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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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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*

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