I find it very difficult to articulate my personal motivations and passions. For example, I grew up loving sports and friends and the outdoors, but I never really knew why. I just did. And as I entered high school, and eventually college, my lack of words and concrete reasons behind my passions never seemed to clear up. Today, I know without a doubt that I want to be a doctor, and I know without a doubt that I appreciate the empowering nature of writing. But I still struggle to articulate why. These things simply feel natural, and I have never had a reason to question my seemingly inexplicable passions.
Reading the Why I Write essays of Orwell and Didion marked the beginning of my process towards introspectively understanding why I write. I felt disconnected from the Orwell piece from the very start, because, unlike Orwell, I have not known I was meant to be a writer since age 5. In fact, I didn’t know I was meant to be a writer when I entered the writing minor. But something seemed to constantly guide me back towards writing. I am not guided back to writing by a lack of interest or focus in other subjects, like Didion. But still, something seems internally natural about writing. I finally began to understand why I write midway through the Didion essay, all thanks to one 9 word phrase in her essay:
“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking.”
This may be the reason why I have never been able to articulate just why I write; I haven’t been able to offer concrete reasons as to why I write because I have never written about them–I have never found out what I was thinking. This, too, may be the reason why I have always lacked the ability to articulate my passion for becoming a doctor. This line stood out in Didion’s essay, and the more I write about it, the more I understand why. I write because I have to. I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking.
Furthermore, I have discovered a lot about myself as a writer this semester. These personal discoveries have been broad, and range from discovering what I define as writing to the very reason why I write. Most importantly, the regular blogging and reflective writing in this class has exposed one of my most prominent writing tendencies: I write first and think second. By this, I mean that I most often think of my arguments and ideas while I write, as opposed to before I begin the writing process. No matter how much I brainstorm, the direction of my writing cannot be predicted until I begin writing.
This tendency explains both how and why I write.