Why Do We Write? 

 

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I’m not feeling very bloggy tonight.  All day long I was longing for the time when I could leave work, come home, put on some comfortable clothes, and sit here with my laptop and do a little writing.

But, as always happens, when I was actually sitting here in comfortable clothes with my laptop on my lap, all inspiration drained out of me like someone pulling the stopper out of the bottom of a sink.

So, I thought I’d just ruminate a little on writing itself.  I’m making this up as I’m going along, so I apologize if it seems disorganized.

Why do we write?

Well, we want people to read our stuff, of course.  We get a thrill out of that.  Otherwise, we wouldn’t do it.  We’d take up woodworking or quilting or cocaine or something.  But those things don’t hold much of a kick for us because we get an enormous thrill out of writing something and tossing it out there into the ether for others to read.

Remember how, when we first discovered we liked writing, we’d write something and hand it to someone (a friend, a relative, a favorite teacher)?  Then we would hover about them like a seagull around someone with a bag of cheese puffs, observing their most minute facial expressions, their tiny little utterances, even the way they turned the pages.  We would wait extremely impatiently for them to finally stop reading and lower the papers.

Well,” we’d ask them expectantly.  “How was it?

What did we expect them to say?  They couldn’t very well say, “Well, that sucked big-time!”  Or, “I’m pretty sure my dog can write better than that.”  Or, “I’m swearing off reading from now on.  I can’t take the chance that I’ll read something that horrible ever again!

No, they never say stuff like that.  They are polite.  They smile with gift-face as they hand the papers back to you, their frightened eyes saying, “Please don’t ask me any questions about what I just read!

But we do.

What was your favorite part?  Was it funny?  Did you catch that part where the main character basically admitted he had a crush on the female character?

The questions go on and on and on.

And one by one we lose those friends.  They just can’t take the strain of not being able to tell us the truth.

That’s why writing is such a lonely profession.  One by one, we chase away everyone in our lives … or at least we stop telling them that we want to be a writer.  Being the friend to or a relative of a writer is exhausting business.  We are bottomless pits of anxiety and self-doubt when it comes to our writing and no amount of compliments or encouraging words are enough to make us feel like our stuff is ever good enough.

And yet …. we can’t stop.  We’d sell our soul to see someone laugh at something funny we wrote, or to see someone fight back tears as they read something poignant we wrote.  Yes … our souls.

But we don’t sell our souls.  We slowly auction them off piece by piece hoping to someday feel that one thing we hope to feel.  We write something, a little piece of our soul … toss it out into the world … and then all we can do is sigh and hope that a few “likes” will be a good enough substitute for what we really want.

 

 

15 comments

  1. Great writing tip. I just need to get some Cheetos, rub them on my pencil and fingers, and find a seagull to see if he’ll swallow the written results. Even my wife doesn’t read my stuff. But I don’t push it, I’d prefer she stays my wife.

    But she might read yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol, Dave! Let me know how that Cheetos trick works out. Maybe I’ll try it myself.

      And I understand about not sharing one’s writing. I think I would self-edit too much if my friends and family were reading the things I wrote. I love the anonymity of the web. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This was a good thing to read today. You’ve expressed very well some of the things that we face as writers. And I agree that some of the best writing comes out when we are in a dark mood.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Gift face.” I love that name! I’ve had gift face a few times myself, and I’m sure I’ve inspired it in others.

    I did a post on why we write on my blog about six months ago or so, and it was after talking to a friend (who happens to be an author). He said he writes from his brokenness, and I had to agree. My best writing (on that particular blog) always comes when I have some serious garbage on my mind, or my heart is hurting. The words flow, and I rarely change anything after rereading it. Contrast that with when I’m really happy . . . I want to tell people face to face about happy things, because my writing really doesn’t do it justice.

    One thing I know for sure, though, is that I write because I can’t NOT write. Same way I can’t NOT sing. I have whatever it is inside me and it needs to come out. Thank goodness I get paid to sing, and get paid to read other people’s writing, so I have a pretty sweet gig.

    Sorry my comment is almost longer than your post, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t mind long comments at all. I am always interested in what people have to say. 🙂

      I guess we all draw inspiration from different things. I try not to write when I’m in a dark mood, even though I have (arguably) done some of my best writing while (reluctantly) there. I prefer to write light, airy things that (hopefully) make people smile.

      But if I’ve noticed anything while browsing all of the offerings on WP and other blogging sites, it’s that there are as many sources of inspiration as there are people.

      You are indeed blessed that you enjoy the things that are also your vocation. I think that is so awesome!

      Liked by 2 people

    • You’re very welcome, Meg. I’m glad to help out any way I can in my own small way. One great thing about WP is that we can all encourage and inspire each other. Non-writers don’t really understand what motivates us.

      It makes me so happy that you love reading my posts. 🙂 I love reading yours too!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My latest work is great! (in my mind). Just like the people in my writers’ group, none of the alpha or beta readers email or text back, saying what they think of our latest work. “I got so much stuff going on, I will finish it later.” Now I tell my readers to read only page one chapter one, tell me how you like the main character? So far they are starting to respond. I also tell them, no “likes”. April 1 was the first anniversary of my blog. 75 cartoons. Keep up your writing, Bro.

    Liked by 1 person

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