I started reading Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott yesterday and it got me thinking about why I write.
She mentions a few other authors answering that question with “Because I want to” and “Because I’m good at at”. I write a lot so I guess I want to. And I’ve been told I’m good at it (albeit, mostly by my mother). But those answers don’t quite grasp why I write.
After thinking about it, I realized that I write simply because I like it.
It’s true that sometimes my writing confidence falters and I doubt myself. Sometimes I feel like I’m not very full of stories at all. But I am. They’re just not all brimming at the surface. It’s just the matter of whether I want to do the hard, time-consuming work of digging down to them or just hang out and wait for them to float to the top.
Mostly I have fun writing. I enjoy writing different formats at different times, in different places, about different things. I like writing novels and blog-posts and journal entries and lists and short stories and sometimes even poetry. I enjoy writing deep things. And I enjoy writing silly things that pretty much amount to nothing at all. I usually don’t worry very much about it being very good, at least not a first — I just trust my voice.
I would like to make money from my writing — by being published, for example — but it’s not why I write. So I realized it doesn’t fit for me to sit on my stories, hoarding them because they may not be copyrighted and I feel like I won’t get my just due for them unless/until I get them properly published. Like, “This is my work, I should be paid for it!” Because really I feel like, “This is my writing, I want people to read it!”
I write because I have stories to tell, stories to share. So write and share I will. Because I want to. Because I’m good at it. Because I like it.