Two weeks ago, we encouraged you to review George Orwell's essay, Why I Write, and explore the reason(s) why YOU write. Read the For Your Journal writing prompt here. Are your responses similar to these shared by Literary Mama editors and contributors?
"Joan Didion writes, 'I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking,' and I would add that I write in order to slow down and make sense of my life as it rushes by. My children are (quite literally) moving subjects, and if I didn't pause periodically to write about them, I don't think I would grasp so well how they are growing and developing. And while I may (often, but not always) start with my kids, writing about them makes me travel back in time to understand more clearly my own childhood and family." ~ Caroline Grant, Editor-in-Chief
"Life is messy, and sometimes I get so caught up in that messiness that I lose perspective. Writing helps me make sense of the life I'm living--the heartbreak and the happiness--and put my experiences in perspective. Writing also helps me suss out the universals in my life and feel connected to something larger. " ~ Kate Hopper, Literary Reflections Editor
"I write because I can't NOT write. When I don't write I am no longer my true self, and everybody suffers when that happens! I write because it's who I am - the compulsion to wrap words around my reality can't be ignored. I write because when I don't I feel as though something is withering on the vine. I write because I can't shake the implausible feeling that I will one day see my name on the front cover of a book." ~ Heidi Scrimgeour, Literary Reflections Editorial Assistant
"Orwell says, "Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness." I can't agree! Exhausting, long, and a struggle, yes. But I would never say "horrible" or liken it to an illness. However, maybe I'd understand if I'd written 1984 and Animal Farm."
Out of the reasons listed by Orwell in his essay, my own reasons are closest to his lines describing "aesthetic enthusiasm." Orwell referred to "Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story. Desire to share an experience which one feels is valuable and ought not to be missed." These sentences resonated with me. I agreed with Orwell silently, Yes, that's exactly it."
Simply put, though, I write because I'm good at it, and I love it. Some of my earliest memories involve the joy of writing and storytelling, and the pleasure of being recognized for having talent. (This must fall under what Orwell calls "sheer egoism". I'll cop to that.)
"I was made to write, and so I do." ~ Kristina Riggle, Fiction Editor
"I write for dozens of reasons -- it’s vital to my day, like morning coffee and hugging my kids. In part, I write to satisfy the urge to create. Putting words on the screen requires only a tap of fingers, but creating those words involves all the senses and all parts of the mind: observe the world; explore patterns and meaning; find beauty in rhythm and imagery. The artist and scientist are soothed. If I don’t write, I have to bake!" ~ Katherine Barrett, Reviews & Profiles Editor
"I write to record memories and document the significance of these memories for my family. I write so they will celebrate the present, and so that, in the future, they'll find value in the present when it becomes their past." ~ Karna Converse, Blog Editor
"I write to make sense of my world. I find when I free write I can get in touch with some sort of subconscious self that lets me know how I truly feel. Those truths then become my compass in decision making." ~ Angela Butler, Contributor