Why I write? The truth is, I don’t really “write”. Writing is, what I think, a passionate affair for the pros like Sullivan and Didion and Lamott; they write because they need to relieve their minds of a whole lot of a genius in their head. I don’t feel that way. I write because I am given a prompt, a due date, and a grade. I write because I don’t want to be put on academic probation. I write because I don’t want to ever retake English 125. It didn’t use to be that way. In elementary school I would write masterpieces about a girl named Katrinka and her seven sisters, about a boy named Oliver and his beloved dog. I used to love it to love it. Now I have to do it. Now, there is an ulterior motive. A driving force. A grade and a red pen in someone else’s doctorate hands. So when this assignment was given, I couldn’t think of a reason. I still can’t. Besides the obnoxious, obvious, snarky one. I write because I am told to.
That reason, and not one I can write 800 words about (note 800, not 1200), is not good enough. However, even though I write because I’m told, I enjoy it. I like writing papers focused on one paragraph of a book. I like writing employee work manuals at my place of summer employment. I like writing this blog post. Even though I write because others tell me too, there is more than a grade at stake when I turn in a paper. I want to talk to the Sweetland folk, tell my friends about my argument, and leave my paper casually on the counter when I am home from break for my mom to “find” and read. I want to go over it with a pen and play with the words, and structure, and thesis. Personal investment reaches beyond the A or B or hopefully not C. There is still no reason to why I wrote a paper comparing myself to a beluga whale besides my English 325 teacher telling me too. But I did like doing it. I picked a writing minor because I enjoy English classes far more than Organic Chemistry and because I would rather write a paper then take a test. So that’s something.
Writing because I am told and writing because I want the grade are very “in the now” thoughts. The immediacy of my answer, “I write because I’m told,” is not thinking about my future. My career as a physical therapist. Writing well is not so important in the realm of strengthening injured elderly. But that’s just it. I want my writing, my instructions for how to do heel raises, different than the scribbles of the therapist next to me. I want clear and concise instructions, well-written brochures, and grammatically correct promotional materials with catchy alliterations. I will write them because I have to to be successful in my business and for my clients, but I will also write them well because I care about writing. And maybe that’s why I write. Because I care about writing, about good writing, and want to be able to add my name to a hypothetical list of “people who write good emails.” I like the possibility of maybe being a “good” writer. I write because I want to say that I can.
*Note: suggestions would be much appreciated.