I get asked the question all the time: Why do you write? And for the longest time, I’ve never really had an answer. I guess I’d never really given it much consideration. Why do I write? With this post, I’ve decided it’s finally time I give an answer, both to those who’ve asked and to myself.
To me, writing is catharsis–it gives me an emotional outlet unlike no other. At life’s extreme highs and extreme lows, I choose to express myself with words.
It’s remarkable, isn’t it? That differing permutations and combinations of just twenty six letters can allow us to externalize what we’re feeling? To share our joys and our sorrows?
Why do I write? Because it helps me convey and understand my emotions.
If you’ve never sat down and just written before–just put the pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and let it flow–I suggest you give it a try sometime. It’s one of the most therapeutic things you can do.
Sometimes, when life gets me down, I open a writing program I have on my computer and just let everything out. I often keep these writings to myself–I’ll read it over, be satisfied with my work, and close the program without saving a thing. Other times, I’ll save these pieces with the notion that I’ll one day work up the courage to share them with you all. The latter scenario is what led to my sharing the memoir I wrote of my late grandfather that appeared on this site a few weeks ago.
In the most difficult and trying of times, people cope with their feelings different ways. Some may curl up in bed with sad music and let their tears wet the pillowcase. Others may sit in solace and contemplate the meaning of it all. Still others–and I pray this is not you, dear reader–will let their emotions out with the self-infliction of pain.
But none of these things are me. I write instead. My keyboard is my razor blade; my words are my blood.
Why do I write? Because it’s how I cope.
When my grandmother died four years ago, I was completely stricken with grief. She was one of the people I held nearest to my heart, and losing her broke me.
In the days after her death, I decided to write a eulogy for her–to take the swirling cacophony of thoughts buzzing about my head and give them a voice. That one simple exercise was one of the most emotionally freeing things I’ve ever done, and I haven’t stopped since.
My advice to you? Start writing. And if you already write, keep writing. Even if you think you’re no good, and even if you keep it all to yourself. Write it all out.
Why do I write? Because, in a way, it sets me free.