Why I Write

Tell us the story of when you first realized that you needed to be a writer. (Did it happen when you were young? Was it after you read a particular book? Etc.)

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

Want more creative writing prompts? Consider:
The Writer’s Book of Matches

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125 thoughts on “Why I Write

  1. PattyLynn53

    I’ve never questioned why I write. Rather I question it if I’m NOT writing, be it on the computer or by hand (which I still find so liberating – I do my best writing that way; for one, I cannot back up and erase or replace or change my mind – I have to COMMIT).

    My urge to write may have something to do with having been raised by a teacher, and an uncompromising one at that. She insisted on certain things that at the time seemed like such a pain, so formal, so unnecessary. After any special occasion, for instance, where receiving a gift or even just a card was involved, I would have to head up to the desk in my room and compose a letter to this person. One was my Granny in England whom I barely knew. She would send hand-made gifts in the mail. Sometimes they were knitted toys which I was way too old for – for some reason she thought I would be six years old for eternity.

    My mother was not satisfied that I had merely thanked her for the gift – I had to write a “chatty, newsy” letter and make it sound natural and interesting. As well I would have to inquire into her health – it would not do to just talk about myself. I had to sound sincere. My mother would critique my drafts until I came up with something acceptable. Then I would go back upstairs to pen it one last time in my best handwriting onto a sheet of flowery writing paper. I balked at the process then but now I thank my Mom.

    I also started writing these little manuals. One was on how to cross the ice (in creeks) without falling through. This must have come about because at some point I HAD fallen through. The answer by the way was to crawl on your belly.

    The other manual had to do with a spy club that I and my friend Susan had started. It had never gone beyond a membership consisting of the two of us – maybe it was too secret. We spent time sneaking up on people. I recall crawling through the front doorway of the local catholic church and listening in on a Sunday morning mass, until Susan felt obliged to make some sort of barking noise. The priest came down the aisle to investigate and we took off, didn’t stop running until we got to the shopping centre up the avenue. I’m sure he knew exactly who it was – Susan lived right across the street. In my manual I wrote “Don’t bark in church.”

    The art of writing helped me through grade and high school. But in college was where the joy of writing struck me in earnest. Here in this institution I could air my views honestly and not catch flack for it. In fact I would be invited to discuss it further by my profs. I felt important, visible, and for once – HEARD.

  2. rebekkalynn9800

    This is poem I wrote a long time ago, but it fit so much I just had to put it in here. Enjoy!

    To Be A Writer

    To be a writer is to endure
    Constant rejection,
    But to write anyways.
    So I will Endure.
    To be a writer is to know
    What your limits are
    And to push
    Just enough
    To pass them.
    So I will Know.
    To be a writer is to dream
    The impossible,
    But to dream
    No less.
    So I will Dream.
    To be a writer is to be strong,
    To stand when
    Others won’t.
    So I will be Strong.
    To be a writer is to care
    About the truth
    And the lies
    And the little
    Grey lines.
    So I will Care.
    To be a writer is to be alive,
    Not surrounded by
    Bubble wrap,
    But to live every moment
    Of my life to the
    Fullest extent.
    So I will Live.
    To be a writer
    Is to be more human.
    So I will be Human.
    And I will Write.

  3. orion1991

    Why I write. I write because I can’t do anything else. I don’t sit around at a coffee shop and hammer out bullshit. I sit around and wait for my fucking muse to show up and grace me with her presence. When she does its painful and lonely and harsh. When she doesn’t it painful and lonely and harsh and all I want is that inspiration again. I look back and see what I can do, see how I think to show my words to people, and it blows my fucking mind. Like I got possessed for some frantic lunatic week and I hammer out some gold. I look back and see that i did it and i know i can do it again, but when i try IT JUST ISNT THERE. so i go to some cookie cutter web-sight. full of home-schooled kids and fucking over the hill desk job assholes pumping out more cookie cutter bullshit, looking for some insight. some sort of jump start. i write to chase the dragon. i want the high of creation. i need to know i can create something of worth and value. I want to impress and i want to be respected. I write to be read and loved. i want to get under your skin. I want you to think about me later when you’re washing dishes or folding laundry. I want your fucking attention. Divided, undivided, half-assed, unconscious. I DO NOT CARE. I write to be read.

  4. Jemma

    I read Harry Potter. I was obsessed with Sirius Black. He was the star in my fantasies and stories in my head started to form. Stories I wish someone would please write about. No one did so I took matters into my own hand- Viola, my first story!- and uhm, daydreams.I write tons of stories- none of them I have ever finished though. They all have a beginning, maybe a few chapters but after that I get bored, come up with a new story and abandon my recent project and begin a new one. It went on like that. I never seem to be able to finish ONE story. Except this short story in high school.

    It’s about this girl narrating about how she met her true love; he brought her home despite his mothers protest, he brings her everywhere, spoils her, takes care of her until a huge financial crisis struck home and the guy was force to let the girl go, not without heartache and litters or tears. Anyway, the ending went like this:

    I tried to shake my head of his memory. A big, burly man sitting outside the restaurant noticed me. He held up a fat hand holding a thigh bone and shook it to me.
    ‘Hey doggy! Want some bone?’

  5. Revolutionship

    I found my love, need, and desire for writing in 5th-6th grade, when life started to get more complicated. (I am now 13 years old, and in 8th grade).

    When I first started writing, I found that I favored fantasy, fiction, and adventure stories, but that has changed the past year or so.

    Back to the question: Why do I write?

    I didn’t fully understand until just a little while ago.

    Writing is a way to escape the real world, or truly embrace it. I’ve come to love more real-life stories, and I love reading and writing about real things that us humans go through. I also love to notice all the horror, and all the beauty in the world, while keeping the truth in mind.

    In 5th grade when life started to become real, I began to see all the battles we fight each day. I started feeling, and seeing all the struggles inside of us all. I don’t underestimate what we are, what’s going on, and what has happened.

    Truth is, my life has been truly difficult the past three years, and I write because I need too. Instead of throwing the words of hurt and anger I have at someone else, I write instead. I normally write about characters who go through similar situations as I do. It helps, because it helps me find what’s really going on inside my heart.

    On a totally different perspective:

    I LOVE WRITING. The possibilities are LITERALLY endless! Take the Hunger Games, or Divergent for example! You can create a whole new world with writing and I think that is very wonderful! I love coming up with characters, and making them just the way I want, with their skills and imperfections! Its kinda hard to explain, but it’s SO MUCH FUN putting your character in a difficult situation, and YOU decide what happens!!

    YES! 🙂

  6. Athena4896

    I have always loved writing stories. In school, I was always glad when my teacher had us write a story. However, writing a short story has always been hard for me because I can’t fit the whole plot into a few pages. For example, in seventh grade I had an assignment to write a story with 500-700 words, and my story ended up being too long. I had to cut it down to about a thousand words, and the story didn’t sound good anymore.

    The summer before seventh grade, I met a boy named Daniel at summer camp. I liked him very much, but I kept it to myself. I didn’t think he could like me back, but I soon learned that I was wrong. On the last day of camp, he told me that he liked me. I was so happy, and I hugged him and said that I liked him back. Then he got on the bus and left me forever, and I haven’t seen him since.

    In seventh grade, I decided to turn that time at summer camp into a book. When I finished the second draft, the book was over 32,000 words. (Yes, that is pretty short, but I was only twelve years old.)

    I realized that I loved writing that book, and it was perhaps the most enjoyable thing I had ever done before. I wanted to keep writing stories, and I have done so ever since.

    That is when I first realized that I needed to be a writer.

  7. wishart5

    In eighth grade I wrote a short story and I got an A; that’s been in the back of my mind for over thirty-five years. It was about my family, a large family with eight kids, a smallish raised ranch house that was remodeled to accommodate the number of necessary beds, typical Sunday afternoon dinners, family vacations, kids involved in so many activities and parents who tried their best to meet the needs of everyone. Then, I thought I was writing about my family which for the most part is true. It wasn’t until I was older, a teenager, that I knew our family was not like everyone else’s for a variety reasons.

    That’s when I realized not that I wanted to be a writer so much as I believed I had a story to tell. I always have enjoyed reading, fiction mostly, but as an adult stories about how someone’s life might have been impacted by an event, or another person, or something they’ve seen or heard. I’ve believed for some time that someone in this world might benefit from my story.

    But I think the reason I really want to write is because I’ve been encouraged by so many people to do it. When I tell a story to my sisters, my therapist, my husband or a someone at work, I am often told “you should write a book of this stuff, I’d buy it”. So, I’ve got some chapter headings identified and I’m hoping that by using the writing prompts and advice at this site, I just might find a way to tell the story I want to tell.

  8. JJY

    Why I write? Hmm…
    It began in third or second grade, when I started a love for comics. I began to draw and make comics myself in a notebook. When I was done, and flipping through the pages, I thought in my head, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I can create a story, but with only words?”
    And so it began.
    My first story was about a village of dragon-riders and another village of some other creature of my imagination-riders, and they were warring. It turned out “okay”, I guess. I still read that first story to this day and compare it with my newest work and smile because it reminded me of how I used to write.
    And the ideas! It comes to me in the strangest places; at a party, walking down a road at night, at a restaurant, at a amusement park. Many of my ideas were written down, but another idea urged me to ditch the old one and start fresh. Perhaps that’s why I have around twenty notebooks with only three pages written in them and around six books completed. (Not counting short stories, or school-related novels, of course)
    My passion for writing still tugs at me to this day.

  9. Danae

    I remember the first story I wrote, I think I still have it. It was in 5th grade and I wrote about how it was raining and this girl was in her room and she had a magic key or chest. I don’t remember everything about it, but oddly enough when I wrote this; it was raining outside in real life. After that first story, my love for writing flourished and I wrote all the time. I don’t think it happened after I read one book, I was just bored that day and decided to jot down a story. Some stories were dumb, while others were ones I have kept. I did copy other people’s stories and put them into my own little words and switch stuff around and added new people. But they were mine and I didn’t let anyone read them or look at them, I wrote a lot back then. I wrote a few times in high school and in college, but it slowly stopped because I was too busy with homework and work and I was too tired to even write down a sentence. I did take a creative writing class one semester, and I loved it. It got my love for writing back up and that was the only class that I actually looked forward to going and I never missed one. Now that I’m done with college and working full time, I don’t write as much like I use to. Either I’m too tired or lazy to write a story down, whatever it is; I kind of miss making up my own stories and writing about real events. It will take me awhile to get back into writing again, I just need some motivation and events happening around me to put it all together and write it down.

  10. Montanna9

    When I was young, I was a terrible student. In first grade they put me in a “special class,” to help me with my reading. In third grade it was math. In second grade I failed gym because I couldn’t learn to square dance. Every year it was something different. I got used to getting bad grades. My friends liked to give me a hard time. Most people expected me to do poorly– including myself.

    In sixth grade my English teacher gave us a writing prompt. From her prompt I created a story about the Zombie Apocalypse and the Second Coming. I had so much fun writing my story that I lost track of time. I was still writing when the bell rang, and had to end it with the always popular, “And then I woke up.” The next day when I got my assignment back she had given me an A-. She offered high praise and suggested I work a little harder on the ending next time. It gave me chills, holding that piece of paper in my hands.

    It was late August, the week before we started seventh grade. There were five of us sitting at a picnic table in Lafferty’s backyard. We couldn’t think of anything fun to do. So Lafferty suggested we each write a short story. Lafferty was one of those kids who played the French horn. He got straight A’s and complained when the teacher didn’t give us enough homework. I was only friends with him because he had a swimming pool.
    But I was pumped about his suggestion. I was determined to surprise my friends my mad literary skills. I already knew I was good at writing short stories because Mrs. Shishler had given me an A-.

    Lafferty ran inside the house for pens and paper while I prepared a story about aliens that fed on babies’ brains and cranberry juice. And maybe just for good measure I’d throw in a nuclear holocaust. I was so confident that my story would be the best I said, “Whoever writes the best story gets to spy on Lumpy’s sister while she’s in the shower.”

    Lafferty came outside and began handing out pens, like a new father in the hospital waiting room handing out cigars. I didn’t get a pen. And then I didn’t get any paper.
    I said, “What gives? I didn’t get a pen.”
    Lafferty said, “What do you need a pen for?”
    I said, “I want to write my story.”
    “You can’t write a short story,” said Lafferty. “You have to be smart to be a writer.”
    I stood there like a dope. I didn’t know how to respond. The thought of punching him in the face never occurred to me. I wasn’t mad; I was ashamed. I wasn’t smart enough to be a writer. I left without saying goodbye, but I took the desire to write with me. And it’s been with me all my life.

    1. PattyLynn53

      I wonder how many people who habitually write, published or unpublished, had this same experience of seemingly not being able to do any else well in school except write. That would be me for one.

  11. miryamdelirium

    When I was around 10 years old, I started a journal. Well, several journals. True to form, I could never keep one for long. I would either lose it, or find the covers and pages uninspiring. In order to cure my anti-productivity, I’d go out searching for a new journal; one that would fit my needs better, that would inspire me. It didn’t occur to me until many years later that my inspiration would have to come from within.

    By the time I was 12 years old, I was in the practice of writing in my journal every day. When I had fights with my friends or sister, I would write. When my mother screamed, I would write. Getting it all out onto paper, I would feel a relief that was so uncommon for me at this time in my life. During my sixth grade school year, my teachers started to notice my talent more and more. I was entered in a city wide writing competition that only one other person in my school was invited to attend. I ended up reading my essay to a panel of judges, and given 3rd place for essay writing in the entire city of Chicago.

    Hearing my name on loudspeaker, the praises from my teachers and classmates, I felt like I belonged. That’s when I knew that writing was just as essential to me as breathing, or eating. There’s just no other choice.

  12. heiditoad

    I write because I have no choice, it chooses me. It pours through me and out of me, the words I could never speak. They reach out when I pull within and send breath to my lungs when I haven’t the strength. Words spin through my head, dizziness, fighting their way to a piece of paper. Words like silent heros that save me day after day fall on to this screen like the only friend who listens with heart and not with ears.

  13. Beth-is-the-one

    I suppose my love for writing began in Elementary school. I remember in grades 3 through 5 i had to write a lot of essays and really enjoyed it. I had some vague idea that i had a talent for the craft around this time, but didn’t think about it as a career until 7th grade.

    In seventh grade i had just moved to a different city and everything was very new. It was at this new school that i came to know the most amazing English teacher. She was so inspiring and i remember wanting to be just like her. My love for writing really took off when she wrote a note at the bottom of a story that i had written for the class. It said that she really enjoyed my work, and i that i could use her as an editor and a critic for anything i wrote in my free time.

    From then, to the time i started high school, i wrote stories and had her make grammatical corrections and give suggestions.

    I became addicted. I’m not sure what i would have chosen to do with my life if it hadn’t been for such an inspirational role model.

  14. Explosionist

    Why do I write? Because I feel that the world may need my writing talent. At least, it may. I’m not arrogant. My writing skills may not be as finely tuned as Jim Butcher’s or George R. R. Martin’s. Hell, I could be as bad as Michael Bay. But that’s why I keep writing, because I want to improve. Because I feel that people may need me one day when it comes to writing the plot of a movie.

    On top of all that, I want to be better than all the hack writers out there like Stephanie Meyer and I feel like I am able to do a more decent job at writing a story than they can. There are times where I watch a movie or read a book and realize how easy it is to create junk. And yet, that’s another reason why I continue to write, because I feel like, maybe, I could be a good example of a good writer. That I could be that story-teller that everyone looks to after they watch the Star Wars prequel trilogy and say, “You know what? THAT guy could have done a better job at writing the story.”

    I also would rather spend my days in the writing business instead of working as a plumber or at Pizza Hut. I mean, I’m not antipathetic to those types of jobs but I feel like there are better stuff I could do with my life. Even if I never get around to writing a novel or script for a movie, exceptional writing skills could still come in handy later on. One thing is for sure: I’ll never be as bad as M. Night Shyamalan. At least, I hope.

  15. HandHeldWriter

    Why must I write? The best answer I could ever have for this is a quote by Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, in the movie Anonymous. He answered the same question by saying:

    The voices… the voices, I can’t stop them. They come to me: when I sleep, when I wake, when I sup, when I walk down the hall. The sweet longings of a maiden, the surging ambitions of a courtier, the foul designs of a murderer, the wretched pleas of his victims… only when I put their words, their voices to parchment are they cast loose, freed. Only then is my mind quieted… at peace. I would go mad if I didn’t write down the voices.

    The first time I heard this, I was in complete awe because it was exactly how I felt.
    It still is.

  16. Cat Lady

    I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I don’t have all my writings, many were lost in moves, but I have some of my stories left. They’re in storage now, but I have not forgotten them. I pray I finish my novel and that it will be published. You and me both rshafer.

  17. rshafer

    I think I have wanted to be a writer for most of my life. I have always loved to read, and when I was a senior in high school, I discovered my love of reading literature critically and writing about it. I was aware from my teens that writing comes naturally to me, but I never thought I had unusual writing talent. Midway through college, I went against the advice of my family and friends and changed my major from Education to English because I felt comfortable and successful in my literature and composition classes.
    Not having any idea what I would do with a degree in English and with no clear path of interest to follow, I decided to teach college English. Teaching was the least painful way to make a living I could think of. I knew I enjoyed writing myself, but I had no zest for teaching others to do it. Infrequently, particularly motivated students challenged me and kindled enthusiasm in me, but generally, teaching was just a job.
    As luck would have it, I was good enough in the classroom that I found myself in academic administration—bad move. Being a college administrator turned out to be a particularly painful way to make a living. The thought of cloistering myself away in a peaceful, safe place and writing all day long became my fantasy while I slogged through the mire of student and faculty issues and a million bureaucratic details that brought me stress and anxiety rather than satisfaction. But I persevered for fifteen long years; I worked my way into higher levels of administration and further from where I knew I wanted to be in life. You see, I still didn’t think I had the talent to write for a living. In spite of sporadic encouragement offered by family members and close friends, I never saw professional writing as a road worth investigating.
    As the years hurtled by, burn out set in. Work became increasingly stressful, increasingly an ordeal and a waste of valuable time. I began to feel the need to escape into writing. I wrote about my dissatisfaction with my career and my frustration with my inability to make my life what I wanted it to be. I dabbled in short stories, narrative essays, and journal entries, anything to practice writing and to give me solace. Then I turned fifty. I began reading about writing and the writing life, and I came to the devastating realization that I had had many opportunities to launch myself into a writing career all along, that what I really needed was determination and a little confidence.
    I have to write. It keeps me sane. I want to be a writer, not only someone who needs to write to get through the day but someone who can publish things people want to read. I just hope it isn’t too late.

  18. smamyy

    I was plunged deep into a lasting love affair with words before I could tell you what a word was. My sweet grandfather faithfully started teaching me to read shortly after I turned three. You’re thinking Cat in the Hat or The Good Humor Man and we did read those but most of our reading involved The Press-Sentinel, Jesup, GA’s only daily periodical, and the Medical Dictionary. Grandaddy cultivated in me a love for communication, medicine, sports, and most of all, words. Sheer adoration kept me glued to his lap for hours on end as we vigilantly and hopefully watched Bobby Cox begin his double decade stretch as the manager of the Atlanta Braves. That year, David Justice earned Rookie of the Year and we saw every moment from that navy blue cracked leather chair. All while eating cool whip straight out of the tub and drinking Coke from the classic old fashioned green glass bottles, much to my grandmother’s dismay. My longing for connection runs deep and I learned early that words connect us to each other.

    After Grandaddy died, my world fell apart. I didn’t know who I was without him. I felt overwhelmed, unsafe, and insecure so I buried myself in novel after novel, desperate to be anyone but me. I went on dangerous adventures from my bedroom, wrestled bad guys, solved mysteries, met prince charming, and lived happily ever after.

    I discovered my love for writing the second I laid eyes on those giant pieces of blank-top story paper with lines at the bottom. I started writing about summer vacation and what I wanted to be when I grew up, which quickly blossomed into much more in-depth endeavors. I dabbled in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, attempting my first novel at age 11. My passionate need to write stems from those early days when I thought maybe I could create those worlds that rescued me so beautifully from my childhood despair. Maybe I could use words to make someone else feel understood, included, like they belonged. Maybe I can take the raw material of words and weave them together to make something beautiful that somehow pushes against some of the brokenness and despair that consume our days.

  19. LadyS

    As a kid I was like all others, quieter perhaps, but otherwise the same. Hated going to school, preferred chocolate milk as an afternoon snack, questioned the pursuit of the gleaming moon after my family’s SUV. But there was something that made me stand out, especially as a girl.

    I liked action figures. I had a drawer flowing with them.

    Not many of my friends knew, just the ones that came over. It was the opposite at home where everyone saw me hold these action figures in my pudgy hands and open my mouth as if talking to myself. Maybe I was, but that was not how I saw it. When my mouth was moving it wasn’t me who was speaking, it was that plastic girl in braids and a pretty pink dress shying away from the slightly taller male toy in a green shirt and a broken arm. His arm was snapped off by my sister in one of her tantrums. In my head, it was because he was off in these battles against trolls and dwarfs, mighty kings and loyal knights in their glimmering suits of armor.

    Then one day things changed.

    I turned eight years old. Just as before I hated going to school, preferred chocolate milk as an afternoon snack, yet managed to figure out the moon was not trailing our car. And just as before I opened the drawer full of my action figures, ‘small toys’ I called them. I cusped my not-so pudgy hand around the plastic girl in braids and the boy with the broken arm. I opened my mouth, let the boy tell the girl about his new battle.

    Nothing came out. I was aware I was speaking to myself. What happened? Did my imagination fade? Did I stop being a kid?

    It wasn’t until in the midst o the year that it hit me: I want to write a story. I was a bookworm. At least my first grade teacher said that I was. Why not write something like one of those short stories I see in the library?

    Today when I opened my drawer, where my action figures used to lay cluster one on top of the other, lay notebook after notebook, full of my slanted writing about different people. It was the the new way to take out my imagination.

  20. cbulice

    I am an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. I have written many sermons and several research papers. My realization that I could be a writer came slowly. I remember one day Momma asked if I kept my sermons after I wrote and delivered them to a congregation in worship.
    “Sure, but I can’t imagine anyone wanting to read them,” I replied with a shrug.
    Now, as I reflect, that was a dumb statement. Momma would have read them; maybe Daddy would have, too.
    Later I remember pondering the benefit of reading some of the great sermons in history, such as the Sermon on the Mount. Then, I noticed that we have sermons, prayers, and journals of some of the most revered preachers in history. They have led us in the faith, taught us doctrine, and helped us pray because they wrote. So, I started keeping what I write as well.
    Some time or other, I decided that my opinion is as valid as any that gets published. So, I began writing in a blog, but haven’t been able to keep consistently regular about posting my thoughts. And, I began writing in my journal my opinion about daily news events, restaurant and movie reviews, and travel experiences. The more I wrote, the more I wanted to write. Then, I thought I should make the journal entries more interesting to read rather than a dull, matter-of-fact entry about what happened on this day.
    An acquaintance came to me at the church one day with an interesting proposal. He called it “Writing for the Soul Workshop.” The idea was to help youth and pre-teens to write about events in their lives. Then we would collect the short stories into a book, which the youth would sell. The goals of the process were to help youth cope with traumatic events, improve their writing skills, and make some money for themselves.
    Through helping with the Workshop, I realized that everyone had a story to tell or some traumatic event haunting them – even me. In a workshop for youth I realized that I need to write more than sermons and I realized that I needed help with style and stuff.
    To get pointers and advice I went to the library where I discovered Writer’s Digest Magazine. The articles inside not only gave me advice about style but helped me to believe I could be a writer.
    Nowadays I still write in my journal but I also am working on some short stories and I have ideas for a couple of book-length projects. Thanks to a youth-oriented workshop and Writer’s Digest Magazine, I am writing more than I did while in seminary.

  21. Curt

    About ten years ago, I’d just moved to Honduras to stay with my dad. I was just becoming a teenager, entering that phase of life where independent thought begins to override and question what you’ve assumed to be valid as a child. My father’s alcoholism only acted to fertilize my cynicism. Alone with my thoughts, with frustration driving my creative engines, I dabbled in drawing. Ever since my fantastic failure at sketch art, I’ve remained jealous of those who are adept at it. There’s an inherent advantage that comics hold over raw writing in that the reader invests very little for a lot of rapid gratification. You know almost immediately if you don’t like the art in a comic book, but you might have to invest two chapters worth of thought before you decide to stop reading a book- and you feel almost dirty after those two chapters, like you’ve been robbed. I think some of that jealousy shows through when I write. Because of that imagery, some of my first writing came to me as visions from just beyond my grasp, nagging at me to be real. Writing remains the best way I’ve found to deal with that.

  22. zeeko13

    My mom told me that it took forever to get me to talk for the first time, but once I did, the talking never stopped.

    I was a product of a sad childhood. I had no siblings, my parents hated each other, we had no money; the list is bigger than my patience for it. I felt like a bother to anyone who recognized my existence. I locked myself in my room at home, and I shoved my face in books at school. I had very little friends, because I was very, very quiet.

    At one point during high school, me and my father had the worst fight of my life. I ran away from home permanently. I ended up homeless after my father called the cops on my friend for withholding a child from his/her parent. I was completely lost, and completely mute.

    I was still going to school at this point, and a few teachers noticed something was different. One asked to speak with my father; I rejected him. Another told me to go to church, and I felt that God had abandoned me long ago. There was no way I was going to believe that the world was anything other than terrible.

    One day, in my first class of the morning, my English teacher announces our senior project: A journal or scrapbook dedicated to our lives up to graduation. I was not happy. My rules said that I do not talk about myself under any circumstances. The mention of my personal life was sure to make me embarrass myself in public.

    I was pulled aside a month later by the same teacher. She asked me why I haven’t submitted any chapters to the project. I was still mute, so I said nothing. She looked at me with a tired, pleading eye. She told me that my poetry was some of the best she’s read in a while. I wanted to belittle my work. I wanted to tell her that it was just a fluke, that I have no talent. The thing about being mute is, you’re forced to accept everything at face value. There’s no expression, no opinion.

    She said I have a unique perception. She said I must be a great listener. She said if I don’t submit the chapters by the end of the month, then she’s kicking me out of the college-credit class. She asked with her most desperate expression to please turn them in.

    My father called me that night, telling me to go fuck myself if I don’t return his house keys. I stared at the phone screen for no less than an hour. The blinding anger, the despondence, the cry for attention all compressed, turning into words. I brought out my dirty notebook and wrote. I wrote for hours. Nights. During other classes. After school. All night again. I reformatted, refined. At first, I wrote about my hatred of injustice. Then I wrote about my thoughts on God. I wrote about what people do when you don’t speak. I wrote about the love of my life. I wrote about the deaths that I’ve seen. I wrote about the abuse I’ve felt. I wrote about the beauty of nature. I wrote about the serenity filling a silent creek. I’ve always found beauty in silence.

    Before I knew it, I started responding to people’s words. At first it was just noncommittal noises, then “yeahs” and “okays”, then full sentences such as, ” x divided by y equals two”. Somewhere along the way I managed to say the Three Hardest Words to the one they were meant for, and I am still proud of that.

    My teacher asks to have a private talk after school. When she brought me over to her desk, she searched her desk with her eyes, not looking for anything tangible. She told me that my journal went far beyond what the project was originally intended for. She said she’s never had any student pour out their heart and true life story to this extent. She asked me about my living situation, about my friends, about my teachers; she was interested in my life.

    I’ve never experienced that before. I never knew what it was like to talk, to verbalize abstract thought, to communicate.

    She told me to be a writer, and that’s when I knew.

  23. Gianni Beau

    Int: So Gianni, when did you feel the need to be a writer?

    Gianni: It was very gradual.

    I: What do you mean?

    G: Well, I started out believing I could never write. I avoided it at every cost.

    I: At every cost?

    G: Yes. When I was in grammar school, I dreaded writing assignments especially those that required me telling what I did or had experienced. I always handed in the most terrible writing.

    I: Why was that do you think?

    G: Things were never happy at home, so writing about my experiences or what happened to me brought me terror.

    I: How did you get over it?

    G: I didn’t. I carried that fear throughout high school and college. Luckily, I was a physics major and didn’t have as many writing assignments as non-scientists.

    I: But how did you get through it all not knowing any grammar?

    G: Oh I knew grammar. My teachers were nuns and they drilled the rules of grammar into us and taught us how to diagram sentences. I was good at diagramming sentences. I knew enough to write about things other than myself or that would not reveal anything about myself.

    I: So when did all this change? When did you begin to write for yourself?

    G: When I was in my thirties, I was unhappy working as a computer programmer. I started looking for something else to do and the idea of writing came to me. I took a course and found I had an aptitude for non-fiction. The course freed me to write whatever I wanted or had to write.

    I: Is that when you began to feel the need to write?

    G: No. The need to write was to come later still. After the writing course, I just enjoyed the process of writing, but there was no feeling of need.

    I: Wasn’t the reason that you took the writing course, to find something else to do?

    G: Yes. Unfortunately, the writing course was a means to flee something that I was unhappy with at the time. It was not something I wanted to move to. I was running away, not moving to something I wanted.

    I: So when did you begin to feel writing was something you wanted?

    G: I read a book by Martha Grimes. It was a Richard Jury mystery. I enjoyed it so much that I read all of the series. What I discovered for the first time was the ability for the writing to flow, to carry me along. I wanted to write like that.

    I: So that is when the need to write began?

    G: Sadly, no. I still was not able to carry through on what had become a dream, maybe more a fantasy. It is only now, many years later, that I feel the need to write. It is what makes me find reasons to write, such as this assignment.

    I: I see that we are around 500 words. Thank you Gianni.

    G: You’re welcome.

  24. Silence

    It was last year, in the tenth grade, a new semester commenced, new people, new classes, new teachers, and a new life. I was lost in thoughts, pondering about role-playing (fan fiction) and what to make of my own character on a certain website. The announcements were playing and one of my favourite teachers announced a creative writing competition in which gave the option to write a short story, poem, children’s book, etc. I was inspired to write a short story about two kids living a normal life in the country of Palestine. It was a normal story, and when I personally handed it to the teacher proudly, hoping to get the top prize of the competition. That was the last I heard from my teacher. There was no mention in the announcements about my short story, or even the competition. Nobody got anything. So, I ignored and went on with my life holding the inspiration to write right by my side.

  25. LeslieStamm

    I had no clue that i wanted to be a writer until my junior year of high school. I use to hate writing and would always put it off until last minute. I know that I am still guilty today but it is not because I dread to do it. It is simply because I am always in a rush. I do not like to feel rushed when I write I like to have time so I can go back and reread what I do write and make changes where I deem necessary.
    I discovered that I actually liked it when my Junior English teacher made me keep a journal and turn it in. It was a free write about whatever life through at me. I loved it, it was a way for me to express myself and avoid actually speaking words that my hurt someone’s feelings. I could describe anything and make it feel all so real to me. It was an outlet and now it is what i turn to on a regularly basis to express myself openly and freely. A blog would be the perfect outlet for anyone if they would simply allow themselves to free write.
    I have actually called up that teacher to tell her “thank you” and explain how much it has helped me throughout college and daily life.
    What kind of writer I want to me I have no idea. I like free writing but short stories are not my strongest. I think I would enjoy a gossip column or something about kids. I love kids and I love researching and writing about them. Right now I am just writing to writing and taking different classes through college to see what sparks my interest the most. As of now all my writing classes have been fun and challenging. they make me think outside the box and actually put time and effort into it. I am thankful for that and it has made me a better writing.

  26. LalaP

    If I told you a story of when I realized I needed to be a writer; it would be a story indeed. I do not have a sensational desire to be a writer; I simply enjoy the art of it. However, I was first drawn into this art my senior year in high school, by a teacher I will refer to as Mrs. Jones. Mrs. Jones had a contagious love for short stories, poems and reading between the lines.

    Originally, I had no interest in writing stories or poems nor could I sit long enough to read a story or poem. To be completely honest, there was a fear in me that discouraged me to write. I didn’t want to be judged by whatever it would be that I was writing. I definitely didn’t want anyone to know my dark secrets or see my growing pains.

    Mrs. Jones was a rare teacher, at least in my school. She cared if her students showed up for class, if they liked the material and if they were grasping her lessons. I’ll admit I was a slow learner, having to force myself to sit and read something for any amount of time. That’s very difficult to do for a person such as myself. I’m pretty sure my two year old niece has a longer attention span than me.

    As the semester dragged by, I found it to be easier to enjoy the class and join in on the activities. I was starting to write poems on my own time. I discovered it was a healthy and new emotional release for a teenager going through life changes.

    I know my poems and short stories were horribly written, but Mrs. Jones encouraged me anyway. She was fantastic at giving constructive feedback without scaring an intimidated student. Years of practice on her part, I’m sure.

    After I graduated high school I continued to write poems, not so much for short stories. Again, pretty sure that goes back to my attention span. I started to keep a journal that I would periodically write in. Not every day, but every couple of days. It was the best way to express my frustrations, fears and confusion. Oddly, or maybe not so oddly, I didn’t seem to write in the journal when life was going good. Maybe it was the lack of time or that I was having such a good time I just didn’t think about it.

    Now that I’m back in school, I couldn’t think of a better place to start than a creative writing course. I’m reminded of how much fun I had when I was writing and the silly things I could secretly write and hide from people.

    I’m still self conscious about people reading anything I write, but, that’s why I’m taking Creative Writing on-line. It’s my “two year old mentality”; if I can’t see you, then you can’t see me.

  27. mschons

    I began writing when I was very young. I always tried to keep a journal or diary when I was a little girl. I had to find some outlet to get my thoughts out. Thoughts were always bouncing around in my head, and writing them down was the best and easiest way to make sense of my young, middle school life.

    I will admit that I did not really feel like a true writer until I was in high school. I finally broke out of my journaling days and decided to try my hand at taking writing classes. The next thing I knew I was an editor for my high school newspaper. That’s when I truly felt like a writer. I was editing, publishing, and all-in-all I felt happy with writing and being published.

    Something I was surprised to realize was that there was much more stress and pressure when being a published writer or actually publishing something myself. Although it was just a small high school newspaper, it was a lot of pressure to be published. Word minimums and maximums, specific topics, interviews, and so much more. It was the hardest, yet most rewarding work I’ve experienced. Even though now I am really only a writer of hobby, being published at all was something so special and meaningful.

    Not only was being published something special and meaningful, the hard work I had to put into every word really pushed me to be the best me I could. I wanted nothing more than to show everyone, including myself, that I could do anything I set my mind to. Being published and working that hard really showed me that I can do anything that I truly want to do, and that meant more to me than having my name on any publication.

  28. kospina

    Although I began writing in middle school, I didn’t consciously form the thought “I want to be a writer” until somewhere around high school. I credit my creative writing teacher, Lissa Richardson, with being the one to inspire me to actually want to write as more than just a hobby. But I think, really, I’ve been a writer much longer than that.

    I remember being three, riding a tricycle around the playground in pre-school, narrating my own progress in my head as if it were an epic adventure. At three years old I supposed that is about as epic as it gets, come to think of it. Around that same age I recall sitting on the stairs in our house, wondering to myself why I was me and not some other person.

    Just as some people have a soundtrack that runs through their heads, I’ve always had a storyline, a running narration. Figuring out I was a writer was really just putting a name to something I’d been doing for most of my life.

  29. neserita

    I only thought about writing after I finished college my undergraduate degree. I have been an avid reader pretty much from the time I learned to read. The early years were filled mostly with my reading textbook. Not all of the stories were assigned, but I always read the book cover-to-cover. At about the age of ten I began reading other books, mostly science fiction, including ghost stories. Once I had my driver’s license I made trips to the bookstore on a monthly basis and left with a healthy stack of books including science fiction and fantasy, murder mysteries, and books that were related to popular television shows. My experience with writing in school was not a very positive experience. We often had to read our stories out loud which was a problem for me. I didn’t think my story was ever good enough. This stifled my creativity. My senior year I took a course in “advanced composition.” The assignments rigorous, but I didn’t have to share anything with my classmates. Only one person would read my story and only one person would make comments. Her criticisms of my writing were minimal. I quickly gained confidence in my writing and wrote a few pieces, including poetry, that I was very proud of.
    Today I consider my writing ability one of my strong suits. I can write technical articles that possess great style and vocabulary. I do have much difficulty writing creatively. I can come up with major ideas, but then find creating characters and plots not so easy. I’m hoping that working with the writer’s prompts will help. I remember reading somewhere once that if you want to be a writer then all you have to do is write.

  30. cleansingbreaths

    I was eight years old the day Mrs. Schmidt passed out the books, one book for each child. Aside from the penned sketches of monsters on the cover, each thin book bore no markings. Each and every page was white: clean, fresh, and full of potential. It was up to each of us to breathe life into those pages, and I found myself more than up to the task. Crayon in hand, I plotted and schemed my way through a whimsical Halloween story with the reckless abandon of a child. I’d written many many stories previously, but this story was special. Not because it was better than any of the other stories, but because it had become a book. And it was mine. And anyone could see it was mine because my name was on the front cover: Illustrator. Author.

    Unfortunately, the writer’s high was temporary and fleeting. The same thing that made that story special – seeing my own name on the cover of a book – awakened a paralyzing fear within me. Fear told me that if I wanted to write, my writings would be permanent and if I messed up, everyone would know it was me. I couldn’t bear it. The thought of looking foolish sucked the life from my stories. In agony, I’ve continued to write, but I pick apart my work with more energy than I put into creating it, ever critical of my mistakes and worried what other people will think.

    I still own my first and only book: “That Terrible Halloween Night” and, twenty-three years later, I am haunted by it’s solitary place on my bookshelf.

    Did I just turn my first response to a writing prompt into a tragedy?
    Why I Write – or Why I Don’t Write.
    That was unexpected. Perhaps honesty is a step in the right direction. Here’s to many more (hopefully less melodramatic) posts to come!

  31. ninjapanthercat02

    The reason why I write is because I was inspired by the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. When I think of ideas and story lines, they usually take place in a fantasy world with mythical and magical peoples and creatures. But the only problem right now is trying to get these ideas on paper.

    Currently, I have been looking for someone to write a good fantasy/action/adventure story. I have had no luck so far, but I am still trying to find one.

  32. lj0466857

    In school, the language arts were always special to me. It seemed effortless for me to excel in these areas and I developed a real passion for it. I would find myself reading and writing just for fun. I would also correct the grammar and sentence structure of others. Because of this annoying personality defect, my peers would bring me their papers to edit and revise. It was a little nerdy how much I enjoyed doing this. One day I found myself in a hysterical fit over a pun that I had read. It began to occur to me that I had a deep passion for words. I exercised this passion by becoming an editor for my high school’s yearbook and newspaper. Writing, along with reading the writings of others, was my life and, you know what, I loved my life. It was then that I realized that I truly wanted to be a writer. As I practiced writing more and more, I found a sense of glowing pride when I could have someone read a piece of writing and say “Wow, Lyndzie” when they are finished. It was also rewarding to evoke emotional responses, including anger, sympathy, and pleasure from my writings.
    Since I was so involved in everything in high school, it did take me a while to realize that it was the actual writing that I was enjoying and not just the hustle and chaos of meeting deadlines and working to gain the approval of the student body and staff. However, I found myself missing all of that after graduation. Reflecting now, I haven’t writing anything that has been terribly memorable in a long time. In my current Creative Writing class, I have sort of let myself down. It has been three years since I graduated high school and I notice myself being a little out of practice and that saddens me. I think that this response is a good indication that I truly want to be a writer.


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