Anyone who considers themselves a writer must, at some point, ask themselves why they write. Why do we keep journals, write poems, novels, write articles for magazines and local papers, write letters to the editor?
Perhaps we keep journals in order to explore our own feelings, fears, frustrations, or hopes in our lives. We write articles, or letters to editors of local newspapers to express our concerns on issues, or proselytize others to our views on current issues. We write novels to earn money, gain fame or recognition, create fictitious places we would like to live in, use our characters to express our opinions, and possibly to stroke our egos.
Years ago, I began an autobiography, hoping to answer some of the questions I wish I had asked my own parents before they passed away. At some point in the future my children, and their children, may read this and have a better understanding of the paths the family took that brought us all together. If you have ever attempted to go back in your own family history, through journals they may have kept, letters they wrote and kept, and photographs you may wonder how a future generation would do the same. Certainly not through letters, we don’t write letters. We send e-mails, or Facebook messages, all subject to deletion at the stroke of a key. Our digital photographs are kept on our computers and often lost when we misplace a flash drive or update our computers, etc.
K.M. Weiland in her book Conquering Writer’s Block listed eleven reasons we write.
1. Make a mark/leave a legacy.
2. Stroke our own egos.
3. Proselytize others (to a religious or political viewpoint, etc.)
4. Connect with others
5. Explore and experience life
6. Feed aesthetic appreciation
7. Earn money
8. Satisfy a compulsion (i.e. we can’t not write)
10. Gain Catharsis
11. Express ourselves
I felt it was time to take a look at my own reasons so I decided to find a spot away from all distractions. I loaded up my day pack with water and a couple of energy bars, and drove up to the trail head of a local, 5600-foot peak. Two hours later, I sat against the rocks amid the rotting lumber of an old fire lookout, and pulled out the slip of paper with the eleven reasons of why people write. Personally, I counted seven. How many reasons can you claim?
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