Why do I want to write?


I have been meeting up with a friend a couple times a month for writing practice. Nothing too structured, we just pick a prompt and try to keep pencil moving across paper for fifteen minutes at a shot. One of our recent prompts was “why do you want to write”. After, it felt relevant to this space so I decided to share my stream of consciousness response, lightly edited.

Why do I want to write? Because I want to order my thoughts, because I want to connect with the world around me, because I want to capture the fleeting ideas so I can come back to them, so that I can know my former selves.

Writing is a medium for the left brain. Any idea that can be captured in written word is necessarily limited in dimension, contained, bounded, tamed. I am both drawn to this and frustrated by it. I want to live more in my right brain; I want to understand the world more in a holistic, expansive, interconnected sense that is beyond words. But how can I share that? How can I reach out to kindred souls from the formless ether?

The written word may be inadequate and limited, but it is accessible. Writing as a process is tangible evidence that I am right here, capturing this moment, this idea, this life. I want to write because I want to live well and words are a mirror.

Words are just a tool, but they are the tool that calls to me, that feels natural. So really, it’s not that I want to write as much as I want to capture what it is to live and the way that I can do that is by writing. Why writing? Because it feels safe but also because it allows space for the reader and the words to create something new in another mind.

I want someone to read my words and to feel profoundly still, the kind of momentary full-stop that vibrates truth in one’s bones. Words bridge great distance and penetrate thick walls. Words are there when the time is right. I resist the idea of permanence and yet I’m drawn to the idea of creating something that can stand on its own, apart from me, and exist in the world because I put the words out there together.