Why We Write

The Prompt: This week’s writing prompt is a bit different than usual. Instead of telling us a fictional tale, we’d like to read about the why behind your wondrous words. Describe in the comments—in under 500 words (and in this case, brevity is best)—the reason why you love writing.

You can also share with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, but be sure include the hashtag #WhyWeWrite. Your response could appear in the February 2018 issue of Writer’s Digest.

And for those of you who prefer more traditional prompts, never fear: We’ll be back next week with a thought-provoking query in our usual vein.

Need some inspiration? These famous authors have offered reasons why they write:

Gustave Flaubert
“Writing is a dog’s life, but the only life worth living.”

Joan Didion
“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. …What is going on in these pictures in my mind?”

Don Delillo
“I write to find out how much I know. The act of writing for me is a concentrated form of thought. If I don’t enter that particular level of concentration, the chances are that certain ideas never reach any level of fruition.”

Lord Byron
“If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.”

Gloria Steinem
“Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald
“You don’t write because you want to say something; you write because you’ve got something to say.”

Jennifer Egan
“When I’m writing, especially if it’s going well, I’m living in two different dimensions: This life I’m living now, which I enjoy very much, and this completely other world I’m inhabiting that no one else knows about.”

Michael Lewis
“There’s no hole inside of me to fill or anything like that, but once I started doing it, I couldn’t imagine wanting to do anything else for a living. I noticed very quickly that writing was the only way for me to lose track of the time.”

George Orwell
“Sheer egoism. Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood.”

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310 thoughts on “Why We Write

  1. Meg Kinghorn

    The bird sits in the tree, awakened before dawn. Her branch sways. No use tucking her bill under her wing; she feels the day about to break, as a rumble up the tree through her tiny stick legs in a frozen grip. She waits to sing, for the moment when something beyond herself ruffles her feathers in a shiver and rises up through her throat. Then her beak opens, her eyes shut and song is born. When I catch the words it feels like a song. It feels like Grace.

    Writing pulls me into grace; grace I want to drown in, I want to burn in. Writing pushes me into grace. I want it to consume me from the inside out. I want every breath, every heartbeat to be about it.

    I. Want. That. Grace.

    The wind blows as if it has been reading this over my shoulder and is here to help. To carry away my invocations for a writing life. To carry them up to the heavens to the angels and saints.
    Lift me up to that grace. Sink me into that grace. Wrap me in it douse me in it roll me toss me HURL me in it push me off the edge into it.

    It. Is. All. I. Want.

    If I didn’t write my belly would swell. My back would ache. I wouldn’t walk well. And at some critical mass-not according to any gestational calendar-I would double over with cramps and pain. I would push, because not to would mean the expansion of something that would ultimately blow me apart from the inside out. All unwritten ideas and poems and feelings and dreams would express in tears I could not cry fast enough-tears unshed and incubated until they grew too large to be kept.
    These word babies are miracles, ugly miracles to be cleaned up, cared for, nurtured and presented, for their life will exist as telepathy to the reader. I write so as not to let those word babies die, not to stillborn, not to abort.

    It. Is. Why. I. Am. Here.

    A friend of mine told me he doesn’t like to write. What do you mean you don’t like to write? You must not be doing it right. What’s the payoff, he asked. It makes me a better listener, to hear that Grace, more often, more easily. Each word acts as a door stop, holding the gateway open to something more, something bigger, something better. If I don’t write I feel that door begin to slip shut as the words gather dust, brittle, and decay, and then I am joyless-lifeless.

    The words from ME, the “MY WORDS” hold open that door, it’s my give, it’s my call out into that More, that Better. What I GET BACK is the Grace. What I GET BACK are divine words, moments inspired, words that are not mine. They come back at me through that door and I love that.

    That. Is. Why. I. Write.

  2. KimmyJin

    Writing is an escape plan for me, just without the planning part. I never dive in with a set mindset when I want to write. I just write, to write. Most of the time it’s to figure out how i’m feeling so I just let the words flow on the keyboard. The click-clacking music drowning my day away like it never happened. That’s the best part of writing for me. I can sit here as the clock whirls by, losing track of time like it doesn’t even exist. My head will just go blank while my fingers fly away as though on reflex. It’s the type of calm that people long for. Or better yet, it’s a stimulate people seek. Like the after affect of your body fuming off adrenaline, where you’re slapped in the gut with the overwhelming urge to just sit down and rest your eyes. I feel as though writing lets me do just that. Where I can sit here with only this bright 12×18 screen and rest my eyes as my fingers do all the work. My brain just filtering on auto pilot.

    Writing is also a secret window to me. You can write just about anything, at any moment, at any time. There is no structure or code you must follow. There are no limits or judgements, just pen and paper. It’s a type of freedom anyone can access. It’s a secret window that allows you the fresh air you need to keep your day going. Or if you need a sense of escape, just pop open that secret window and get to work.

    Writing to me is also a chore. Or maybe even a habit, I’m not to sure yet. The amount of work that goes into one piece of material fathoms me, even to this day. If you think about it, how long did it take you to write your response? Did you even notice the time flash by? Let me tell you, my tea did get ice cold and two hours has passed and I was only able to provide you with this tiny spring of words. Which is perfectly ok, because in that time frame my mind wanted to just write. I wrote about things that didn’t even make any sense or flow with my piece. However, I’m proud of it. It’s a piece of me that I can copy and paste for someone else to read. Which is another thing I love about writing. People can relate, infer, interpret, accept, and get inspired from. It’s a form of relativity in it’s simplest form! Think about it! We write every single day of our lives now. It’s something we don’t even think twice about because it’s a simple form of communication and it’s beautiful. Writing makes me passionate.Writing makes me feel powerful. Writing makes me feel creative and brilliant. Writing makes me feel normal. Writing makes me feel alive. Writing makes me feel like making a plan.

  3. Lex Noël

    Why do I write? Sometimes I feel like the answer changes by the day, or depends on how I’m feeling. I write to feel adventurous. I write to feel brave. I write to quiet all the thoughts and ideas clamoring around in my head. I write to know how I truly feel, or what I really think. Ofetn the words I write surprise me. Writing makes you honest, and I value honesty. I write to write. Ultimately I think I write because it’s something that’s completely and unabashedly me. What you see is what you get. I feel empowered and free when I write. As an introvert I’ve always appreciated writing because it’s never failed to clearly communicate exactly what I think, need, feel, desire or see. I love words. I love reading them, singing them, hearing them, but sometimes it can be hard to find the right ones to say. Writing has been a constant companion, a clear guide and a much needed escape for as long as I can remember.

  4. patricia.booker2005@yahoo.com

    I like writing because it’s a great pastime and a great mind exercise method for brain stimulation. It helps release any anxieties I’ve experienced throughout my daily activities, its soothing to my soul. Writing has always been a hobby since my teen aged years, like a diary almost but not quite. It helped me get through a real traumatic chapter of my life, the pages in my grey notebook captured my feelings and tears, on a positive note, I got through it. It’s where my personal, intimate and private thoughts are displayed, later reviewing my accomplishments since. It’s just a great tool in life, a conversation with yourself, on paper.

  5. KaraMcG

    I love writing because it’s where I can quietly put down my heartwords to be heard amidst the cacophony of all the world’s voices. I will have had my say, even if you don’t hear.

  6. alexismm6

    I write because some days I have so much inside of me there is no other way to make sense of it. If there are words and thoughts rattling around inside of me like bees in a jar, sometimes luring them out one by one can force them into a neat and orderly line. Sometimes they angrily fly out at once. Either way, they are out, and I feel pleasantly empty again. No more buzzing, no tickling feet like pinpricks inside my rib cage. Only peace.
    I write because it helps me remove myself from certain issues. If I turn things that have happened to me into a story, sometimes it gives clarity. Sometimes it just helps to pretend the problem isn’t mine anymore.
    I write because it makes it easier to fall in love. I can fall in love with my characters, I can fall in love with myself and what I am capable of putting on a page, and if I’m lucky, I might just fall in love with someone on the outside. Stirring up romantic feelings in a playful way very subtly translates to how I see the world. Brown eyes become liquid chocolate. Warm skin becomes an inviting landscape for me to explore. His voice becomes music that resonates in my chest.
    I write to make art out of what sometimes scares me.

    1. ClutteredThoughts

      I must say I absolutely love this response to the prompt. I can’t believe how strongly I understand and relate to your answer, especially “I write to make art out of what sometimes scares me.”

  7. Wetherdorn

    I write because if I don’t, I have no way for the nightmares to go away. Writing them out makes me forget them, sometimes. Writing to me isn’t a hobby, it’s a gift and a curse. I have to write because my mind would get filled up with all these thoughts if I left it to itself. So the only way to cure the curse is to write. Sometimes I love what I write, but mostly I don’t. I used to fill an entire notebook with details of things and each one would lead to a novel or novel-length idea. I don’t write as much as I used to and I think that my mental health has suffered because of this (along with some very difficult years). But things change and now I try to write as much as I can. It’s only been a few weeks of concentrated trying, but its working. The nightmares are still there, but sometimes, if I have the time, I write them out of my head.

  8. rle

    Sometimes I write when I’m happy
    Sometimes I write when I’m sad
    Sometimes I write when I’m overjoyed
    Sometimes I write when I’m mad

    Sometimes I write on my iPad
    Sometimes on my iPhone
    Sometimes I write in my living room
    Sometimes I write on the throne

    Sometimes I write about my hopes and my dreams
    Sometimes I write about tears
    Sometimes I write about crowning achievements
    Sometimes I write about fears

    Sometimes I write when I shouldn’t
    As many would say I suppose
    Sometimes I write simple silliness
    Sometimes it’s eloquent prose

    Sometimes I write from the top of my head
    Sometimes I write from my heart
    Sometimes I write when my world is alright
    Sometimes when it’s falling apart

    Sometimes I write without a direction
    Sometimes I write with a plan
    Sometimes I write because I want to
    But I always write because I can

  9. Maria35

    Running fingers along my legs, up to my abdomen, along my clavicle, then slowly down my arms, I slathered each body part with coconut oil, careful not to miss any potential bronzing spot before baking under the sizzling summer sun.

    When the heat became unbearable, I dipped my newly-bronzed body into the pool to cool off, quickly got dressed, and mounted my 10-speed bicycle. I called her Candy for her cotton-candy pink color. I rode Candy everywhere and nowhere and with arms outstretched like wings, golden face to the sky, I pretended to fly far away and back within seconds. I rode Candy all day, every day each summer.

    Until the sun went down.

    I was 12-years-old when my grandmother died quickly of cancer. And it was dark. Not just dark-of-night kind of dark but the kind of dark that sneaks around each corner of minuscule space deep beneath the earth, the kind of dark where no sun nor moon can fathom reaching. That place – where darkness reigns, where it is easy to forget to open my eyes – is where I can easily fly within seconds.

    Why do I write?
    Because it’s the only time these hands feel like mine.
    Because they can do what no sun nor moon can.
    Because it’s when my heart races with more than fear.
    Because it lets in the light.
    Because it brings me back.

  10. ShamelessHack

    She packed my laptop late last night.
    I’ll start off writing nine a.m.
    And I’m gonna be high as a kite by then.
    I miss reality so much, I miss my wife.
    It’s lonely in my fictional writer’s space.
    On such a timeless, writing flight.
    Oh yeah.

    And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time.
    I try to write and I try to rhyme.
    In the kitchen, the john, or in the hall.
    Oh no no no.
    I’m a writing man.
    Writing man.
    Burning out his laptop here alone.

    Fiction ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids.
    In fact it’s nerve wracking as hell.
    And there’s no one there to raise them, when you’re writing.
    And all these book promos, I don’t understand.
    Trying to get an agent five days a week.
    A writing man an an an an an.
    Writing man.

    And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time.
    ‘Til a publisher finally gets around to mine.
    I’m not the Hack they think I am at all.
    Oh no no no.
    I’m a writing maaaaaaaaaan.
    Writing man!
    Burning out his laptop here alone.

    Yeah yeah yeah,
    yeah yeah,

    And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time.

  11. Nicki EagerReader

    I write because to date I haven’t come up with a better way of fitting thousands of lives into one lifetime.

    Also, while I write I don’t talk, which a depressingly large number of people regard as a welcome change.

  12. Smileyface256

    I write because I’m a quiet person with few people to talk to and so much to say. I write because there are worlds, stories, people trapped inside of me clamoring to have their voices heard, their stories told. I write because through these characters, I can tell my own story without feeling exposed.

    I can express emotions long buried that need to be released. I can pour my heart and soul onto the page and turn my experiences into something beautiful and inspiring. I can make people laugh and cry, remind them that happy endings really are possible and people can change for the better, that no matter how hard life gets and how many times we feel like giving up, there’s still hope.

  13. ClutteredThoughts

    I write because there is no other way to remember.

    Dreams, characters, stories, prompts, ideas, worlds. Every day I live in a haze of imagination, and I want to remember.

    It has its drawbacks. If I write about one thing, I get too focused on it, and I stop thinking about all the other ideas that were running through my head. I have to take a single drop of water from the river of creativity running through my skull, and I end up trying to make an ocean with that drop. It sometimes works, it sometimes doesn’t, but if I attempt then I remember, and that’s all I want.

    I remember when I was seven years old and reading Harry Potter. I loved the Marauders so much I wrote stories about their years at Hogwarts. I remember those stories, the one I wrote where James broke Snape’s wand and the one where Sirius spent the night in the Forbidden Forest on a dare. I remember the people I came up with in middle school math, when I was bored and doodling. I wrote down keywords and quick stories on the backs of those drawings. I remember those characters; I’m still making stories for them. I remember when I first tried to create a world, making countries and international relationships and cultures and religions, writing about what aspects of that land were different from this one. I still have that ten-page document somewhere in my computer; I remember that world.

    I write down my dreams in the morning so I can remember them. I write ideas on the backs of receipts, on movie tickets, on my own skin, so I can remember them. I don’t like trying to hold onto an idea without writing it; if I hold the drop of water for too long, it soaks into my skin and disappears forever.
    I write because I learned the alternative long ago. Forgetting, for me, is the worst option available.

    I can’t remember the first stories I ever made up while playing with my horse and knight figurines. I remember that they were complex, that there were families and feuds, and I remember that each family was run differently and had their own special set of issues. I remember being six years old and loving the stories that filtered into my head. I would spend hours setting them up like a play on my bedroom floor, and act the stories out over the whole week. I remember doing all that.

    But I don’t remember the important parts, like the actual stories, or the character traits and personalities I gave each one of my toys. And a few years later, when I decided to act out another story with them, I discovered that I couldn’t even remember all of their names.

    I write to remember, because I know what forgetting is like, and I have too much to say at once. Fingers fly faster than tongues.

    So I write.

      1. ClutteredThoughts

        I have as many notebooks and sketchbooks full of ideas as I’ve spent years on this planet, and the number just keeps on growing… not to mention the hundreds of ideas and worlds and actual stories on my computer. I moved a month ago and I’m STILL finding those old notebooks with pieces of random paper as my bookmarks, covered in childish scribbles and indecipherable notes.

  14. Rockrat

    Before I was old enough to attend school, I spent hours of every day building things with Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs, and wooden blocks. I could sit in one place for hours building cities, towns, castles, and fortresses. Places with stories. They were my places and were filled with tales I created. I lived in their excitement and wonder-filled worlds. I slipped the bonds of reality with the magic of my imagination. That’s where my story of writing began–in a personal pre-history, before written language.
    Once in school, I was provided with a new kind of building blocks: words. There were so many fascinating shapes and colors held within them. I read the stories placed before me and disappeared into the same imaginative realm created with Tinker Toys and building blocks. However, I wanted to create my own realms, so I began to write.
    My teachers and my friends enjoyed what I wrote and praised my efforts, which further fueled my desire to write. Nothing like a little narcissism to push a writer to create. I kept at it and started reaching people beyond my family and friends. I published poems, feature articles, and short stories. I was hooked on the endorphin fueled joy of creation and the adrenaline of adulation. That’s why I write. At heart, I am an addict who uses his love for creation to illuminate and peer into the reality around me and to conjure new worlds all together.

  15. gamingtheblues

    Can I just say that I am amazed as to how many “different” people we have responding this week. I have seen at least a dozen names before that I have not seen with any prompts in my recent memory. That tells me we have many writers who come here to read but feel shy about sharing!

    While I think it is wonderful that people come here to experience and read and learn, but please for your sake and ours, do not be afraid to share! The first time is hard, the second time easier. First times are like that if you all remember 😉

  16. Whoever

    It all started when I bought this book, its yellow and if you look you’ll find all my thoughts and ideas about things the world gave and I took.
    To mentally unhook and get them off my plate I read some to my mate one night when we were up late. By that point I’d written about eight and he suggested I put them to a use and compile a play which brings us to date.
    Put on a show, thought ‘f*** it why not, I’ll have a go’. – To speak’s not a sin. So let’s begin, but not begin at the beginning let’s begin somewhere along the line when patience with myself was thinning.
    I wasn’t winning in fact I’d really hit a ditch the underlying theme of this is mental illness is a b**** with one big hitch I’m usually sensible but for green I’ll switch.
    I’m not talking about money there’s nowt in my wallet not even an itch. I mean cannabis that’s how I get my kicks. I don’t really drink I just sink into this world of being high my mind floats to the sky til we find ourselves kissing life at home goodbye.
    It’s time to make it as an actress, or try but I won’t quit til I die. When the letters on my stone read ‘the ashes of Whoever here lie’.
    Until such a time as that’ll be when I’ve smoked my last and set my soul free, my writing’s about a lot of things but mostly about me.

  17. Farhana A.F

    I believe that every single person is bestowed with a gift, a talent. It may not be extraordinary. It may even be just ordinary. But it is unique; unique because of the soul of individuality breathed into it by the very person within which the talent lies.

    And I believe with every fibre of my being that my gift, my talent is writing.

    My chemistry with writing was sparked from an affair of reading books. It was an endeavour that persisted – and still persists – over many years, endowing my childlike mind with materials – words and imagery – with which I could create worlds of wonder, spectacle, and awe, and within which my characters lived according to my authorial whims and desires. I became a (day)dreamer then, and there was no singular moment that would pass by without my mind concocting some imaginary tales populated with dearly beloved characters living in a world that was so much like, but also beyond, mine.

    As I grew older, the innocent lenses through which I had been seeing the world were replaced, and the wondrous pretty things acquired tinges of grey. Suddenly, the stories circulating in my head were not just mere creations of otherworldly realms for me to escape to during rainy days. Suddenly, the stories turned into expressions of a girl trying to make sense of the world and her place in it.

    For the longest time, those stories remained trapped in my head. But, with the discovery during later years of schooling that I could orchestrate with the pen voices and sights in my head and translate them onto paper, those stories found an escape route. No longer confined, the stories found life breathed into them on white pages.
    And I found myself breathing in a new kind of life too. An epiphany struck and has stuck with me ever since – I am meant to do this. I am meant to write.

    Though I believe writing to be my calling, it is not a task in which I am exceptionally skilled. Most times, I plunder through and massacre my words, and the blood trails are the messy scribbles on crumpled paper. And my impatience and impertinence to hone my skills in the craft, along with my severe fear of rejection and ridicule can effectively induce me into a momentary state of writer’s paralysis, a debilitating condition during which I would stare forlornly at the screen or at the paper, my fingers frozen and unwilling to let my stories dance across the pages.

    Yet still, I write. God gifted me with this talent, made it one with my soul, and I shall fight to keep it alive, and myself, living.

  18. audratheauthor

    I am a child of the 1970s who grew up in a blue collar section of a New Jersey suburb. I clearly recall the first time I realized that the world saw me as different, as less than, because of the color of my skin. I remember how that one comment snatched me viciously out of my childhood bubble. I remember questioning my worth, even though my parents told me over and over again that nothing anyone says changes my worth, unless I let it. I didn’t know how to process this. I had so many emotions. So I sat down and wrote as fast as my little eight-year-old hands would let me.

    I remember how my rage poured out onto the page. I threw the paper aside and cried. Then I went outside to play. A few days later I happened to read what I wrote and I couldn’t believe those words came from me. That’s when I realized that there is this well of love and wisdom and acceptance deep inside me that knows exactly what to say to me when I am hurting or sad or just can’t seem to make sense of what is going on, but I can only hear what it wants to tell me when I write.

    So, I write to share my well with the world.

  19. SargentBlaum

    Why do I personally write? That’s involved and has no clear or even consistent answer. Ask me ten years ago, and my answer would have been different, twenty years ago different again, and I don’t even want to think about twenty years from now – there’s an end of a rainbow somewhere with an answer that will define my reasons, and no doubt, it will also define me.

    I started writing because I needed a creative outlet. Or maybe I needed to write something that was better than what I was reading? (Ah, the hubris of youth..) Or perhaps it was simply because I could finally almost type fast enough to keep up with my imagination! (Who am I kidding: even with voice recognition, I could never get the ideas out of my head quickly enough!)

    Today I write partly because my family wants to read what I write – I’m finally convinced they are not just pretending to love my stories, but genuinely think they are worthwhile. That other rainbow we all pursue, that of being published, comes with an oversized band of tarnished red indicating rejection, and very little in the way of gold acceptance. George Orwell may have had some ego left due to his successes, but mine has been eroded over many years of rejection without success. (It is a sweet melancholy, however, otherwise I might be disinclined to continue writing).

    I write because I have stories to tell. I write because I like to explore literary forms. I write because I believe the parts of me that become my words, my characters, my plots, and my dialog; I believe they are worthwhile, and worth the time it takes for others to read them. I write because another part of me wants to explore scientific ideas beyond today’s technology. I write because my stories reflect: my life, my culture, my morality, my spirituality, and my oh so many flaws – they each take up part of that story rainbow, a myriad of different hues.

    Finally, I write because once I start, it is like chasing the end of that rainbow, and the words continue to flow until the story is complete, or I am too exhausted to continue. (All too much of the latter as I get older, unfortunately). I write for many of the same reasons other authors write: to redefine my memories in a way that is entertaining, appealing, and evocative. I yearn to bring my experiences onto the page in a way that allures and captivates and leaves the reader gasping, nay begging, for more.

    1. mydecember76

      Thoroughly enjoyed your post! The rainbow metaphor is great and I also like how you tied in the whole post. I agree that you need to get those stories out there!

  20. astorm

    The idea of writing always appealed to me. A smooth wooden desk, large enough for all my papers, ideas, and a cup of tea was what came to mind when I thought about authoring novels. Then, when it came time to write I would get excited and write maybe a page of fiction—my favorite genre. Other important life tasks and events would get in the way and I would put the page away for weeks, maybe months. When I picked up the page of writing, I hated it. The writing I was at first so excited about was total crap to me.

    It took me almost 20 years from the time I began writing as a child to realize that quantity over quality was important if I wanted to become an author and to not give up on my ideas just because they seemed unappealing a few weeks after writing them.

    So, why do I love writing?

    The gamut of emotions I experience throughout my process of writing breathes life into me. I’m excited one moment about my writing and the next I feel like my words are crap that I am shoveling onto paper. Writing makes me feel like I am contributing something to the world—more than what I contribute during the humdrum of the rest of my life. I would love for my writing to reach as many people as possible, but even if it affects only a single other person, I believe I have accomplished at least one of my goals.

  21. gamingtheblues

    The heart and soul of a writer lives in the words on the page, regardless of subject, intent, style or theme.

    This has been my mantra, my understanding, of reading and writing for many years now. I believe that writing will tell you more about the writer than any words that ever come out of their mouths whether the author wills it or no.

    Writing like all forms of art, is ultimately about expression. The expression of thoughts, ideas, and emotion. Ostensibly I tell myself that I write so that I can “Change” people. Open up their minds and hearts with the hopes of inspiring a better world. Humble, I know.

    In searching the blood and pain, the love, that is left on the page when I write though, I find a deeper understanding. In truth, I am searching for connections. I want to touch the hearts and souls of the people who read my words. And also in reading their own words in return.

    People who claim that we no longer connect with others because of the advent of technology and the increasing dependence on that technology are deluding themselves. We as a society have always caged ourselves from others. The method is the only thing that changes. Years ago it was done with vast amounts of prejudice. Gender inequalities, racism, xenophobia, exclusionism, ect.. Even the small town community has been only for those who live there.

    What is my point?

    The point is that through reading and writing, we as humans can connect on a deeper level than what can be accomplished through almost any other means. Regardless of time, space, circumstance or any other typical barrier to empathy and understanding, there is truth on the page. You can feel my heart, see inside and understand the essential “me.” And I you.

    Those are the reasons that I read. Those are the reasons that I write. And those are the reasons that I still have hope and love, for us as a people.

    Thank you for reading and I hope that I did not sermonize over much.

    1. A. J. Kidding

      Calming, touching, and understanding. Your words seep nobility and selfless reasoning, Blues. I wish that one day your words may touch the entire world.

      1. gamingtheblues

        Thank you so much, I truly mean it. It is often easier to write in a “story” format, than it is to write a pure emotion or opinion piece. I spent easily four times longer on this than any thing else i have written for this site. I appreciate the time you spent to read and respond to my words.

    2. agnesjack

      You make so many wonderful points, gtb. Although reading is mostly a solitary activity, it does, indeed, help us “connect on a deeper level” by exposing us to other ideas and lifestyles and opinions and perspectives. Even with all this “social” media, we do isolate and “cage” ourselves. But when we do connect, human to human, amazing things happen. Thank you for the reminder.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Well Gaming, I felt like I had a year’s worth of lessons in an advanced writing class. Only you can write like this. I have never read anything that even comes close, concise, majestic, powerful, warming, knowledgeable and even a touch of tender. If you are not a professor I will eat my hat and send you a video. Kerry

        1. gamingtheblues

          Kerry Kerry…you more than anyone on here make me question the self doubt that permeates my heart deep deep down. Your words are always so heart felt and complimentary that I want to question my worthiness of them.

          I ultimately do not question them…but as I have struggled with whether or not I can indeed make something of myself as a writer or editor…or indeed an educator for, I am not though I have considered it… I find your thoughts on my own writing to be a soothing balm against the harshness of day to day struggle.

          I want to believe….I want to believe.

          Thank you.

      2. gamingtheblues

        Thank you for reading my thoughts and words! It is funny, I believe that reading is only solitary in that we do it alone often, but I also “feel” the author when I personally read. I can hear their thoughts and the pulse of their emotions. Each word choice, use of sentence structure and style and way that they approach a subject literally cries out who they are and what they want to tell us.

        Incidentally, this is why I have taken breaks from this site before. This sort of thing happens when I read the stories on here too, and it can become quite exhausting!

        Thanks again for your own thoughts.

    3. rlk67

      Well, the fact is that the most satisfaction in life is to pass along what you’ve learned, and to see your students surpass you. That is why you should become an educator. I’ve been one for 20 years plus, and to pass on the skills and abilities which bring out the best in others…ahhhh…there’s nothing like it.

      Go for it, Professor!

    4. JRSimmang

      Just think about what this forum has afforded us. We have, most of us if not all, have never met one another face-to-face, yet we have already built pictures of the ones behind the pen here. We all imagine who writes what, and I’d like to believe we’re not too far off the mark. You have made so many connections, and each one of those connections will reverberate through the years.

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        JR, I agree. I’ve told folks this is my online writing community. If I had not gotten involved several years ago I would have missed so much.

    5. ReathaThomasOakley

      gaming, I’ve read this several times, first quickly, and then more slowly. You’ve touched on a great many truths about creating, and about those who must create. I was especially moved by your thoughts on connections. How sad to see so much effort spent on finding differences rather than unity. Thank you for these comments.

      Here endth my sermon of the day.

  22. agnesjack

    Every spring, after the gorgeous electric pink flowers have faded, I’ll prune the large azalea in my front yard. It is a peaceful, meditative task that I love doing because the focus is so deep and complete. I think of nothing else while discerning which branches to trim and which ones to leave alone. Thinning the tangled branches lets the light in.

    Writing, for me, is similarly meditative. I’ll throw words down on paper and step back a bit to see how I can shape them into a coherent story. Like the pruning, my mind is so engaged as I decide which ideas, thoughts, phrases to cut and which to keep that I actually feel rested afterward. For that hour or two or three, I am free of the worries and concerns that are so much a part of life these days. Writing keeps me grounded and sane, and that’s the honest truth. It helps let the light in.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      When you mentioned gardening, I wanted to gather my tools and join you. If I don’t spend at least six or eight hours in my yard each week. I get cranky l live in Gardner’s dream or to others, perhaps a living nightmare. Eight tenths of an acre on a dry Creek, battle the deer during drought, swatting mosquitos all summer and fall, then there’s nineteen oaks, twenty four elms and various other trees. Gad I love it. Bury me in the leaves, I don’t care.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        P. S. What I really wanted to tell you is I loved your response to the prompt What would we do without it

        In writing you discover avenues you have never traveled before, create visions, drama.

        1. agnesjack

          Thanks, Kerry. I live in a suburban neighborhood just north of NYC, but there are many many old growth trees – mostly oaks, but also maples and spruces. I have a large front yard, side yard and a back yard that slopes down into a tiny wooded area. Over the years my late husband and I put in little perennial gardens here and there. It’s lovely.

    2. MoiraiTQ

      I have two bushes in my back yard that I’ll be trimming in a few weeks. While I love the wildness of them, they need to be tamed. This is like the plethora of thoughts that fly around my head. Find the right combination of branches to trim and the bush grows gracefully. Find the wrong ones, and you have a wild animal. It’s the same with words. Flow or cacophony.

  23. heidijoy

    The English language is comprised of over one hundred thousand words, but we use nowhere near this amount of vocabulary in our daily lives. I write because each word–each syllable–helps me portray a message. Harsh, guttural words are still beautiful, despite contrasting with the eloquence of others. Every word establishes a story with layers, symbolism, and unique ideas. I write not because I like the feeling of looping sloppy letters onto paper or because it gives me the opportunity to showcase a vast vocabulary, but because each word has unique meaning that allows me to establish my own ideas with words pinpointed to depict emotion, opinion, and creativity.

  24. MoiraiTQ

    Why I write.

    I write because my brain tells me to. It’s like breathing. I have stories in my head that must come out. I used to tell stories to my kids when they were little. I wish I had written them down because they were actually quite good.

    On the other hand, I also like to express my opinion.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      This is such a revealing response. I am surrounded.not only with a wife and all those daughters but the girls gave me nine granddaughters to play with and now most of them are in college
      Where does the time go?

    2. GrahamLewis

      i used to tell my kids stories, too, especially my younger daughter, at bedtime. She’s 20 now and still remembers “Ling Ling” the magic girl and Courage the German Shepherd. And a lot of details. All that I remember of them all is that at some point I would be laying on the bed beside her and eventually begin falling asleep as I talked, and my words would devolve into nonsense and dreams and she would poke me awake, saying”what?” why did she do that?” or “who is that?” Even back then i didn’t have the answers.

  25. A.B. Funkhauser

    I came to writing later in life and only after a big ticket moment that knocked everything into place. Suddenly, I had a lot to say and couldn’t stop saying it. All wonderful, because I’m a gonzo at heart, and gonzo characters can get away with so much more than I can in ‘real life.’

  26. cosi van tutte


    I write with the hope that my words and characters will make other people laugh and cry and cheer and hope and dream.

    I write because the “All I Ask Of You” reprise from Phantom of the Opera musical made me think “I want to write something emotional like this.” and I am always striving towards that goal.

    I write for the sheer joy and fun of it. It is my way to relax at the end of every day.

    I write because if I don’t write, my stories will never be told. My characters’ voices will never be heard. And my worlds will remain unexplored.

  27. A. J. Kidding

    I write.

    I write, because I want to reach the end of my imagination and then break through it. Writing helps me lose or find myself, depending on what I need to feel, and when I need to feel it… It gives me the chance to live thousands of lives in thousands of realities, exploring every possible scenario no matter how grandiose or minuscule it might be. Through the order I put my words on paper, I can create everything and look from the eyes of it all. To me, writing is a superpower like no other; it can be art, it can be a simple instruction or it can be a weapon. I write not because it gives me the power of a god, but because it makes me feel human. I write because I should, I write because I can, because I must. I have tried not writing on purpose, and I didn’t last long; writing is an itch that can be scratched only by itself. It’s a question and an answer at the same time. I write, because it helps me live, not simply exist. I love it. I hate it. I am disappointed in it, and I am also proud of it. Writing is a mental mirror, an extension of yourself that helps you communicate with the pure reflection of what your soul is.

    I think, therefore I write.

    1. Uwa_E

      “Writing is a mental mirror, an extension of yourself that helps you communicate with the pure reflection of what your soul is.”

      The perfect quote that I will use as a daily mantra. Your response is truly amazing, A.J. Kidding!

  28. Uwa_E

    At 6:45am, my alarm goes off.

    I stare at the Empire State Building from my window and just let out a depressed exhale. Same thoughts pile up in my mind as if it were traffic at the Lincoln Tunnel.

    “This can’t be my life’s purpose, Heavenly Father. I need to wake up with passion and joy in my heart.”

    I then think about my youth.

    I’m enjoying my more mature years but I wish I had that creative spirit like I did when I was 7, 8, 9yrs old and then at 16.

    Then, my life was filled with endless possibilities. I did not have any responsibilities, other than get good grades in school. I did not even second guess my creative writing.

    It flowed so naturally to me. I was eager to expand my creative realm—zone out in the middle of class lectures to visualize words that I would soon write down or even type on a word document.

    Now, that old, creative me has been polluted with pressure from external factors that should be temporary distractions.

    I sometimes write to remind myself that it is not okay for a creative mind to be caged.

    I sometimes write because when I read aloud what I’ve wrote, I cry and say to myself, “Uwa, you still got it!”

    1. mydecember76

      Uwa, you still got it!

      Enjoyed your post! I can relate! It used to come so easily before all the aches and pains of adulting. I just assume that it hasn’t left, but I just need to dig it out. Keep writing!

  29. Critique

    Writing is fun. I love the challenge and excitement of sitting down at my computer (the panster writer in me) and allowing my imagination free rein to spill out a story. Isn’t imagination a wonderful thing? It’s also a great way to relive pieces of my life and weave them into a non-fiction or fiction story. I enjoy the adventure of panster writing but I’m learning that plotter writing can be incredibly freeing as well.

    This site has been an amazing place to exercise my writing skills – or lack thereof. People actually read my stuff, take the time to gently critique, and encourage. Thank you everyone who have shared this delightful journey with me – it’s been four years – and to those of who’ve come on board recently, there isn’t a better place to be on your writing journey.

    1. Uwa_E

      Critique, you have just given me a brief lesson between pantser and plotter writing. I’ve been trying to identify myself with a specific writing style for years. I know the genres that I enjoy writing about, however I still felt undiscovered, in a way, because I could not understand why I would just let my imagination roam freely on a piece of paper without outlining the directions that I will want my characters to take.

      After examining both terms, I realized, for me, that I should encompass a pantser and a plotter writing technique. Having a balance within my writing is definitely one of my struggles, but I do enjoy the mere freedom of the pantser spirit. It shows me how much I can stretch my imagination.

  30. GrahamLewis


    I write because that is when I am most myself and least myself. I pick the subject from my mind and heart, I gather the words from my mind and ear, but I write from a stream that flows from beyond me or deep within me. I may hate to begin writing, I may love to have written, but I definitely live in the space between the two.

    1. GrahamLewis

      I understand, but for me I find it much easier to capture stories when I talk, and much harder to find the right words to write. But the latter is far more absorbing and rewarding. I suppose it’s because in telling stories with speech I get feedback and make gestures and expressions, while with writing the words must carry the entire weight.

  31. chandra_wd_writer

    This is a copied and edited version from one of my blog posts:

    I always wanted to be a writer ever since I knew how to hold a pen. Well, that’s a plain lie. I sometimes wish how beautiful my life would be if I always knew from my childhood that I wanted to be a writer when I grow up. How I secretly envy Orwell and other blessed souls.

    I grew up studying in my mother tongue for the first twelve years of my formal education. So as a non-native speaker growing up in India, English happened very late in my life, both academically and otherwise. Growing up I never had the slightest dream of writing anything beyond what was needed to pass the exams. And add emails, and writing software programs for computers later in my life.

    Writing for humans is something I never considered seriously until my mid-twenties.

    Why do I write? I am probably trying to find an answer for that question through writing itself. Writing makes me meditative. The joy of pouring the muddy thoughts from my brain’s neural network onto the pages is orgasmic. It temporarily shuts down all the nonsense that my brain wants to deal with if left idle. It also makes me forget about the physical pain and health issues: this is a more recent and surprising discovery. Writing also acts as a free therapy for the body and the soul. It makes me wonder about the human existence itself.

    Through writing, I not only learn more about myself, but I have also discovered it transforms me in the process; especially, creative fiction does this more than any other form of writing.

    What about fame? Fame or money? Or both? I would still write even if no one pays me, and no one ever reads the damn things I write. But I do think it’s good to have some readership to reassure the writer in the making. Thanks to the technology as there is hope that someone will eventually read what we write. Fortunately or unfortunately, writing need not be a lonely business anymore. Technology has not only revolutionized the way we write, but it has also changed the way we reach out to the readers.

    But all these answers probably lead to more questions and more searching. Only through writing more will I ever find why I wanted to write in the first place. But I believe writing is the most expressive of all art forms. And not to forget, it is also the most powerful, brutal, and ruthless of all art forms. (I mean no offense to other artists.)

    So, why do I write? I just don’t know the answer yet beyond my obsessive love for English prose itself. Maybe I will know the answer someday. Perhaps I will give up thinking about the answers and just keep writing.

    But for now, the only good reason why I write is I want to be a better writer.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Chandra, I so appreciate every word here. I also understand the benefit of using writing as a way to deal with pain. Keep writing, keep searching even if the answers never come, just keep writing.

      1. chandra_wd_writer

        Thanks, JR. You really made my day with this comment. I am so glad I happened to join this community randomly one night with my first prompt here. My writing took a totally different turn after I started writing here. Thanks again!

  32. Kerry Charlton


    A bitter January wind swept across a cemetery just East of Weatherford, Texas.

    My wife and four daughters walked a grassy knoll to Leslie‘s burial site. My fourth

    daughter’s casket lowered quietly to a freshly dug grave. Tears came of course along with

    Leslie’s message which pounded my mind,

    “Dad, write about your life, we know so little about you. Please do it for me.

    Don’t worry, I’ll be safe with Jesus.”

    I had written reports, business letters and memos for forty years.. I started five

    days later, to write about my childhood summers at Avalon, on the Jersey coast. My

    writer’s voice, awkward and clumsy, described a young boy’s wonderment of a summer’s


    Through my tears, I allowed a small smile as I felt the sea breeze brush across my

    face , the smell of the ocean and the touch of damp sand as it worked it’s way between my

    toes. Sixty years of my life vanished as if it never existed.

    In the still of a morning bathed in first light, a vow I made .
    . .

    1. Nicki EagerReader

      I would have liked to meet Leslie, though sometimes I feel like I have- she’s like the warm afterglow of the sun, and her presence radiatiates from every word you write. I agree with the others. Thanks for sharing.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Nicki,y words fail me when I try to describe the light she carried with her, a positive glow in this world while at the same time, battling stage 4 melanoma. She beat it back for seven years before it overwhelmed her spirit. She gave no quarter to the demon cancer. And yet still her face lit up for a friend or a person she had never met. The smile was identical for friend and stranger.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Yes Reatha. She is ever close when. I Need her and I feel I can. do all things I might need to with her blessing. Thank you for your constant support. I will.never forget.

    2. frankd1100

      I feel your profound sadness in your writing. You’re a protector but you couldn’t save Leslie, though you would have given your life for hers. The strength that enabled you to continue caring for your family, the courage to face each day, one foot in front of the other, a tough, disciplined man capable of extraordinary love. The genuine appreciation for the good work and the goodness in others. And the sharp, dry wit that appears when least expected. I see all of this and a genuinely good man in your words, Kerry.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Good Frank, I I’m bowled over by your response
        .But thank you
        I am finally able to have a faith start to return among other things. It is so nice to hear from you. Two old dogs need to stay in.touch.

  33. Beej

    The words, the words are pounding at the cranium door….let me out, let me out they say. Sometimes clawing and screeching, sometimes pleading and cooing. I must oblige.

  34. mydecember76

    My love of writing stems from a love of reading; and, since I was a child, I have used both as outlets for escape. Both propel me into new worlds to meet new people and allow me to live among these characters for a time. But it is not an escape from reality that I need so much as an escape to other realities and writing is the only method by which I can custom create these worlds. As water and food are to the physical being, writing brings sustenance to my soul. Without limits, I can do anything and make anything happen in the worlds I create. Nowhere else can this amount of freedom be achieved.

  35. abufas

    Why do I love writing?
    In a way, that is a complicated question. Why? Because I haven’t been writing all that much.
    Sure, I’ve written in one form or another over the years. There is the painfully boring technical writing that has been a part of my career. But I wouldn’t call that creative in any sense, and I certainly don’t love it.
    And then of course there is the agonizing over an unsent email or text message to my ex. Did I word it adequately? Are there any unintentional triggers in there that will result in a couple hundred more dollars going my lawyer’s direction? Lord knows that writing needs to be creative, but again I don’t love it.
    So I guess that is why, here in the middle of my life, I am exploring new paths for my writing. But I am just getting started back up again, and have not done much at all. I have simply committed to do it, or at least committed to try.
    Do I love writing? If I were honest I would say I don’t know yet. But I can say with confidence that I love the IDEA of writing.

  36. JRSimmang


    People can’t fly.
    We can’t disappear with a puff of electric grey smoke.
    We can’t slay dragons, we can’t teleport, we can’t be brought back from the brink of death with a kiss, and we certainly can’t call on a fairy godmother when our true love turns out to be a toad.

    So sat I, adolescent and full of hormonal strife and teenage angst, on my bed with the lights turned off and the windows open. I ripped a piece of paper from my science notebook and penned a letter to the universe. I confessed my anger and asked why it was that my arms were too long and face too oily and that when I spoke sometimes the wrong words came out but I didn’t dare say I did anything wrong because it would mean that some part of me hurt someone else and that I sometimes fantasized about walking through the walls and into the forest that ran alongside the football field and finding a hole and becoming a mole person and learning how to see things in the dark so that I wouldn’t have to trouble anyone anymore and the more I wrote, the more I realized that my friends had said the same things.

    And we laughed about it at lunch. And, my mom and dad assured me that maybe a kiss can’t bring us back from the dead, but it can certainly make us feel alive, and I saw the words on the page as a beginning.

    And today, with my adolescent awkwardness pinned to my lapel, I am still beginning. I write because I know somewhere there’s someone else who needs to hear my words because they are stuck-glued to the pavement and they need to hear that people can take to the skies. I write because I slayed a dragon. I write because fairy tales and warp drive can be as real as the air we breathe. Our words are our echoes, and I write because I can only shout so loud with my voice.

    -JR Simmang

      1. Kerry Charlton

        JR, I loved that sentence you wrote, I’m sure you know the one. It’s like, you know we’ll you should be a cool daddy o like it or not, what’ya doing to smooth the grass and pet the oysters?

    1. ClutteredThoughts

      What a fabulous start to writing, JRS. I can relate to that desire for the universe to be stranger and more magical… I’ve also found out that it truly is strange and magical by writing. Wonderfully written piece here.

    1. MoiraiTQ

      Once I learned proper grammar and sentence structure, both my writing (in any form) and speaking voices became better. I still write like I speak and speak like I write. It has helped me to be a better communicator.

  37. rlk67

    “I’m gonna make it to heaven
    Light up the sky like a flame…”
    No, Irene Cara was wrong. Fame is really a four-letter word. And this is not why I write.

    “Wooo..wooo…take the money and run…”
    No way.

    “Just kicking down the cobblestones.
    Looking for fun and feelin’ grooooovy.”

    “Midnight at the oasis…”
    My camel doesn’t go to bed, thank you.

    Writing is an oasis.
    When all is wrong and you never seem to do good enough,
    That accomplishment of making one person smile for half-a-second…

    We walk in fields of gold…

    1. ClutteredThoughts

      “Making one person smile for half-a-second…”
      That line made me realize that I may write for my own reasons, but I share them to make people smile. I hadn’t known this until I read your prompt.

  38. ReathaThomasOakley

    (Regurgitating the response to the prompt from November 18, 2016: I’m thankful I’m a writer, because… The response to this week’s prompt is the final paragraph.)

    Being A Writer
    An Annie Story
    November 22, 1954

    I still could not believe Miss Cowart did this to me. I really liked her for a teacher, even though I’d heard Mama and Aunt Violet whispering about her under the clothes lines one day. Well, I’d really liked her until today.

    School started okay this morning. It was kinda cold so I got to wear my church sweater. I just needed to remember to be careful not to snag it or get it dirty at recess. With only three days to Thanksgiving I wasn’t surprised when Miss Cowart got all smiley after roll call and the Pledge and the Lord’s Prayer, what Neil Solana and some of the others got to say different, being Catholic and all. What I didn’t expect was a writing assignment before arithmetic.

    “Boys and girls,” she’d said, “please take out four sheets of paper and sharpen three pencils.” Then, before anyone’s hands went up she laughed, and said, “I don’t want any desks being opened or pencils sharpened for the next hour.”

    Then she said we were to pretend we were grown up, with jobs and all, getting ready for Thanksgiving.

    “Now, please write why you’re thankful for what you’ve become.” I’d looked around the classroom. Ever body knew Marian wanted to be a teacher and Willie wanted to fly airplanes, so I figured what they’d write. Carol would most likely have a job selling dresses or something like that, she just loved to count my crinolines hanging on the closet door. I was thinking I needed to starch mine soon, if it didn’t rain, when Miss Cowart came to my desk.

    “Annie, why aren’t you writing?” She asked.

    Ever body’d laugh if I said I wanted to be a detective, just like I’d laughed when nasty ole Wilfred said he wanted to be a preacher on television. That was the silliest thing I’d ever heard. I’d kinda giggled when John Edward said he wanted to be captain of patrol boys, and Miss Cowart reminded him to think about being grown up, not sixth grade.

    “I just don’t know, m’am.” I’d said. “Nothing I can think of.”

    “I have a suggestion,” she’d said with big smile. “I think you could become a writer, so pretend you are one, and write why you are thankful.”

    So, there I sat, not one sentence finished, listening while she told Charles to pretend he was a farmer, and Pat to pretend she was a mother, and Mary Jo to think about being a librarian, and Acina to pretend she worked in a school.

    Funny thing was I could imagine ever one of them being what Miss Cowart said. I just couldn’t see a grown up me as a writer. Oh, well, twenty-two minutes of the hour were gone, I had to put down something.

    ‘I’m thankful I’m a writer, because sometimes I can’t figure out why folks do or say what they do or why some things don’t make sense. A writer could be almost like a detective, listen to what folks say and search for clues, to try to find out the truth of things and write that down so other folks know what is what. The End.’

    (As with all Annie stories, an homage to those who peopled my world long ago, for whom I am still thankful.)

    1. jhowe

      Dang, Reatha. That kind of gave me a few chills. This reminded me of a Statler Brothers song call ‘Class of 57.’ In the song, they tell of all the classmates and what they’re doing now. Really a good song. In your case, telling what the classmates may do in the future is really well done.

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        Thank you, j. I need to refresh my memory of that song. Several, imagined here as fourth graders, have given permission to use their names. I am fortunate to still be in contact so many from elementary school.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Annie is one anyone could take to heart in an instant. I know someone who might have a bit of Annie still in her. It shows through every word but you do realize most on this web sight still have no clue. An Annie thought to keep private I’ll never tell.

  39. destinymoore

    My entire life people have always asked my why i write. I never really know what reason to tell them, besides the fact i simply just enjoy it. When growing up you would always see me with a pen and paper, just jotting down little things. It was sixth grade when I had decided to take up writing. We had just found out that my grandfather had cancer and i didn’t take the news so well. My counselor suggested I start keeping a journal, so I could write how I felt at every giving moment. Since that moment writing just stuck with me. I took journalism in high school and I haven’t stopped writing since. It’s my way to escape to my own world.


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