Writing. Since humanity has learned the skill it has been a pastime to tell tall tales, detail events, or simply something to do when one was bored. It is something we all encounter everyday, whether that is something we have written ourselves or reading something someone else has written. Yet, rarely do we ask ourselves why someone enjoys writing or why personally we enjoy writing. This article will first examine a few famous writers and why they chose to pursue a life in writing; and finish with a personal examination of why I write, which has most recently directed me into pursuing a career in journalism.
There are countless wonderful examples of great artists having beautiful, inspiring reasons for choosing to write and it is a difficult task to only be able to pull three names from such an impressive list; yet, here we are. First, is famous film director and screenwriter, Alfred Hitchcock, whose films changed the way modern thriller and horror movies are made. When asked why he writes and directs films, he responded, “Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.”
Second, is infamous poet Allen Ginsberg, a follower and albeit leader of the Beat Generation in the United States in the 1950s. Although he was never directly asked why he wrote poetry, it became increasingly obvious in his works. Ginsberg saw a world losing touch with itself and becoming numb to both the good and bad of itself. He believed only through poetry could the world become aware of itself again.
Lastly, is one of the greatest musicians to ever live, Bob Dylan. Dylan felt that many of his creative counterparts spent too much time inside trying to write; however, Dylan said he always felt isolation made his music worse. It wasn’t until he would be in his twenties did he realize if he did not want to be a homebody and wanted his music to improve he needed to get out and experience the world. A decision he’s said he has never looked back on.
If I may briefly look at myself for a moment, I see someone who has been writing their entire life. Whether it is in the form of a screenplay, novel, short story, poem or simply jotting random thoughts down. There was once a time I had burdened myself with writing a full-length novel, but knew it would never be completed if I could be distracted by the TV, so for an entire month I would get myself in trouble at school so I would be grounded at home and all I’d be able to do is write. I’m getting off topic though, so back to the question of why I write. I’m sure I could think of more, but quickly here are three.
First, is because life doesn’t always have a happy ending, but through storytelling I am able to give my characters whatever ending I want to. Writing gives me a sense of control.
Secondly, like with everybody, I have had my share of personal struggles and had little idea how to cope; however, when I could write all of them down in some format I found myself feeling better and becoming more aware of my feelings towards certain issues in my life. Writing is my personal form of therapy.
My third and final reason is simple: I write because I love to write. While some see that statement as straightforward and others (philosophy majors, I’m looking at you) see it as vague, I write because I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t.
Writing is a wonderful skill many people can do, but many choose not to. It is not for everyone, but for those who love writing, it is a part of their life that they hold close to their heart. It is where wonderful stories are told, beautiful language is heard, where journalists break stories wide open, or a way to pass the time. Why write? Why not?