Why do we write?
Is it simply to express ourselves and nothing more?
Is it therapeutic? Does it help us work through our problems or relieve our stress?
Do we write to turn a profit or to become a household name like Stephen King, or J.K. Rowling?
Do we write to express our opinions, illuminate the fallacies of the world, or implore the world to change its ways and seek peace and understanding?
Or perhaps we long to usher in a new golden age of literature.
There are as many reasons to write as there are writers, and there are just as many reasons or excuses that we use to dissuade ourselves from writing.
I was browsing through my Instagram feed and I came upon a post by an author and businessman who I’ve come to admire. Simon Sinek is his name. I became aware of him after reading his book Leaders Eat Last for a business class I was attending at the time. He speaks beautifully and simply about how our work and daily life needn’t conflict, that fulfillment at work needn’t be a dream of the few. In another, earlier book he wrote before the one mentioned above, he explains that in our life (whether professional or otherwise), if we can get to root of our WHY – the WHY behind what we do, then it doesn’t matter what it is we choose to do, we will find the enthusiasm and the drive to be successful and fulfilled.
My own reasons behind WHY I write are evolving even as we speak.
When I was a girl, reading books and dreaming all the things a young girl dreams, I wanted to write to bring my dreams to life. I could not live them and so I decided to live vicariously through my characters, to live a thousand lives in a thousand different lands. When I grew older, my girlishness turning into the contradictions of adolescence, my reasons morphed into a desire to give voice to the longings and emotions I suddenly felt so strongly I could burst with them. As I practiced and grew older still, I would write for the sheer joy of creating, for the freedom it gave me. In some ways, I still do.
But now, as I come upon my mid-thirties (I will turn thirty-five in October), I find my reasons are changing yet again. Now I long for connection.
With my worlds, my words, my writing, I long to connect to the deep well of humanity’s experiences. To find friends where others might only see enemies, hope where there appears to be nothing but despair. To connect with the emotions and dreams that churn deep within our collective souls. And perhaps, in connecting with others, I will connect with even deeper parts of myself.
So, in the spirit of connection, dear readers, I ask you the same question I have been asking myself these days.
What is the WHY behind your writing?
It doesn’t matter what you answer might be. Your reason can be singular, or your reasons might be legion. So long as you know them when they speak to you, so long as you listen to their promptings, and do not silence them…that’s what matters.