As a freelance writer, the answer is pretty obvious. I write because it is my source of income. If I don’t write, I don’t get paid. If I don’t get paid, I don’t have money to pay the bills.
I have spent a lot of time thinking and reflecting in the past few days, and naturally, my thoughts turned to writing. Why do I write?
I came up with two main things.
Why I write: I write because it gives me my voice.
I am one of those who cannot verbally express themselves well. This could be due to a variety of things, but I do know that when I speak, it is usually my stream of thoughts just flowing. There is no editing, and my speech – unless thoroughly prepared for – lacks coherence. That is one main reason that I write.
Time and organization of thoughts – these are necessary for me to be able to express myself clearly. Even thinking of the days when I was in school, I always wrote better than I spoke. When I had to give a report or a presentation, I had to have notes ready, and I had to prepare myself mentally for eons just so I could give a good oral presentation. Going back to the more recent past, I did the same things when teaching. I still remember the very first lesson I gave to a French student over the phone. There was practically no training beforehand.The assumption, which was correct, was that I knew how to conduct English lessons. I did, but I also knew I had to prepare myself. I had one page of a notebook filled with questions I wrote before the lesson, together with other topics we could talk about. Just in case.
Writing gives a clear voice to my thoughts. Many times, I catch my mind racing, going faster than Sebastian Vettel when he’s on fire. If I do not stop myself and write things down, I’d probably never make sense of what I am thinking.
Whether I write for personal reasons or for work, the same principle applies. The activity provides a coherent voice for the myriad ideas racing in my head. It’s how I sort things out and “talk” to myself.
Why I write: I write because it keeps me sane.
It is not an exaggeration, and this reason is linked to both my professional and personal life. On the professional front, writing keeps me sane by focusing my thoughts and energies on one thing at any particular moment. I am not 100% sure, but I seem to be afflicted with what is known to some as NADD (Nerd Attention Deficiency Disorder).
What the heck is NADD, you may be thinking. Awesome writer Rands gives a succinct description/example.
“…this isn’t multi-tasking. This is advanced case of Nerd Attention Deficiency Disorder. I am unable to function at my desktop unless I’ve got, at least, five things going on at the same time. If your count came close, you’re probably afflicted, as well. Most excellent.”
So how many things do you have going on right now? I won’t even go there. While I know people who are crazier in this regard, I do have this tendency to have at least 5 five things going on at the same time. And I do realize my need to have more focus.
That’s where writing comes into the picture. When I really need to get a piece done, I make a conscious effort to shut off the rest of the world. Sometimes I succeed. Many times, I only partially get it right.
Then there is the issue of personal emotion turmoil. My life is pretty good, if I think about it, and yours is probably, too. Being human, however, we cannot avoid those periods wherein we experience stress and problems. During these times, I get easily rattled. I get destabilized by external factors, and if I don’t do anything to get my focus back, I’ll probably go insane with all the thoughts nagging at me.
My tried and tested solution? Writing.
So those are the two main reasons I write. Whether you write for a living or not – care to share your own reasons for writing?
Photo credit: The Worst Book Ever