Why I (think) I write

Why do I write? Maybe it’s hard to say because I’m never really asked this question. Through out all of elementary school, middle school, high school, and even college, ┬áteachers don’t say “hey kid, why do you write?” Instead it’s more like “okay, you’ll be turning in your 5 paragraph essay at the end of the week…” And so although I’ve written at least a hundred essays and responded to countless prompts, including a couple prompts about my experiences with writing, I’ve never really answered the question why.

I think for me “why I write” is really personal. While of course it’s true that I write for school and for assignments, I definitely think I also write for myself. George Orwell wrote in his “Why I Write” piece that one of the main reasons writers do what they do is because of egoism, which is basically a sense of self-importance and wanting others to see your writing. I feel like for me writing is almost the opposite of this public tactic for attention. I look at writing as something really private. Often when I write I’m expressing my own personal thoughts and experiences onto a page. Sometimes I write because I just want to get out my thoughts and clear my head. I use writing as an outlet and even as a way of figuring out what it is I’m actually thinking or feeling. But I don’t necessarily want other people to read these thoughts of mine– quite the opposite actually. I’m still kind of uncomfortable with showing my writing to others. Even just writing blog posts like this one makes me feel slightly uncomfortable and exposed.

I guess I write to organize and understand what’s going on in my own head. It can be like a stream-of-consciousness processes where I get out whatever I’m thinking (even if I’m not totally sure what that is), and then once I’m done I can look back at my writing and go over it. So I write for my own introspective purposes, which I guess is it’s own sort of egoism, since it’s still all about me me me.

I wish I had a better reason for doing it. I wish I was writing to try and save the world, or to relay vital information that could alter people’s lives. But for now, I’m just working on my own life.

Yona Isaacs

Hello :) I'm a BCN major (that's Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience...obnoxiously long name, I know) here at the University of Michigan, as well as an Applied Statistics minor-- and a Writing minor, of course! I'm involved in Psychology research and spend a lot of my "free" time doing that. I also recent-ish-ly started learning to play the ukulele, so that's cool. Oh, and I once smashed a huge whole in a wall with my butt. That was about 6 years ago, but I haven't done anything nearly as impressive since. Still hoping to follow it up with something great!

3 thoughts to “Why I (think) I write”

  1. I think the most interesting part of this blog is your interpretation of Orwell’s “sheer egoism” and your own personal vendettas for writing. I thought your argument that because your writing was mostly done to be created for your own private, personal benefit. I would dive further in, examining what Orwell really meant and if your private writings still carry an essence of sheer egoism.

    I would also try to expand the multimedia capacities of the blog- some pictures or hyperlinks to Orwell’s essay. That would make it a really cool experience. Looking forward to your essay!

  2. I really liked how you noted that for you, writing is a “stream-of-consciousness” process for you. I share similar thoughts on writing. In a way, writing really is one of the best therapies/self reflective processes available. I also really liked the way that you closed out your post. Not every piece of writing is going to be a best-selling epic novel or a world-changing report.

  3. Hi! This was a really good post and I think an awesome starting point to expand on how you really want to answer this question. The beginning was relatable and I liked that a lot as a reader of the same background (student). The next part when you discussed how writing is private for you is a great thing to talk about! I especially liked how you said at the end that even this was uncomfortable for you. It is really important to address that awkwardness and contradiction you feel, and maybe you can even talk about how you want to write in the future, do you think you’ll overcome that uncomfortableness? Or maybe keep things private and be anonymous?

    I think that it was great to also talk about egoism and there is a lot of room to keep talking about the introspective purposes of your writing. I look forward to seeing more!

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