Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Why do you write?
Yes, it’s a yearning based on the human need to express ourselves. Words whisper to us when the house is hushed in the early hours of the morning, or in the late hours of the night. They call to us when our minds wander through the chaos or boredom of daily life.
But why? Why are writers so cursed, so blessed, with the need to write?
I believe this question can only be answered by each individual writer. It’s different for everyone and, I think, our reasons shift and change as much as the tides. Below I’ve listed some possible reasons. I’d love to know if any resonate with you.
It’s a way of making a difference to the world. If your words can reach out into the vastness of the human race and touch just one person, to move them to cry, to laugh, to learn, to sing, then you’ve found your calling as a writer.
It’s a way of making sense of this world. We live in a bewildering world full of strange and amazing experiences. There is so much we don’t understand, so much we can’t quite grasp. Writing may help you to unravel some of the questions you’ve longed to answer. It might help you to speculate on the what ifs.
It’s a way of showing others we aren’t alone. When we write we share with others through the lives of our characters, the experience of the human condition. We want to relate to each other. We want to know we aren’t alone in our feelings, thoughts and dreams.
It’s a way of escaping a harsh reality. There is magic in writing. We can create any world we want and people it with any character we desire. Our imaginations are our only limit. Our stories can become a place we can escape to from a difficult or unwanted reality.
It’s a way of earning a living. A famous Australian cartoonist once admitted in an interview that he hated cartooning, but he pursued it because he was good at it. He said he needed to earn a living somehow. This might take the romanticism out of writing, but it’s just as valid a reason as any other.
What are some reasons you write? Have any of your reasons changed over the years?
Pic: Light Festival in Hong Kong