Why Write?


I’ve been congratulating myself a little the last couple of days. Having gone from being close to giving up completely on writing I am now feeling more confident and have even finished a couple of projects. I can feel writing becoming a more and more integral part of my life, to the extent where it seems strange to go a day without writing anything. It’s taken me a while to get there, but I feel much happier.

This has led me to wonder why I ever wanted to write in the first place. What was it that, even when I felt so low, kept me going instead of giving up as I usually do so easily with other things?

I had a dim memory, a few days ago, of when my grandma died. She had always lived in London, whereas we live in the north east, so we didn’t see her all that often, but when we did she was always good fun. She was a proper old Irish lady, full of stories about the fairies at the bottom of the garden and tales from the part of Ireland that she came from. When she died, about fourteen years ago, we went down to London to sort out some of her things, and came across a rejection letter from a publisher.

She had written and submitted a children’s book – I don’t remember whether it was a collection of stories or one long story. It was something I had never known about her and I had a strong feeling of pride that she had actually taken the leap and submitted something. Now when I am starting to take myself seriously as a writer it feels quite apt to keep hold of that memory. It feels like a link to someone very special, and in some strange way like I am carrying on from her.

This isn’t the only, or main, reason I write though. I only remembered this incident a few days ago, after all, and I’ve been writing on and off for a while. I have been a voracious reader since childhood, does that explain something? A desire to emulate the authors I admire and to make up for the ones I don’t?

I have always enjoyed words – at school I was best at subjects that used words and language like English or French. I was the one people asked about spellings and synonyms. I have written little pieces since I was a child, just for the fun of it, until I became a teenager, and fitting in and being cool became more important (not that I ever managed it!).

But perhaps the most important reason to write is just…because. Because I can, and I know that with work and perseverance I can do it well. Because it feels right (no pun intended) and increasingly natural. Because when I am doing some mundane, everyday activity and I get a story playing in my head, the logical next step is to jot it down to play around with.

I’m fairly sure I’ve missed some reasons, and I will shout out at some random point “Yes, that’s another one!” In the meantime, what are other reasons people write?

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2 Responses

  1. This I think is your best written blog post yet (though am not sure that qualified as a pun…what do I know ha).

    I had no idea about your Grandma. That is fascinating. I wonder if she resubmitted? Perhaps under a pseudonym…Blyton, perhaps?

    As for other reasons to write, don’t forget technical or factual writing. I know it’s sad, but I really enjoy looking at well written reports, and well structured documents. I also really enjoy the typography, but that’s another story (probably for another blog).

    Keep writing Becca. Key phrase from that post: “Because I can, and I know that with work and perseverance I can do it well”.

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