Lately I feel as if I have just been going through the motions. I’ve been writing for the sake of writing, and deriving no joy from it. I’ve put pressure on myself to publish a set amount of blog posts per week, even if I haven’t felt like it.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with this, it helps me hone my writing style and practise creating even when I don’t feel inspired. That’s a useful trait to have, particularly for someone who wants to write for a living. However, it brings with it a strange sadness.
Before I started forcing myself to write X number of words a month, I could never imagine a world where I didn’t want to write every minute of every day. Now I am living in it. It is as if I have forgotten why I started writing in the first place, what it is that drew me to the keyboard and whispered to me that I should let the words flow. This is my attempt to recapture that, by reminding myself of why exactly I started doing this.
First, I write because there is still injustice in the world. People may say that one voice does not matter, but that one voice is infinitely louder than the silence that stems from ignorance of issues. And so I have, usefully or otherwise, taken it upon myself to highlight events that I think err on the side of the morally wrong, or the morally dubious. I try to find causes that I really care about and bring them forward into the eyes of you, my audience, who are kind enough to read my musings.
But there is so much more to it than that. What I have just said may seem very noble, but the reason I write is the opposite of selfless. I write for the same reason that so many people love to read. When I am doing it, nothing else matters. I can escape from the horrors or injustices I am writing about by pouring myself onto the paper upon which I am analysing them. In that moment, the outside world becomes irrelevant and I can say what I like in the knowledge that, at the end, I will have reached some form of closure with myself.
I write when I struggle to express myself, when I know that I have an opinion but I can’t pin it down. That’s when I open my computer and let my thoughts bleed onto it. It’s a way for me to debate my ideas with the privilege of being allowed to find out what I think as I go along.
Most of all, however, I write because it is a reminder that I am not defined by who I am, or what I do, or the mistakes I have made in my life. Some might say that you can tell the most from someone by the way they speak when you meet them. I disagree. Any piece of writing is a beautiful window into someone’s personality. It is like a self-portrait, or a photograph, from which you can begin to discern the psyche of the author at that particular moment in their life. It is very difficult to hide or conceal when you write, and that is why I adore it as an art form. Emotions come in their purest state, and are laid bare for all to see who care to do so.
Everyone has a reason for writing, but personally I love the idea of words cascading from my head onto the paper, and making a permanent mark, an indelible reminder of how I was feeling at the moment I produced that piece. My writings are insights into my innermost thoughts, things I might never dare to say out loud if I hadn’t written them down first, and I am thrilled that I can share that with the world.
Ultimately writing is something that allows me to express myself when otherwise I might not be able to do so. It is a way for me to combat what I find unjust about the world, and add my voice to the choir of authors singing disharmoniously on this beautiful invention that is the Internet.
Writing permits my thoughts to transmit themselves to something more tangible, if only I can restrain them and force them to stand together in something approaching a consolidated process. It is my mouth when I cannot speak and my eyes when I cannot see. It is me, distilled into a more concentrated form, and put out for all to view, something I would never dare to do without the protection of a pen and paper to guard what I have exposed.
So there we have it. That’s why I write. Please, please comment and let me know what inspires you to write. I know writer’s block is something we all go through and this has been my way of dealing with it. I would love to hear thoughts on the piece and if anyone else has other reasons for writing, I’m always interested.