A while ago, I bought a book full of writing prompts, and I had hoped it would be a concerted push towards focusing on my writing more. Have I mentioned I’m working on a novel? But I find writing to be incredibly stress relieving for me (honest, ask me about work right now and my blood pressure rises instantly …), and I don’t write often enough. My wonderful mother-in-law recently shared this on her Facebook page:
My goodness, did I need that reminder.
I started to do the prompts in this book each day several years ago, and then got distracted to the point that I lost track of the book for a period of time. I found it again while I was packing up my room to bring to my “new” house. I challenged myself to respond to each prompt for 365 days consecutively, and then I decided it would be more fun to do this online, and encourage others to add their thoughts to each prompt. Not only is this a great way for me to hone my writing skills, but it will also help me to build a community of writers, which is also really exciting!
For the prompts I already did, I thought I would share those thoughts with you as well, in conjunction with my new responses with each prompt. Those will be in italics. What say you; down for this journey with me?
Prompt 1: In her essay “Fail Better”, Zadie Smith says, “The very reason I write is so that I might now sleepwalk through my entire life.” Why do you write? What does it do for you?
Writing is my expression. Some people sing, others paint; I write. Writing is my way of understanding who I am, and the way I think. Writing is the brush with which I paint the world and the lens through which I understand people. It is my self-expression. It is my labor of love. It is my security blanket, my secret friend. Words are my unjudgmental [sic] companion. The rhythm and pattern of words, the way a single, simple phrase can cut a heart, induce passion, or even destroy nations [feels like magic]. In essence, words are powerful and untameable [sic], and I write to (try to) harness that power. Writing is creative. It is my soul. And it is powerful. (written 5/5/17)
I write for a number of reasons. I write to express myself, to vent, to tell stories, to learn and explore, to escape, to distract, to understand. Victor Hugo has a beautiful quote that goes, “A writer is a world trapped in a person”, and that is so valid, at least for me. My desktop is scattered with story ideas of a variety of genres, themes, styles, etc. I write because life is full of stories and people and moments, and I need to tell them, whether they are fact or fiction. Growing up with books and stories has filled me with a need to write books and tell stories.
I write to educate. That may sound pretentious, but I’ve done a few different posts in this blog that have been inspired by my own lack of knowledge on a subject, and I write those posts to inform others of what I’ve found. I write to have conversations about big things like sin, society, politics, and pornography.
I write to explore my faith. I have found that it is through writing about what I believe, be it because I want to share my beliefs, or because I’m wrestling with something, or because I want to being a new perspective to my religious life.
As I’m getting older and experiencing brilliant things, I’m finding I also write because I don’t want to forget what it was like to be me, at this point in my life.
I don’t want to get to the point that I forget what my inner thoughts were while in high school, who I thought I was in college, what I felt marriage was like at the beginning, and so on so forth. I don’t want to forget the versions of me that have existed throughout my life, or how my soul has grown and changed. I want to leave a paper trail for me to look back on when I’m grey and wizened, and I want to have personal memories to pass onto my children and my children’s children. Perhaps I write to leave a legacy, but I think it’s more than that. I think I write to not be forgotten, or rather, to not forget myself.
I write because I believe everyone has a story. A sweet friend recently revealed to me that she’s begun writing a book about overcoming anxiety, and though she claimed it was not well written, she believes she has things to say about stress and anxiety. In my response to her, apart from being really excited for her (!), I was reminded of how much I believe every one has a story to tell, each in their own way and in their own time. Have we gotten to the point where we’ve stopped valuing what everyone has to say, the stories they have to tell that has gotten them to where they are, and the unique perspectives they bring to our collective world
In closing, in the words of Charlotte Bronte, “I’m just going to write because I cannot help it.”
What about you? If you write, why do you? What does it do for you?
Ciao for now,