Why do you want to write, anyway?

If Fitzgerald had my temperament, he could never have written even his first book, he would have gone straight to drinking.

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Journaling with a fountain pen again …

Why do we write? I ask this of myself sometimes. The answer is obvious, for me, perhaps as it is for you: I can’t stop.

Yesterday, the yoga teacher asked us to consider that our strengths become our weaknesses and our weaknesses become our strengths.

I thought about this, and how I tend to go too hard and then despair. This goes for writing as well as yoga. There have been times, too, in my life when I quit writing: when we moved to Canada, and when I began teaching school. At these times, I had too much stress and exhaustion.

At other times, there was another struggle: I love to write but I hate being rejected! And I can’t write for publication when I’m stressed out. If Fitzgerald had my temperament, he could never have written even his first book, he would have gone straight to drinking.

But there was one time I wrote because I was stressed. It was because I needed hope when we came home from Italy. I tried to write three pages on lined paper, every morning, with a fountain pen. I did this in total silence, before the kids got up. This practice somehow lightened my mood.

There was no submissions or rejections in journaling. I was totally alone with this writing. Though I occasionally suspected Leo was reading my journal, in general I felt safe with saying what I wanted, confident that any decipherment of these papers would happen in terms of my grown children reading the words after I died, and that would happen only if they had significant perseverance and interest and patience with cursive handwriting.

When I feel better, I think about writing a novel, a memoir, a blog post, an article for publication, but when I’m low, it’s all about writing for myself. A shout into the future, saying: “I’m here.” And perhaps that’s where it all flows from. When I want to be published, it just means the pain level is lower. that I feel safe in expanding my horizons. But when I feel low, I write for myself.

Why do you write?

Author: Susan Taylor Brand

Elementary teacher and blogger

6 thoughts on “Why do you want to write, anyway?”

  1. I write because I love words. I love how the same words can offer limitless possibilities….we use the same words, but everyone uses them differently. And then punctuation. Spacing. Paragraphs. There is beauty in language and I want to read words, and write words, read ideas, and write ideas. And think.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I love them too. But their power can be frightening to me at times. I think that’s why I get such joy out of the secret words — and worlds — of my journal.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I definitely believe writing for yourself vs. writing for public consumption (even friends/family) are two wildly different prospects and experiences. I write because I’ve always wanted to be able to do real magic, and it’s really the closest I can get to the dream in this world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometimes, writing it is the only way you can see the world as you need to see it.

      I wanted to do real magic too. When I was 12 I tried a number of experiments which were not successful.

      Like

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