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Why I Write: A Personal Statement

This is for me.  If anyone else reads it, that's fine.  I'm not making this entry private.  But this isn't supposed to be pretty or well-crafted or profound.  This is just a brief freewrite about why I write and why I must continue writing; I'm keeping it here so I can look back at it when I need to.

There is power and beauty and music in words.  I've felt it my entire life, as I've read others' writing.  Books have been solace, challenge, adventure, and guide.  I suspect many others would say the same. 

While growing up, I was told that I wrote "well."  I still don't know exactly what that means, but I accept that I can compose a sentence that communicates something in an intelligible fashion. 

And I want to communicate–with myself and with other people. 

I sporadically kept a journal during my adolescent years.  When I found that journal years later and reread it, I was so mortified by how immature and foolish I sounded that I threw it away. 

I wish I realized then what I realize now–that that journal was a link to who I was–and who I was then was ok. 

The years have made the contents of that journal very fuzzy.  Still, I know there wasn't anything awful in it.  It was just the writing of a much younger person, and it was filled with the concerns of a much younger person.  Now, I can't quite recall who I was during those years, and I mourn that written record of a particular time and a particular self.

Memory is tricky and imprecise, and already, so much has faded.  If I could un-trash that journal, I would.  That I trashed it is one of my biggest regrets.

I could develop amnesia or Alzheimer's.  Or I could age normally and just not remember the little details that make up a life.  And I want to remember.  When it's all said and done, what is life but a sum of all those tiny moments?

Whether it's journaling, blogging, or writing fiction, writing is a way for me to remember my experiences and synthesize them.  It's a way to make sense of my life.  It's a way to articulate what it means to be human, to be me. 

Writing is craft.  (I write to learn.)

Writing is entertainment.  (I write to entertain myself and other people.)

Writing is an escape.  (I write to forget.)

Writing is an act of faith.  (I write to believe.)

Writing is an act of remembrance.  (I write to remember.)

Writing is an act of living.  (I write to live.)

The times when I lacked confidence in my ability to write weren't times of abject misery.  But I was frustrated and hungry, and I tried to fill those empty spaces with things that couldn't fill them.  I have an itch to write, an itch to create.  I get cranky and dissatisfied when I don't write.  I recognize that now and I honor it. 

What I write might be crap.  It might be derivative or dull or lacking in artistic merit.  That's ok.  I won't stop writing.  Never again.  I need it. 

No subject will be off-limits.  A lifetime isn't long enough to write about everything, but I won't consciously close off specific subjects, themes, or types of writing.   There is light and dark in life.  People laugh, cry, fuck, fight, kill, love, die, despair, doubt, and wrong one another.  Life is fluff, angst, smut, comedy, drama, and tragedy.  Those are near universals of the human experience.  I won't avoid writing about any of those things because someone else might be offended or saddened or disagree with my view of the world.

Not your cup of tea?  Don't read it.  That is ok.  People read for as many different reasons as they write. 

Silence does not equal goodness.  Silence equals unhappiness. 

There is power and beauty and music in words.


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Hear hear!

I'd like to add that sharing your writing with others is adventurous and--if you're shy in RL--a little bit like jumping out of the plane the first time you sky dive :)

You open yourself to your readers, let us delve in your emotional state of the moment, and offer us a glimpse of who you are at different times of the day/week/your life.

And those of us who are lucky enough to read what you write are grateful.


I haven't skydived before, but I have a hunch you're right, Piper. *g*

And those of us who are lucky enough to read what you write are grateful.

Thank you. I'm grateful that you read anything I write. I don't believe my writing is special in any way except that it's mine. Whenever someone connects with it, it gives me a little thrill of disbelief and happiness. I don't agree with Booth's comments about crappy sex and making love, because I don't see why roleplay, etc. and making love are mutually exclusive. (Plus I think he wasn't being completely honest. I bet Booth's more open to trying things than he let on. Maybe not pony play, but that still leaves a lot of other things. *g*)

However, I love this: "Why? I'll tell you why. Here we are, all of us, basically alone, separate creatures, just circling each other, all searching for that slightest hint of a real connection. "

That's how I feel about writing—and sharing my writing. :)

IMO, it's also an art, and baby: you are a terrific artist!! ::loves::

You're right, writing is an art. I just have trouble claiming the word "artist" for myself. But that's my hang-up. ;) Maybe in time...

Wow, you truly truly reminded me of why I always loved to write. When I was in junior high, my teacher told me I was a good writer. I wasn't exaclty sure what to make of that, but I knew that I sure loved to write especially since come time when she would assign us to write a story for creative writing, I would be the only one smiling and eagerly awaiting to start working on it. My want and need to write just got even stronger in highschool. I would write everything from my own stories of fiction to fanficion and it was something that was so apart of me, something that was part of my identity. A few years into college, I felt like I lost my muse or spark or whatever you want to call it and I quit updating all my stories and had the hardest time of trying to write new ones. I would come up with all these ideas and all these jumbled thoughts came out. I have wrote a few one shots here and there since that time, but felt like I shouldn't have even bothered. I hate feeling that way, because writing to me is a true expression of myself and something in turn that I miss dearly. I try to just give myself an hour and sit in front of the computer and see if I can come up with something, let the words flow, but, no luck. I even tried to write a Booth/Brennan one-shot the other day and couldn't get past a few sentences. It hurts me because I want to get that part of me back. Hopefully, one day it will happen. Anyway, your words about why you like to write have touched me and I just wanted to say that you reminded me why writing has always been so important/special to me. And just have to say that your stories are the greatest inspiration to me. Thank you! :D

Edited at 2008-01-03 01:34 am (UTC)

*hugs* Shauna. I know what it's like to be a frustrated writer. I don't want to overstep my bounds, but maybe you could try just writing where you are. Maybe describe where you're sitting, what you're feeling, what objects surround you. That could be a good starting point that leads you elsewhere, or maybe it will be an end in itself. And fiction isn't the only form of writing. :)

Writing IS special. I'm not an elitist; I think everyone should write. Not necessarily for publication or public consumption, but I think everyone can benefit from it. No two people are the same, and everyone has something to say—even though it can take time to figure out what that something is. *smiles*

Your comments touched me; thank you for sharing them. *hugs*

I read your post and I just wanted to say that it really touched me: that is exactly how I feel. I write stories too(I also published one) and writing is a way to run away from reality, an escape to my own world. I feel good when I write. I've only written one fanfiction up to now, but I'm already at my fourth story, although I couldn't post them because only this fourth one is in English.
I just wanted to comment and say I really liked your statement. I love writing too.


Hi, Barbara. *waves* Thank you for letting me know my post resonated with you. Writing is something very special, and I hope to never be without it.

Congratulations on being published! That's wonderful. :)

I agree with a lot of what you said up there. I'm a young adult (or I hope I'm getting there) in college and reading my very sporadically kept journals from only what, five or six years ago makes me feel very silly. There was nothing incriminating in them because I was always paranoid someone would find them and read them, but what I obsessed about was odd, now that I think about it. Reading that just makes me feel a little, I don't know. Lots of stuff in there that I said I would do and never did.

But that's life, right? I don't write (stories) like I used to, I don't know what happened but it takes so much more effort and nothing comes out the way it's supposed to. I love your commitment to it, however.

Silence equals unhappiness.

Maybe you're right about that. :o)

BTW, new to LJ, Bones, and your fics all at once. Don't mean to ramble in my first post but I really like your writing and portrayal of the characters.

Hi there. :) I can understand why you feel a little strange when you read your old journals. It's like looking at your old self, whoever that was.

And there are many forms of writing; fiction isn't better than any of the others. Maybe some other form of writing is right for you now, even if fiction isn't. And we all go through dry spells; I think it's normal.

You're right, I am committed to writing, but fiction may not always be the form it takes. That's ok.

You didn't ramble, and I enjoyed reading your comment. :) Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Also, I don't want to be presumptuous, but I posted a couple writing exercises/prompts here, if you're interested in taking a peek.

If you're new to Bones, you have a lot to look forward to. It's a fun show. :) What's the last episode you saw?

Thanks again; don't be a stranger.

I can honestly agree with you on this. I write for many of your same reasons. Writing has always been there for me no matter how hectic life got or how bad of a day I was having. Music, writing and graphics... Three things that make my day :)

Very well said. I feel the same way about my journals I kept in high school, also destroyed in a fit of pique. I really wish I hadn't done that.

Thanks, Donna. Some things really can't be undone. :(

I've been compulsively reading your Bones fanfics all night now, and I stumbled upon this while I was poking around for more to read. I'm not on your friend's list or anything, so I hope you don't mind that a random stranger is reading / commenting on this, but, I found the whole entry really inspiring. I've been having trouble writing recently, and when I do write, I'm dissatisfied and frustrated with how it turns out, and frankly, I've been losing hope.

I write for most of the same reasons you do, especially to remember, as I've found my memory to be pretty useless. If I don't have pictures or words to jog my memory, I won't remember. The days when nothing happens, the days when I don't write anything down, those are the days that blur together and confuse me. I find it hard to separate what I think about doing, and what I actually do. Writing really helps with that, and it's one of my biggest regrets that I recently tossed a journal dating from about two years ago. If I could bring it back, I would, because those were whole years (as well as an important time in my life) that I've pretty much lost.

But what really got to me was this line: "What I write might be crap. It might be derivative or dull or lacking in artistic merit. That's ok. I won't stop writing. Never again. I need it."

That is my biggest writing related worry. Ever since I've been little, teachers have told me that I'm good at writing, that I have a "skill" or "talent". I feel like, if it doesn't sound perfect to me, then I don't have any of that skill or talent, and that it isn't worth finishing. I've worried about not being good enough to ever write things that will touch people, and that, plus my many insecurities, has been what's keeping me from trying to push through my writer's block. But what you said resonates with me, and inspires me to keep trying. My writing might be crap and it might always be crap, but I will continue to write. And imperfect or not, I'll treasure what I write, and I'll keep trying, and keep using writing as my way of remembering. So, thank you. I may just be a random person, but I'm a random person who was inspired and touched by your writing, and I hope that's enough to keep me from seeming creepy. :D

Also, your Bones fanfics are absolutely amazing, and I've basically fallen in love with the way you portray Booth and Brennan. Just, guh.

I don't mind at all that you read this. :) If I minded, I would have locked this entry or made it private. You are not alone; I suspect that many, many writers and other people who "make stuff," sometimes feel dissatisfied with their work and are plagued by doubts. That's probably normal and in some way possibly even helpful if it pushes us to avoid complacency and keep trying to improve, be creative, try different things, etc. It's when it paralyzes us that it's harmful, and believe me--I've been there. A writer who isn't writing because he/she feels blocked or worthless is a miserable sight. *g*

I won't give you unwanted advice. I just hope that you keep writing if there's even the tiniest spark of desire to do it in you. We tend to be our own harshest critics.

Rest assured that I don't think you seem creepy. If I wasn't interested in connecting with other readers and writers, I wouldn't keep a LiveJournal. Thank you for your thoughtful comments; I'm very happy that some of this post resonated with you. Please feel free to lurk or comment here as you see fit. Welcome. :)

Also, your Bones fanfics are absolutely amazing, and I've basically fallen in love with the way you portray Booth and Brennan. Just, guh.

Thank you so much. I adore Bones as a whole and Booth and Brennan in particular, so your comment made me very happy.

Writing is one of those things I absolutely adore doing. I actually consider it part of my soul, and if I don;t do it for a long time, I feel like part of my soul is missing. It runs in my family too: my mom, Dad, and Uncles all love writing.

You phrased everything really well, though my problem with journals isn't going to be that I threw it away (I never throw anything away) but rather I can't read it because my handwriting's so bad.

Thanks for posting this! It really makes me want to write some stories right now. I might even attempt my first B/B fic even though I haven't seen every episode yet (I've seen seasons one and three).


I actually consider it part of my soul, and if I don;t do it for a long time, I feel like part of my soul is missing.

I hear you. :)

...I can't read it because my handwriting's so bad.

Hmm... That does seem problematic.

Thanks for posting this!

You're welcome. :)

It really makes me want to write some stories right now.

So go write! What's the worst that can happen? ;)

I'm so glad I read this. I've been struggling lately; a combination of rabid insecurity about my writing fueled by reading some peoples' remarks about other writers' works.

I know I have a lot to learn. I need to develop my ideas more fully so that what's in my head makes it to the screen, and then it needs to be more polished.

Everything that you've said here has struck a deep chord with me. I know that probably wasn't your intention in writing this. Thank you anyway ::hugs::

*hugs you back*

While I wrote this for myself, I left it public because I knew there must be someone else out there who wrote or created and occasionally suffered from self-doubt. So if this helped even a little, I'm ecstatic.

I empathize with your struggles. Sometimes it can feel intimidating knowing how much there still is to learn; sometimes it feels like a wonderful thing. There doesn't have to be a limit or end to the journey.

You're not asking for my advice, but I'm going to give it to you anyway because I believe so strongly in the power of writing: keep writing. A word on the page or the computer screen can always be polished or changed. It isn't set in stone.

Give yourself permission to get the things that are in your head down on paper. Give yourself permission to be less than perfect. Give yourself permission to write whatever you want to read. I doubt you'll regret it.

If you share your writing, some people will love it. Some people will hate it. More people will read and not comment, so you'll have no idea what they think. Don't let any of that stop you from saying what you want to say. The drive to write -- to make something -- is precious. Don't let criticism or self-criticism silence you. Every single one of us has a voice.

If you ever want to vent about writing (or not writing), I'm here.

Edited at 2008-04-17 12:21 pm (UTC)

I’m so glad to have found someone online who can articulate so well how I, too, feel about writing (and expressing myself that way) but sometimes struggle to voice. It helps me shape my own thoughts and inspires me.

"What I write might be crap. It might be derivative or dull or lacking in artistic merit. That's ok. I won't stop writing. Never again. I need it."

It’s true: it is a part of my soul and if I don’t write it feels like a piece of myself is lost (ladiesophiekitty, above).
Having pushed through a five-year (!) writer’s block, it fills me with the greatest joy to flex these mental and emotional muscles again; like getting reacquainted with an old friend I’ve dearly missed all those years. Even when I compare my work to other writers I admire (you among them) and find it lacking in comparison. I’m okay with that now; it doesn’t stop me from writing anymore, not even from posting it online, which I recently decided to start doing.

This remark from you (in response to a comment) struck a really deep chord (and even a tear duct ;-p), especially because it seems to be mirrored both in my writing and my personal life right now:

“everyone has something to say—even though it can take time to figure out what that something is.”

And “Silence equals unhappiness” really drove that home.
I feel I owe you a debt of gratitude, because while I am aware that the writing and the decision to write again (and post it) are mine, your thoughts and your writing have certainly contributed to that, and inspired me a great deal. Thank you!

Congratulations on breaking a five-year writer's block. :) That's fantastic news; thanks for sharing it with me. And I'm thrilled that this post moved you; if it played even a tiny part in getting you to write again, I'm happy. ♥ I do believe that everyone has something to say. Figuring out just what that is is half the fun -- and the frustration.

I would love to write. When I was in school I was told that I had tralent, I used to write lots but as I got older (I'm nearly 26) I have unortunately lost all confidence, I haven't written in years! But you are truly inspiring! I love your work, your unique style and I like who you are as a person too, so you are perfect inspiration for me! Thankyou sssoooo very much for sharing, you are truly amazing ♥

I have to say that I really admire writers. The ability to channel emotions, thoughts and past experiences through written word has always been really appealing to me and I admire those of you who share it. I do write sometimes but I've never been brave enough to let anyone read it.

As for the reasons why you write, I feel the same way about painting. I've always thought the two where the same on some level. I still have almost all the drawings I've ever created and they form a visual journal for me. I can understand how upset you must be at the loss of your journal, as loosing my art would destroy me.

Back to my point, I just thought I'd say how much I admire your passion for writing.

I've been reading what you've writ for the last oh, 7 hours or so, (desperately seeking something well written, word friendly by someone who loves words and how they macrame together in a very special way) and then I got to this part and

'There is power and beauty and music in words.'

You write beautifully, poetically, sometimes when people read my scribblybits they say you have a way with words--I take that to mean, well, somehow my words have reached their hearts, across age, miles, location, moon, whatever--I'm not a great shakes author--hugely far from it. But I love with all my heart and part of my gizzard, the way of words and you write so damn honest it hurts and I like that. I like that your words in combination bring tears to my eyes becos my heart has just filled up with the honesty of it and that feeling falls freely from my eyes. That's just tre yaya cool. Please for me, give yourself a hug, and please keep writing more and more so I can continue to be amazed and amused. Yeah, that's what I want to say. I likes your stuff, what you've writ and though you don't know me from Adam's off ox, well, you know honesty when you write it and hopefully you know it when you read these words. If you ever ever ever have even a tiny doubt call me in sTX and I'll set you to rights. You've a gift darlin' and praise be you share it. Thank you, small words to tell you of my pleasure in what you've writ.

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