Why do we write?
As I clicked on the document for our editor’s column, the third different article I’ve worked on for TCT tonight alone, a thought danced across my mind. A quick little waltz of a thought, a moment of pure, exasperated exhaustion. Why am I even doing this? It was clipped. It was sudden, but it was there.
It was that thought amongst many others: it’s late, I want to go to bed, I’m exhausted, I have an AP Lang project to work on, I haven’t seen the sun in hours… just to name a few.
But no matter how many other things I have to do, no matter how many other thoughts are dancing through my mind, I always go back to writing. Go back to whatever article I’m working on. Go back to that English essay that needs to be edited. Go back to that poem I started late one night but never finished. Go back to the words that I never really left.
Words tug at my shirt sleeve, they wrap around my leg, they climb on my shoulders, they do anything to capture my attention like a child would their mother.
It’s this embrace—this constant, tangled, vivid embrace—that fuels me. It’s this pull—this incessant pull—that is the reason why I put my articles and essays before any other assignment.
I’m writing three articles at once because I’m endlessly attracted to words and their splendor. Words are magnetic—I’m drawn to them in a way I can’t quite explain. I just know that I always have been, and I think I always will be.
I’m doing this—writing—because the restless curiosity words endlessly offer is too strong to ignore.
I used to write for my sanity. Petite purple journals overflowed with my thoughts; pages held my every moment: all of my little idiosyncrasies, my childhood dreams, my worst moments, all spelled out for the whole world to see. But, at least they were out of my head. Writing made the world clearer.
But that was back then.
Now, writing is what makes my world hazy. Words have transformed from an outlet for who I am to a part of who I am. I am all of the words I write — and all of the words I don’t write. I am no longer a little girl, perched at her cluttered white desk, chatting to the universe about her day. Now I sit, poised before my computer, asking the universe all my questions, arguing about her answers, and then writing out my own.
So why do I write? I write for that little girl who scribbles in her purple journal and for the girl who uses her words to find her own answers. But most of all, I write for the person I will be tomorrow and her belief that words make a difference.
I’ve never really thought about why I write; it just happens.
For me, writing has never been a conscious choice. It’s something like a beautiful accident. When I see something gorgeous, the analogies fall on the page like raindrops on the pavement. When I’m sad, it’s better than any therapist money could buy. When I’m confused, it unknots the tangled mess of yarn in my mind. When I’m happy, a blank piece of paper is the best listener.
Interestingly enough, this site and my google drive know me better than most of my peers. I say what I mean, but not what I feel. Emotion can be so messy and complicated that my spoken word isn’t eloquent enough to explain it. When I write, I pour over the thesaurus looking for the perfect word to capture the exact emotion I feel.
More than that, writing can be messy and clear at the same time. Even the most complex and confusing idea can become coherent with the right literary devices and the proper punctuation. Because of this, I cling to sentence structure and grammar rules just as I cling to organization in my life.
I’ve found, just as I’m sure you’ll find, my heavily edited words are the most unedited form of me.