Why We Write

We all have reasons for writing. Sometimes we just have a compulsion to do it; sometimes we things we have to say; sometimes it helps us to express the things that haunt us in the night. I encourage you to contribute a page text about why you write.

There was time when I wrote simply because I loved to do it. The very act of it was soothing. Seeing the texts that came out of my head was exciting. But then I went to college as an English major with a writing minor, and serious writing became cripplingly stressful. Suddenly, individual pieces of writing were worth 30%, 40%, even 50% of the grades in my classes, and composing an essays sometimes made me feel physically ill. Writing seemed to me, an act of magic that I could only hope would work in my favor, and I learned to hate the process. I basically quit writing outside of an academic setting until I was out of college.

But while I was tutoring writing at the university that I had attended, reading dozens of papers, stories, poems, speeches, etc. I discovered that the urge to write was coming back. But for a totally different reason. Reading papers on the things that my students felt passionate about -beauty ideals, sex trafficking, domestic violence etc – made me realize that there are issues, that I too, am passionate about discussing and exploring. I learned that I care deeply about domestic violence, woman's issues, education, literary, and so many other things. And that I needed a way to discuss them. When I had graduated college, I lost my medium for intense and open discussion, and craved to have something in it's place. (In my department, we ate controversy for breakfast.) But I discovered that writing fiction and poetry could fill the void that college had left. It allowed me to convert my ideas to images and then share them with the people around me, so that we can sympathize, negotiate, debate, and share our experiences. At first I was scared, and sometimes still am. But I am also learning that writing isn't some sort of magic that must be conjured up from within oneself. It's a set of skills that can be learned and practiced; it's a process of writing and re-writing, thinking and re-thinking. And it's a process that is necessary for me to be able to understand my life, so I learn to do it better and better.

The End

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