“Why do I write” —that standard question anyone who writes is regularly asked and feels compelled to answer. In fact, it’s the topic almost every writer, world famous or never published, dreads but ultimately does write an essay about. Even after having written the essay, writer reconsider their reasons for writing regularly. But that specific topic, “Why Do I Write,” is anything but a modern-day inquiry. It dates back – way, way back, perhaps even as far back as does writing.
We’ve all read numerous cliché answers. Among them: I write to discover who I am, to gain insight into myself, to re-create myself, to make sense of the world around me, to understand what I am, to heal from trauma, even to find out what’s going to happen.
I write, and have written, for many of those reasons myself but I’ve also written for a host of unrelated reasons. The solitary act of writing helps most writers, including me, manage grief, anger, and at times devastating disappointments. Much of my writing has recorded my journeys – physical and emotional. It’s been an incredibly effective vehicle by which to see where I’ve been, assess the place in which I’ve arrived, and reassess my goals helping me strengthen my resolve.
During happy times, it’s easy to resist writing but those are times when I should feel compelled to write specifically about happiness and then, in great detail. It’s more challenging for me to write when I’m happy because at those times I want most to stay in the moment and not be distracted with writing. Taking time away from the happiness in order to write is to risk that the happy moment may evaporate.
The benefits: Possibly, during sadder more difficult times, we might consider re-reading our words about happier times and in that was remind ourselves how we arrived at them?
My reasons might all be clichés of sorts, and throughout our educations, most of us were taught to avoid clichés at all costs. We’re convinced cliches are offensive, tedious, and smack of undeveloped writing skills. The question for a writing topic, “Why Do You Write” might be as much of a cliché as is, “What You Did On Your Summer Vacation” but our answers are what differentiate us and make each of us entirely unique.