Why Do I Write?

  • It's a compulsion. I've always compulsively worked out my ideas, problems, imaginings on paper. If you looked at any of my class notes from high school or college, you'd find bits of stories, poems, and random realizations filling the margins. I write because I have to, plain and simple.
  • I write to keep from going mad, as a writer once wrote. Can't remember the writer. Or maybe it was writing to stay drunk on the words. Or something like that. I'll have to find the indexes cards on which I wrote those quotes. At any rate...I write because it gives me a way to process my world and make sense of it. If I didn't have an outlet, I think I would go crazy. And in the years when I didn't write because I was 'too busy' or didn't see the point, I think I did go a little mad. Or at least my depression was worse. Same thing.
  • I write to be read. I work on the novel because I believe someday someone will read it. I write this blog because I want people to read it. Shakespeare didn't write his masterpieces without the intention of their being enjoyed. Now, I'm no Shakespeare and this is no masterpiece but the feeling is the same. Many writers are egoists, I think...and many of them were mad, come to think of it. Maybe they should have written more.
  • I write because I love words. I love the limitations of language and trying to overcome it with just the right phrase. Every now and then I read a phrase that makes the leap over the chasm between language and the real human experience. I write so that I can make that same leap and capture a bit of life and humanity on the page. And words are beautiful, language is beautiful, painting a scene with words instead of color is beautiful.
  • I write because otherwise all this talking to myself is just having imaginary friends. No joke. I rehearse scenes I plan on writing often, talking dialogue out loud, trying to construct just what a room should look like. This is the hard work of fiction. Tolkien knew this better than perhaps any other fiction writer. And Lucy Maud Montgomery, whom I adore, is said to have worked this way, muttering to herself. And often I work out my thoughts for this blog out loud. This can only working talking to myself, and God, who is always listening. But its amazing the clarity I find when I speak words into the silence and hear only their echo in return. I can tell what works, what makes sense, and what's just plain stupid.
  • I write because I enjoy it---for all these other reasons. I enjoy sharing my words with other people, and possibly inspiring or encouraging someone along the way. I enjoy the challenge of taking my life and making sense of it in words. I enjoy taking the characters in my heart and mind and making them flesh and blood on the page. I enjoy the problem-solving required when those characters simply don't behave. I love writing and it makes me immensely happy to do it. Like singing. I'll never be a famous singer but that doesn't stop me from singing--loudly--whenever possible. I may never be a famous writer but that won't stop me from writing honestly whenever possible.
  • But most of all...I write because it makes God happy. He revealed this truth to me a few weeks ago in an incredibly humbling moment. I am His daughter and He feels like a proud Papa when I'm doing what I love. Just as my mom used to come to all of my performances and concerts. It didn't matter if I didn't have a solo or would never make a career of it--I loved it passionately and it brought her joy to see me do what I love. And how much more so for God. It blesses Him when I use my gifts, even if it's just because I love it and He loves it. I've come to the conclusion that because I didn't set out to change the world, or inspire people, or do anything other than emote with my writing that God is blessing that faithfulness to simply use my gift. I'm humbled, honored, and amazed that people bother to read my writing, let alone get anything from it. But that's not me. That's a God thing. And it's because He's all papa-bear proud of me because I'm doing what I love. 
And after all, isn't that the best reason to do anything? Because you love it...and when you do what you love, it makes God happy. How amazing--that I can make Him happy by simply doing what I was created to do. Maybe that's why I write, why all these other things are true about me...I write because I was created to do it...
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