Why do we write?

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NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow (argh!) so I’m prompted to wonder why people are driven to write.

A couple of weeks ago, Ed and I went to the readings of my MA class’s dissertations. After they finished, Ed asked them why they wrote. He didn’t word it quite like that, actually. He asked why, considering the sheer volume of literature already out there, why they felt that their words were worth adding to that?

Emma replied that she wrote all her thoughts down so that they would be out of her head, Mary said that she wanted to eventually be published and hopefully make money, and a woman whose name I can’t remember pointed out that people will always tell stories, so why shouldn’t we?

My answer to this question incorporates all the above points, but goes one step further to consider the simple basic fact that we are all different. A book, article or story is a window into somebody else’s thoughts for a while. We all have different ways of expressing ourselves and focus upon different aspects of the world. I love reading other people’s interpretations of their thoughts and experiences, so I want to share my interpretations, experiences and imaginings with others too.

I write because I like the permanency of the medium – we are still reading and studying texts from hundreds and thousands of years ago – and if a thing is written then it is less easily forgotten. Whenever I realise something about mine or others’ behaviour, I need to write it down so that I can remember my theory later.
In terms of writing fiction, I enjoy stretching my imagination and crafting a story which will hold people’s attentions and entertain them. One of the best feelings I’ve experienced has been the satisfaction of writing a well-worded piece, knowing that the phrases evoke certain feelings – even as you know that nobody reads the same words in the same way! There is a massive joy in writing (which I unfortunately often forget about, focusing on the drain of the time and effort spent instead).

I write to express myself. If but one or two people are pushed to think by something I’ve written (agreeing or disagreeing) then I’ll feel it’s worth me adding to the million billion novels and blogs out there. If I write just a few sentences which satisfy me, then that’s enough whether anybody else ever reads anything I write.

So, why do you write?

Amelia

ps. It’s not too late to join NaNoWriMo!

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