Sometimes people question the motivations of a writer. Writers are weird. Writers think too much and tend to hole up in quiet places and spend hours alone, often putting in lots of work for nothing more than the joy of writing itself. Making a living from writing is really hard. There's competition and rejection and writer's block, and there's no such thing as a writer getting paid for "showing up." Writers have to deliver. No words on the page? Um ... no pay, then. Why would anyone want to bother with all that?
In other words, why do writers write?
Well, I don’t know why all writers write, but I know why I write, so here goes.
I write because …
I have something to say. In case you haven’t met me, my name is Crystal, and I am opinionated. The world is an interesting place inhabited by interesting people saying and doing interesting things, and when I hear something that makes me “feel some kind of way” as we say in Philly, I just want to tell folks about it. I believe ideas, not money, truly make the world go ‘round, and it just so happens that writing is an excellent way to share ideas—both mine and others’.
I can. Listen, not everyone can produce a piece of writing that is clear, engaging, logically organized, and (by and large) free of typos and spelling mistakes. Some people have great ideas but lousy grammar and spelling skills. Some people have the grammar down, but their writing is stilted and boring. Other people have loads of passion, and that’s good, but they’re all over the place. You can’t understand what the hell they’re talking about because their writing is disorganized or chaotic, even. Has everything I’ve ever written been read-worthy? No. But I can still write. It’s a gift, and I didn’t earn it. Don’t hate.
I feel. I am a sensitive sort who feels stuff a little too much sometimes, and writing is therapeutic. Writing lets me get out all the “junk” I have inside that causes me to feel anxious, angry, or sad. Writing puts a kink in the loop running round and round and round in my head and makes me feel useful—I've taken that junk and created something good.
I’m mortal. When my mother died at the age of fifty-five, I became very aware of my own mortality. In fact, I became terrified of my mortality and actually went through a phase of being afraid of the dark. That fear passed, thank the Lord, but I’m still not going to live forever. And when I’m gone, I want my children to have a tangible account of who I was, what I believed, and how much I loved them, in my own words.
I’ve found no better way to connect with a variety of people, and I need people. I’m a Blue, remember? What? You didn’t read that piece? Sigh. Well, take my word for it. Almost nothing makes me happier than when a stranger contacts me because something I wrote resonated with him in such a way that he was compelled to let me know. It reminds me of the commonality of the human experience, and that’s beautiful.
What about you? Why motivates YOU to do what you do?