Thursday, February 25, 2016

Why I Write

I love bringing home old magazines from the library. They're where I find the majority of my writing prompts, drawing references, and materials for collage and art journaling. But sometimes I just love them for the articles, especially when I come across a copy of a magazine I don't often find, such as the December 2010 copy of Poets and Writers I was able to salvage over the weekend. 

One essay I particularly liked in this issue was titled "Why We Write" by Laura Maylene Walter. In the piece, Walter outlines her struggles and successes as a short story writer. In one paragraph she lists some of her reasons for continuing to write despite numerous rejections and setbacks: for practice, for fun, to discover, to explore, to play. And also: "I wrote because I was never more content than when I was sitting quietly at my writing desk, churning out pages."

All of these reasons, and more, resonated with why I, too, write. The article got me so inspired that as soon as I had finished reading I had to run to my journal and create my own list:

Why I Write
  • To find out what happens.
  • Because if I don't write it down, the story keeps me awake at night.
  • I love the Zen quality of a daily discipline.
  • I love being in a community of writers.
  • I am drawn like a magnet to journals, pens, pencils, sketchbooks, and anything that makes a mark.
  • I enjoy the problem/puzzle-solving each new story provides.
  • Writing gives me a voice.
  • Writing provides a platform for so many spin-off activities: creating book covers and book trailers; making tote bags, T-shirts, and bookmarks; illustrating my scenes, settings, and characters. So many avenues for fresh creativity.
  • Writing, aka "creative daydreaming" keeps me from needlessly (and unproductively) worrying about "real world" problems I can rarely, if ever, change.
  • I can live vicariously through my characters--all those clothes, all that travel!
Going over my list, I was a little bemused that I hadn't mentioned things like "I write to sell books," or "I want to make tons of of money," or even, "to be super-famous." Maybe I should be thinking about those things, but that just isn't me. I write because I have to. On top of that, I can't think of a better way to use my time than to write, or to create artwork and other projects based on, or related to my writing. Which reminds me, I have a story to start from yet another series of magazine cut-outs I just collated . . . see you next time . . .

Tip of the Day: You don't always have to have a reason for writing or for any other creative outlet, but sometimes it's helpful to clarify exactly why you've chosen to do what you do. Set aside some time and journal pages to write down your answers, and be sure to leave an idea or two in my Comments section!


Dawn Herring said...

Loved your list! I love how one creative practice influences and enhances another creative practice. They often work in tandem, don't they? I write because it gives me clarity, helps me stay on track with goals and tasks, helps me honor my life experience and how I feel about it.

I think it's important to recognize why we do something so we can greatly benefit through awareness and mindfulness. It can really more deeply who we are.

Thanks for sharing your list. Thanks for the invite to share mine. :)

Be refreshed,
Dawn Herring

Valerie Storey said...

So appreciate you sharing this list, Dawn. All great points and ones I totally agree with. Wishing you many more happy writing times!