Why do we write? This is a common question among authors and storytellers. I’ve written on the subject a few times now in various places. Some in my personal writings, another time was on my other writing blog, and now I bring the question here. Why do we write?
There’s a few answers to this: first the very philosophical answer, second the physical answer, and finally third, the internal and selfish answer. All of these answers are tied together one way or another. And remember, this is just one writer’s opinion, late at night.
The philosophical answer: we write because it is all we can do as humans stuck in this vast universe. It’s our only way to explore other worlds and get a deeper understanding of ourselves. See now how the selfish part plays in? If we were not meant to write, then why else would whatever all knowing being you believe in give us thumbs? There’s a space bar for a reason. And now for a quote by Isaac Asimov, “I write for the same reason I breathe – because if I didn’t, I would die.” This is very touching but logically impossible. Yet anyone who writes and loves to write knows the true feeling and meaning behind this quote. And with feeling, do we write so we can feel, or do we feel and therefore we write. I suppose both answer are correct. I’ll finish with a quote of myself, paraphrased a bit, “I feel like all I do is drink, sleep, and eat. If I didn’t have these things I’d have nothing. Except writing.” If you’re a writer it is always with you. Always in your mind and soul.
The physical answer, we write because we feel a need to put down our thoughts on paper. It started as a way to pass down history between generations. Now it is so much more. We write to show people things they could never experience in their own lives. Hell, things they never could have even imagined. To pass our thoughts onto others and to (sometimes) find our true selves. Bringing me to a quote by Daniel J. Boorstin, “I write to discover what I think. After all, the bars aren’t open that early.” We write for others, but more importantly, we write for ourselves.
Which brings me closer to my final (for now) point, we write because we are selfish. And that is perfectly okay. If you write and you’re not a tad bit selfish then you’re doing something wrong. Time for another quote, look at that. This one is by my personal favorite author, George Orwell, “All writers are vain, selfish and lazy,” I believe this to be true whether the writer decides to admit it or not. We all have our own personal motives and selfishness when writing. Why else would we write? We don’t write to please some reader or editor. We write because we feel we have a story that only we can tell. That only we can share the way it needs to be shared. I don’t mean that every writer is selfish in a greedy way, and just wants to make money and get published. I mean we write down our thoughts, our hopes, and our dreams. And we pray that someone else out there wants to read them.
This is only the first in what will (probably) be a long line of articles on Writing itself. I apologize for my ramblings and haphazard sentences.
I’ll finish this one off the way I did on my other blog.
You’re a writer. Be selfish. Be vain. Write for yourself and no one else. Because if you’re not happy while you write, you’re not doing it right.
You are a writer.
I am a writer.