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, teachers 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.