying for you…
Thank you Laura. Sometimes I just want to go out in the back yard and scream until I have no voice left to scream.