The three letter word: Why?

I think most people don’t think about the answer to the question “why?” In my anthropology class, the GSI asked a girl why her favorite color is blue. She responded with it just is which would be a natural response for most people. But as she thought about it she had some answers. The answer to the question “why?” always takes some soul searching. We think that we know ourselves better than we know anyone else, so why is finding an answer to those types of questions so difficult?

The question of “why I write” is a hard one to explain because I had to do some hard thinking. Writing is something I do that is between like and dislike; I have my on and off days. Because of this it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why I chose to write. I have put down some reasons, but I wonder if my reasons for writing are “good enough” or if they are just empty cop outs. I think I need to elaborate more and be more honest with myself. This is what I want this piece of writing to be. Honest. I plan to sleep on it a little more and hopefully the answer will come to me. Also, it will be easier if I just write whatever is on my mind and maybe the answer or part of it will pour out eventually (like Annie Lamott says in “Shitty First Drafts.” There’s bound to be some decent material in there).

It is a good assignment because it allows me to look at myself and ask why I am doing this and what I like about writing. It is part of discovering myself and my motivations. It can be taken as a pretty personal question and I have the chance to explore the realms of my mind. I am looking back at my life and seeing different points where I have done writing and liked it and where I have hated it. It is hard to go that far back in time because who knows what I was thinking then?

Also, I am trying to figure out how I should write this essay because the organization seems messy. I am experimenting with writing my first rough draft as a “sketch draft.” It’s different from anything I have done before, so it doesn’t feel that natural. It is pieces of my paper and is getting my ideas flowing. Originally I was thinking about doing a long history of when writing sparked my interest, but now I am thinking about focusing on a specific moment when I discovered the reason why I write. I generally write in my vague terms and I want to be more detailed and take the reader to that specific moment in time, so they can experience it too. I hope this essay accomplishes that.

Hopefully when I finish the essay I will know my motives for writing and I hope to be able to grow from there. Knowing the answer to why is important because it gives you more motivation to do something and hopefully makes it easier. I know the answer to “why I write” is more complicated than “I just do.”

Melody Ng

Melody is currently a senior studying business.

One thought to “The three letter word: Why?”

  1. Melody,

    After having very similar struggles pinpointing the “why” question in my own writing, I can definitely see where you are coming from. Answering a “why” question requires a deep, soul-searching investigation, not simply a yes or no answer. And it is sometimes scary to look this deeply into your soul. Many times I avoid answering questions like this altogether because I am scared what I might discover within myself. But as you mentioned, this assignment allows much room for growth. Maybe this is the best way to start out our careers in the Writing Minor? After all, college is all about personal growth and exploration. I hope you were able to find what you were looking for and that inspiration eventually struck! Good luck with your future writing assignments!


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