Why write?

It’s a question I’ve been asking myself a bit lately. Maybe it’s the three previous days spent feeling stuck that’s triggering the thoughts. Not even stuck, just creatively sapped. Maybe it happens to every writer. Maybe it happens every time.

I’ve wanted to write a book since college. But writers write and I never pushed through the initial flailing with ideas to learn that. These past two years I wrote a book. It took three complete re-writes. What changed? What drove me to push so hard this time?

There was something about The Shortcut that my heart couldn’t let go. My book features an engineer who accidentally builds a device that gives its user instant enlightenment. He finds a way to share it with the world. Chaos ensues. That’s the three sentence version. I could talk about the book for hours. But I’m writing this for the sake of writing something. Writing about the book doesn’t quite feel like the kind of writing I need to do right now. So back to the question.

Why write? You see I’ve been creative for my entire life. And I enjoy being creative in new ways. I’ve drawn a few self-published comic books. I’m still very proud of them. Everything from cartoon characters to abstract art. And I’m good at it. Not great, but I would be happy to show them to anyone with pride. I’d like to make more some day. And yet it never said everything I’ve wanted to say

But the written word. Always there, tantalizing me with its power. It’s ability to convey the complex feelings I often hold too deep inside. And it challenged me. Looking back on the past two years I can see now why I wrote so much. Why I didn’t mind two complete re-writes. Why after 200,000 words my latest draft is under 50,000.

I write because it helps me figure out who I really am. Who I really want to be. I write because I enjoy telling a story. And I want to tell it in a thoughtful, controlled way. Well thought out, edited, focused. I write the stories I would most like to read.

Why write? Because even when I have to force the words, I end up sharing more and learning more about myself.