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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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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.

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