06 October 2001

All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at
the very bottom of their motives lies a mystery.
Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, like
a long bout of some painful illness. One would never
undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some
demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.
   - G. Orwell

I was recently reading a book about writing, a collection of essays by famous US writers, aimed at readers who are--or want to be--writers themselves. The essays revealed the truths and frailties of the men and women who tell stories and explore the human condition through their words for a living. Each writer contributed to the patchwork of the collection one aspect of what being a writer is all about.

When I finished the book, I sat thinking about what I’d read. Why do I write? I think it’s time I answered that question.

I write because I want room to make up my mind before I speak out on subjects. I write because I am afraid of being forgotten by future generations. I write because I can touch concepts with written words in a way I can’t approximate with spoken words. I write to express and explore my emotions. I write to listen with my heart to what people in the world are saying. I write to keep track of my victories. I write to expunge my losses. I write to purge my shame. I write to explore my boundaries. I write to expand my imagination. I write to remember, and I write to forget. I write to change history, and to influence the future. I write to discharge negative energy and feelings. I write because I hate being under anyone’s control. I write because it makes me feel honest. I write to share laughter. I write when I am overcome by sorrow. I write when I refuse to to quarrel. I write from a place deep inside myself that nobody but me knows about. I write when I feel reality rock and dissolve around me. I write to capture people on the page. I write to capture ideas before they vanish. I write to inspire emotions in my readers. I write to offer images and dreams to the world. I write to concretize fantasies. I write to validate my dreams. I write to relive past glories. I write because playing with words amuses me. I write to extend my reach beyond my grasp. I write to teach myself afresh all the lessons I tend to forget. I write when nobody seems willing to listen to what I have to say. I write as a way of keeping track of myself. I write by accident, when words find me. I write to celebrate my life. I write when I have a story to tell. I write when the world fills me with love, and I write when it fills me with rage. I write because I feel I must or I shall go mad. I write when I am humbled. I write when I am filled with pride. I write when I am filled with sin. I write when blessings reach me. I write in spite of the threat of exposure and ridicule. I write because my heart is open and pouring onto the page. I write because there is nothing else in the world I would rather do.

And if that’s not reason enough, I write in order to be a better writer.

Excuse me. I have to get back to my writing.


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