Why do I write?

writingWhy I write? This is a good question and I’m not even sure I can answer it.

I’ve always had this burn to write. I wrote and directed plays forcing my younger sister and neighbour to perform in front of our parents as a young child and I scribbled poems into my Dad’s old work diary.

Now as an adult I’ve written on and off in a journal for years. I write poetry to share out loud with  a group  of friends as a poetry performance group. Plus I’m in the middle of writing my second draft of a young adult novel.

So why do I write these words and live parts of my day in somebody else’s head? Apart from my performance poetry and now this blog, plus twitter, nobody sees the words that I’m seeing in my head and on the page. So why am I doing it?

Where does that burn to write and to create come from? Some quotes from other writers:

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.  ~Anaïs Nin 

I love writing.  I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.  ~James Michener 

Writing is my time machine, takes me to the precise time and place I belong.  ~Jeb Dickerson 

If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.  ~Lord Byron 

There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes.  ~William Makepeace Thackeray 

And my personal favourite: 

I want to write books that unlock the traffic jam in everybody’s head.  ~John Updike

Why do I write? Is it for entertainment? Or is it find a place of belonging? To fill a void? Or am I trying to find some meaning in who we are as human beings? I’m 41 years of age, and as I stare at the blank page I wonder why  I still persist to write even though I haven’t persevered to get my words published ? Is it because I’m not good enough? Or is it because I haven’t stepped up and persevered or let myself be vulnerable, have courage and or taken a risk?

I’ve been carrying this candle for nearly 15 years and apart from meeting some good people and sharing words at our poetry performances and maybe getting to know myself better, why am I persisting with placing word upon word in a make-believe world that only exists in my head and on paper? What do I really want to achieve?

I want to be published, like every other wannabe writer. But this time is different, this time I’m going to persist and resist until a novel is completed.

Sometimes I wonder about the worthiness of such an ambition. Is it selfish to want to write, especially when it comes down to it, it’s just words on a page. Stories. My stories.

If you don’t know the trees you may be lost in the forest, but if you don’t know the stories you may be lost in life. —Siberian Elder 

If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.  —Barry Lopez, in Crow and Weasel 

There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories. —Ursula K. LeGuin 

Australian Aborigines say that the big stories—the stories worth telling and retelling, the ones in which you may find the meaning of your life—are forever stalking the right teller, sniffing and tracking like predators hunting their prey in the bush. —Robert Moss, Dreamgates 

We are lonesome animals. We spend all of our life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to tell a story begging the listener to say-and to feel- ‘Yes, that is the way it is, or at least that is the way I feel it.’ You’re not as alone as you thought. —John Steinbeck 

Last year I read a quote from a NZ reviewer who was reviewing young adult novels. She wrote something similar to this: 

“Stories are a way of understanding ourselves and showing the world around us. To really get into a book you really need to put yourself in it…” 

Will my stories be capable of filling in a void in another’s life or soul?

Will my stories offer pure escapism/entertainment?

Will someone feel a connection, a belonging, a reason to keep living?

Why do you write? Do you have that burn to write and create?Where do you think this burn to write/create comes from?

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