By Melissa Uhles
“I don’t need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me.” - Ray Bradbury
Writing can be a hard slog. Do you have days where you ask yourself why write? I know I do. Maybe you’ve had days where you’ve wondered what the benefits of being a writer are. Sometimes I have to remind myself when I’m having one of those “dark nights of the soul” moments that there are good reasons I decided to write.
Over the years I’ve written books, blogs, and all sorts of other content. It’s all been rooted from a place of having lots to say. I’m a big talker, so writing seems like a natural extension for me. I also need a creative outlet of some kind, a lens for processing life’s absurdity.
When I started mulling over this question for myself. I wanted to know what other writers thought. I reached out to our Pen and Parent Facebook community and asked, “Why do you write?” Here’s what writer/parents had to say:
Author Autumn Lindsey said, “I don't know how other writers work, but I know for myself, it’s as if a story just comes to me longing to be told. And for whatever strange, crazy, cosmic reason it picked me to tell it. So I do my best to write it. To bring that story to life. Even if I might be the only one to read it, I learn something about myself and the world around me. That in itself is worth all the late nights spent typing word after word.”
Melissa Egan of The Momialist said, "I write relatable articles for parents that help us to connect. My writing is another way to seek out human connections. I think we as a society are losing the art of human connection. My writing helps me to bring that back to myself and extend it out to others."
Abby Lamb Mathews of the Moms Write Podcast said, “I write because it keeps me out of the bars...and it’s better than doing laundry.”
Emile Jeanne said, "I am a dental hygienist and ended up dropping hours in order to pursue other ventures...such as blogging! I now have time to write about those pain points - the questions my patients ask while in the dental chair. Writing helps me impact more lives - reach a broader audience and gives me voice that otherwise might go unnoticed."
Amber Roshay, writer and co-founder of Pen and Parent said, “I write because I have to. There have been times that I thought I would give it up, like a bad habit, but then the urge to create would bubble up again, and I found myself a willing captive. But this implies that I’m somehow not grateful for my writing. In many ways, writing has been my best friend. I’ve turned to writing during the best and worst times of my life. And each time I’m grateful.”
Some famous authors have also spoken about this subject. In an article in Writer's Digest I found some interesting quotes about why one might choose to write.
“Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.” —Enid Bagnold
“Long patience and application saturated with your heart’s blood—you will either write or you will not—and the only way to find out whether you will or not is to try.” —Jim Tully
“People say, ‘What advice do you have for people who want to be writers?’ I say, they don’t really need advice, they know they want to be writers, and they’re gonna do it. Those people who know that they really want to do this and are cut out for it, they know it.” —R.L. Stine
“We’re past the age of heroes and hero kings. … Most of our lives are basically mundane and dull, and it’s up to the writer to find ways to make them interesting.” —John Updike
In the end, I think it’s fair to say, like other art forms, you write because you can’t not write. Sometimes I’ve tried to stop but I always come back to it. What about you?
Why do YOU write? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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