The Existential Question: Why Do I Write?

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Writing has been an important part of my life for decades now, but it isn’t often that I step back and ask myself “Why do I write?”

When I first started writing frequently (way back in sixth grade) I did it because it was fun. I wrote because it was an extension of my play with imaginary friends. Yes, I am proud to admit I had a lot of imaginary friends over the years. They were great for when my real friends were busy.

In high school I wrote because it was still fun, and because I was praised for it. My creative writing teacher, Mrs. Layton, was amazing and supportive. I wrote poetry and tried to write short stories, and one summer I wrote a novel, which she thought was so good she had me enter a contest and read the opening to the creative writing class as an example of a good hook.

In college, I had less time to write, so most of what I wrote was for class. Essays for English and history. Short stories (or the closest I could get) for my creative writing classes. I even took a screenwriting class and wrote a screenplay. Over the summers I would write fiction for me, but it was hard to do during school. That held true in grad school too.

Now, I’m out in the working world and lucky enough to have an eight-to-five job. Well mostly, but that’s an entirely different discussion.

So why do I write now?

I write because I love it.

The process of drafting a new story is one of my most favorite things. Watching as the world appears and the characters develop through my words is an adventure I don’t think I’ll ever tire of. I find joy in the entire process. The only emotional high that compares to completing the first draft is the high of completing the final draft that you’re ready to release into the world.

I write because I don’t want to disappoint anyone.

Whether it’s my original works, or the fanfic I write purely for the fun of it, I don’t want to disappoint my readers. I don’t want them left not knowing how it ends. So I keep writing and drafting and revising, so that I can share the next part of the story with them.

I write because I need to.

Writing is one of the things that helps me relieve stress. I write scenes reflecting my own life to help me work through an emotional problem, or a work irritation, or to vent frustration. I write about the traumatic things (big and small) to help lessen the trauma and work through all my emotions about it. I write because it’s cheaper than a therapist. (That last part is mostly a joke. There’s nothing wrong with having a therapist.)

I write because I love it.

Ultimately, it all comes back to that in the end. I don’t make a living at it yet, but one day I want to write because I love it and it happens to pay the bills too.

Why do you write? If you don’t write, why not?

 

*Title Photo Is a Stock Image, Not my Work

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