Back in Writing 220, I devoted the first part of my “Why I Write” essay specifically to why I don’t:
I don’t write to be creative. I don’t write to express my feelings. I don’t write to satisfy an urge to expose some hidden inner self for which there is no other outlet. And most especially, I certainly don’t write because I enjoy it—in fact, for me the physical act of writing is often more tedious and trying than exhilarating and enjoyable.
Fast forward to now, and I think this lamentation perhaps needs a bit of clarification. In a sense, I do write to be creative–if I didn’t I certainly wouldn’t have ever applied to the Minor in Writing Program. I do write to express my feelings–isn’t that exactly what an argumentative essay or opinion piece is? And, though writing has certainly not become any easier for me over the past year and a half, it’s not as if it can’t also be incredibly rewarding.
I guess for me the difference lies in the distinction between the ends and the means. If I say I don’t write to be creative, express feelings, or for enjoyment, it’s because I view these things not as the ends of writing, but the means. The way I look at it, the end of writing is something much deeper–to expose a truth that was previously hidden. I think this principle helps to explain the connection between my writing and my passions for statistics and Christianity. As I wrote in the essay:
For just as Christ’s divinity was cloaked by His humanity, so too in statistics is the significance of data hidden behind its numbers. It is the job of the statistician, by the practice of his field, to seek out this veiled truth, much as it is the job of the Christian, by the practice of his faith, to seek out the transcendent God.
So, ultimately, what excites me about writing is its ability to convey truth. The is the ultimate reason “Why I Write”. At the same time, who’s to say you can’t have a little bit of fun in the process?