Why Write?

No, I’m serious. The more I think about this, the less I understand.

And yes.  I know that we wrote an entire essay in the beginning of the semester about “Why I Write.”  And I figured out that writing does this; it does that.  But why do so many humans—all over the world—feel the need to put up with the writing process.  The painful first drafts, the seemingly ruthless peer-edits, and THEN the revision.

And yes.  I know that I came to conclusions in that essay.  I know that I write to figure things out.  I write to learn.  And I write to turn the rapid thoughts in my head into something tangible.  But as I read things lately—anything from academic texts for class, novels for personal enjoyment, or articles online—I find myself dissecting it.  I dissect the sentence structure.  Then I dissect the paragraph structure.  And then I ask myself, “Why?”  Not why am I know crazy, but why do I care?  Why do people do this?  Most of the time I just fall back to this comic:

And yes.  I understand that not everybody gets confused by these “meta-questions” that trouble me.  Some—and maybe most—people write because they need to (and not in the John U. Bacon sense).  But in the sense that they need to write a report.  They need to propose a business plan.  Or, more simply, turn in an essay for a class. But I think what gets me is that something needs to be said for the fact that so many outlets require written text.  Why?  It’s more than the fact that “it works.”  Or because we need a business plan that we can follow.  Why do we care?

And no.  I’ll never know the answer to any of these questions.

Yet, for some reason, I will continue to write.  And so will you.

One thought to “Why Write?”

  1. I was chuckling throughout the majority of your post, because I feel the same way about many of these introspective questions that we have spent endless time on. While frustrating at times, I learned that these difficult questions have completely different effects on each individual student. For me, thinking too deeply about any one of these considerations leads to me staring off into space, essentially inhibiting any productive thoughts or efforts. It seems you may feel similarly.

    For others, this reflection must be beneficial, and allow them to grow as writers. That’s awesome, and I wish that the same could be said for me. But, I think this is the perfect example of why teaching is one of the most difficult professions. How does one tailor a lesson plan to 20, 50 even 200 unique individuals who all posses different skill sets and think in different manners? This is exemplified when all students in our class read a required text, and subsequently come up with 20 different interpretations to it.

    While specifically reflecting on my writing process may seem to be the most beneficial process for me personally, this method of self examination most definitely is. I have become much more systematic in my thinking, analyzing why I complete specific steps (in all aspects of life) in a specific manner. Hopefully my increased cognizance in this area will continue to benefit me, and you in all future endeavors.

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