Why I Write

caravaggio_stjeromewritingMy father recently blogged about this topic. Occasionally, he has some good ideas. And, in the same way that I followed my father into the ministry (albeit for a very brief stint) and into writing, I thought I’d follow his blog post as well.

In his blog, he writes about asking people what they do. As writers, we’re often asked the same thing. “So what do you do?”

“I’m a writer.”

“No, really. What do you do?”

See, when people ask this question, what they’re really asking is “How do you make money?” For many of us (even those who have been published several times over), writing doesn’t always pay our bills. We’re forced to keep day jobs, or night jobs, or mid-afternoon jobs etc. Admittedly, this takes up a huge chunk of our time. Throw in family and friends, extra curricular clubs and activities, and the demands on our time can be overwhelming.

So how do we find time to write? Furthermore, why do we write at all? Wouldn’t it be easier to give it up?

I’ll say this. If you can give it up, you should. Really. Put down the pen. Move back from the keyboard. If you can give up writing, I dare say that the muse is not in you. Pardon me if I sound harsh, but his is what it boils down to: If you can give up writing, I’d rather not read what little you’ve written. Why? Because readers can tell when it’s not in you. They smell it a mile away. There’s nothing worse than heartless, soulless prose.

At it’s basest level, writing is ink on page (or words on screen in the digital age). It has no heart. It has no soul. Writers, like good little Dr. Frankensteins must put a heart and a soul into the writing. To do this, they take a little of theirs and put it into each work they produce. It’s no different for artists or musicians. Art breathes the breath, pumps the blood, and feels with the heart of its creator.

How do you know if you’re a writer? Give it up. If you can, you’re not a writer. If you can’t, you are.

So when someone asks you what you do, regardless of whether you teach High School English, or you’re a doctor, or a lawyer, or a minister, or a coal miner. Writing supersedes whatever you do to collect a paycheck. Say proudly, “I’m a writer.”

And if you’ve yet to publish anything, that doesn’t make you less of a writer. If they ask, “Have I read anything you’ve written?” Tell them, “Not yet, my friend.”

10 Comments on Why I Write

  1. Haha, I suppose I’m a writer then. Admittedly, I did try to give up writing once. I couldn’t do it. It wasn’t long before all the ideas I could use started building up, and each one screamed, “Write me, you idiot!”
    When people ask, “You’re a writer?”, I proudly respond, “As sure as I stand here.”
    Sure, they think I’m crazy. But guess what? I think I’m crazy too.
    Some of the best writers and artists in all history were mocked and mistreated. Today, they’re considered geniuses and their work influences us even now. Those geniuses were people who couldn’t give up their craft.
    A writer could not give up writing any sooner than the living could give up their breath.

  2. I found it very difficult to go without writing for a while. I kept getting all of these images in my head that gave me ideas for poems. When my friends read my work. They seem shocked and asked if I’m a writer, or would I like to be. I never thought of myself as a writer, just something I like to do to get my ideas out of my head. Now that my work is improving, it gives me the confidence to say, ” Yes, I am a writer, and proud of it.”

  3. I can’t give up writing because so many ideas come to me in life or in dreams that often make me want to write just because the ideas that I come up with. I’ve started getting myself into writing when I got my first computer which when I was 8. The moment I got into it, I couldn’t stop.

    Its great if I write because as I write, I get to imagine what goes on and I’m in control of it. Its relaxing because writing is what I like to do and I love to share it to those around me so they can imagine what I’ve been imagining. When people do as what you do as a writer, I thought they meant what type of stories you write. It’s good to know what it really means.

  4. I generally gave up writing for a long while and found myself going back just to write a little something more, I told myself that I wouldn’t get lost in it but there was times that my mother would have to yell my name to bring me back. I see writing as a place uncharted, where anything goes and I have to map the place for everyone to see, so I guess I’m considered a writer. Mostly people don’t understand my writing, which I find hilarious because it’s my nonsense and therapy in some odd way.

  5. I don’t think i could give up writing because it’s kind of like a therapy for me. I write when I’m upset or angry or depressed and those feelings bleed onto paper forming stories or poems or songs. I like writing stories more than anything else and if I were to give that up then what would I do to make myself feel better when I need it? I am a writer and I not only write for my own well-being, I write to see the expressions on peoples faces and to share what creative or terrible ideas I come up with.

  6. Giving up on writing would be difficult for me. I’m not really passionate about writing stories. Writing poems and songs are more my thing. When i write my somgs and poems my current emotions sort of flow onto the paper, like my mind and the paper are one. most of the poems i write are related to my life in one way or another, and i cant give up writing poems because i like showing my friends my poems because i know that they can relate to them in some way.

  7. This makes me wonder if im a writer because normally, i dont chose to write on my free time but on other occasions, when im in that kind of mood then i will. I guess i can just say im a part time writer? yea, i think thats what i’ll call myself

  8. I don’t really think of myself as a writer. I just want to get everything out of my head. the people and ideas piling up in there need to get a clue. There is only so much space. 🙂

  9. Amber (Squirrel) Hynes | October 13, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Reply

    ok, just the thought of trying to give up writing makes me laugh, and at the same time makes me shudder. writing is a part of me, it practically runs through my blood. ideas constantly pop up in my mind. if i wasnt writing something, i would probably explode 🙂

  10. Jonathan Calzada | October 16, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Reply

    Well writing is a big part of many lives, and while people always wanna know how much money you make, but really people don’t write just to do it or pay bills, it’s a lifestyle, and while other people think it’s stupid, I think it’s fun. That’s why I write

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