I used to think prayer was just about God and writing was just about audience. Over the years, I’ve realised that prayer and writing are alike: they are just as much for me, if not more.
Each time I stop to filter out the millions of thoughts speeding through my head and select, one by one, the words to articulate my ideas, I learn a bit more about the stranger in my head – what makes her tick, how she sees things, how she relates to the world around her.
In fact, I often tell my friends in the middle of a conversation or lively debate that I’m hearing what I’ve said for the first time just as much as they are. Ordinary conversations over coffee spark much of my most inspired writing .
By putting ideas, concepts, and emotions into words, I discover new things about myself and my world that enrich me, and help me grow.
“I write to discover what I know.” -Flannery O’Connor
There is so much good stuff out there on the Internet. Seriously. Videos, blogs, podcasts, a never-ending kaleidoscope of inspiration in all forms.
Why become just another voice in the many out there?
The same reason I keep going back to my favourite authors and blogs. A feeling of solidarity, of identifying with what someone else is describing, and of community, which grows out of sharing life with others.
I can’t count the times something someone wrote kept me going, helped me through a tough time, inspired me to grow, and spurred me to action. And I write out of the same hope that by sharing my life and my words, I can encourage, inspire, challenge, or even just remind others they are not alone.
The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours. -The History Boys, Alan Bennett
Because I have to
I grew up constantly writing – scribbling words on scraps of paper or typing them out in my trusty old Nokia 1100 when I had none. The Poet in me experiences the world aesthetically, finds beauty and stories in dark alleys and telephone wires, and writes to capture those experiences, while the Editor is always rearranging words in my head even as I’m saying them.
Writing comes to me naturally and instinctively, and every time I sit down to write, I get up feeling renewed, energised, engaged.
I write because I cannot not write. Because as the fluid motions of limbs and arms are to dancers, as bold, vivid strokes of colour are to artists, so are the swing and swirl of syllables and sentences to me. They are my window to the world – both my inner and outer world.
I am sure that some are born to write as trees are born to bear leaves: for these, writing is a necessary mode of their own development. If the impulse to write survives the hope of success, then one is among these. If not, then the impulse was at best only pardonable vanity, and it will certainly disappear when the hope is withdrawn. – C.S. Lewis, Letters of C.S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves
What about you? Why do you do what you do?