Over the years, I have had people ask me why I like to write. As a child I would write short stories and scribble down observations that I wanted to remember. As an adult, I would find myself writing poems, and eventually essays, about life’s joys and challenges. I don’t remember a time in my life when I was not called to write, whether for myself or for others, but the question of why always eluded me. I remember once in a writing class the instructor asked us why we wanted to write, and with little thought I wrote, “To understand and to be understood”. I looked at that phrase and pondered it while the rest of the class filled pages with their explanations.
Isn’t that what all human beings desire? The ability to be understood by others, as well as the ability to understand yourself is a lifelong process that we all struggle with. In the pursuit of the understanding, some people choose to verbalize and debate, others to let their actions or art express themselves, and some of us to write.
Why write? It’s a simple question, but it has no simple answer. Why breathe? For those of us who are called to write, it feels like a need – like taking a breathe. Regardless of whether you choose to share your writing or you keep it private just for yourself, the urge to write “just is” for a writer.
I was recently listening to a podcast by Geneen Roth (on the Good Life Project – great podcasts to get you thinking about the way you are living your life) and she shared her view on writing.
“Writing is the way I know what I don’t know.”
That quote resonated with me. Oftentimes, I start writing in a confused state and let the words help me find my way through the mind maze of perplexion. I have discovered truths about myself and situations that had remained hidden, through my words. Reading the words I have written on a page often illuminates an answer to a problem I am struggling with or a better understanding of what I am feeling.
So, why do you write? Maybe you should pick up a pen or the computer and find out:)