Why I Write
Why do I write?
This is one of those questions that has an answer that is simultaneously blindingly obvious and sublimely unknowable.
I say blindingly obvious because anyone who spends every waking moment thinking about writing – about their story, or their characters, or some topic they intend to write about – will wonder why someone would ask that question. Why wouldn’t I write? Not writing would make no sense whatsoever. And yet “why do I write?” is a legitimate question. And when the attempt is made to answer the question, we get to the “sublimely unknowable” part of the answer.
I say “sublimely” because even if I can’t articulate the answer, I know that the answer is a really good one: amazing, in fact, to the point where it doesn’t even matter what the answer is. Yet articulating is supposed to be what I do, as a writer, so the question will niggle at me until I answer it. So first I have to deal with that “unknowable” bit, and get it out of the way.
I say “unknowable” because wanting to write isn’t a conscious thought, but a feeling. Sometimes it’s even a demand, from deep in my core, that compels me to write whether or not it’s convenient for me at the time. The reason I write is because I must; writing is a desire, an urge, so powerful that you could almost say that it’s involuntary. There’s a quote from a movie called Sister Act 2:
I went to my mother, who gave me this book called “Letters To A Young Poet” by Rainer Maria Rilke. He’s a fabulous writer. A fellow used to write to him and say: “I want to be a writer. Please read my stuff.” And Rilke says to this guy: “Don’t ask me about being a writer. If, when you wake up in the morning, you can think of nothing but writing… then you’re a writer.”
And yet there is even more to it than that.
Why do I write? There is an answer; I know this. There are mundane reasons, of course: there are stories that I want to tell, characters I want to share, and messages I want to impress upon people. But giving that as the answer to “Why do I write?” is like being asked “Who are you?” and replying with just your name. Well, yes, technically that is an answer that satisfies the question in the strictest sense, but learning your name tells me nothing about who you are.
So why do I write? The answer is this: I write because there is nothing more amazing, more beautiful, more exciting, more fulfilling, or more exhilarating than the act of creation that is writing. There is simply nothing more incredible. When I write, it’s a like the most beautiful song in the world is vibrating throughout my entire body. My heart and soul are never more engaged or more joyous than when inspiration fills me to the brim and overflows, and I write freely. That is why I write.
Why do you write?
P.S. I love all comments, people! Even if they’re only somewhat related, fire away! Share any thoughts, opinions, comments, and questions – I welcome them all!