Why do I write? Because a writer will write. It is an extension of myself.
Each morning when I wake up, my first thought after coffee is to grab my computer and make a list of things to do. In my life, even the most mundane activities require being put to paper.
Sometimes, my writing involves penning poetry or writing a critique for another poet. But my therapy comes through my blog posts. The big goal is to work on a book, my constant write and rewrite meditation thing that I get lost in, sometimes for days. The very act of typing or putting pen to paper is a daily must happen part of me.
There are pitfalls to this insatiable need to record thought, like being forced to text in quantity when I can’t get to a computer or find a piece of paper.
Once an entire song ended up in a text to myself. Of course now I have a Notes feature, email, and I can even create documents on my I-phone.
Apparently, writing is involuntary behavior, though I consider the need to write everything down to be a little dangerous.
Often, I write down something that could be a little too much for everyday conversation. Sometimes, those tidbits create a good start for a poem or a scintillating revelation for my book.
The cautionary tale here is that writing everything down preserves things that might be best kept to oneself.
Yet, I secretly revel in the fact that I can put things on paper that I rarely or never say out loud.
I’ve always been a storyteller. Since first grade, when I won a contest with the celebrated Bussy the Clown story, (which I still have because my mom celebrated by saving it) I have been creating stories, writing poetry and the occasional song. Growing up, I obsessed over the written word, and read more than any person I knew. Not that I was reading Tolstoy at eight, but I was a book sponge many years ahead of my age group. I always had a book under the covers at night illuminated by a flashlight. Inhaling books at the rate of ten or more a week in elementary school, I was frustrated with the two book limit in the weekly library visit.
All that reading fueled my writing and creativity, and made me the story creator for my friends.
I was a journal keeper too from the time I was nine, and carried those notebooks around for decades.
Someone asks me now and then how I got started writing and the only response that makes any sense is that a writer writes. No matter their age or occupation, they find a way to write.
Although I didn’t get my degree in professional writing or English like I planned after high school, writing has been a constant thread running through my life. I was a Fine Arts major instead, nineteen and married when my mother died.
The sadness that followed fueled hours of writing in longhand as I tried to reorient myself in a world without my mom.
My only child was born nine months later, and for a while after that, the only writing I managed were letters to my family and friends. By the time I was 27, I had lost both my parents, lived in 7 states, and was dealing with a husband just back from war. I had a 7 year old, was in college full time, worked as an art teacher, was dealing with illness, and the recent death of my dad and best friends husband. My marriage was suffering and I was at a loss how to fix any of it.
There was a lot of sorrow that I needed to deal with in a healthy way so that I could raise my daughter well. Journals, written prayer, and poetry became my lifeline.
In writing and in private, I poured out how I felt, never realizing I was laying the groundwork for my book or this blog. Most often the questions posed to me about my career are about the kind of writing I do, or more importantly “Are you published yet?” I admit I am stuck in the edit of my therapeutic book. Though my unfinished work is not published yet in book form, there is no question that I am an author.
“I blog to keep sane, to polish my writing, and to share some things I have learned about life.” My answer to an interview question sums it up.
For me, writing is and has always been an exercise in freedom, a way to gain structure, release emotion, and share all that is good and bad about life.
When I type something and leave it there, no matter how difficult or crazy sounding, it is liberating. This freedom is the one constant pursuit in my otherwise ever-changing life. Though it is rare for someone to ask me why I write, I figured it out. The answer is simply that I write because it is an extension of myself.
It is the way I cope, the way I rejoice, emote, organize, entertain, share, love, create, teach and learn. Most of all, it is my way to give to someone who needs it. It is where I find and share peace, doing what I was meant to do.
I write, because deep down I am a storytelling, list making, purveyor of the written word.
Barefoot and writing,
Related posts: Autumn, remembering how to save myself.