There are different reasons why people write. For some of us it is therapeutic, for others it is just for the pure love of shaping words and making them flow onto a page like a poem. For others it is about getting a message across or creating a magical place that only the imagination can conjure. The beauty about writing, like any art, is that there really is no right or wrong. We all do it for various reasons and the reasons vary like blades of grass in a field. I believe though that there is strength in looking deep inside for the real reason why we want to write. Knowing why we want to write can make our stories more powerful and can buoy us back up when they get rejected.
There are also reasons of why we think we must write which might be different than why we must write. The reasons why we think we must write are always logical and are ideas brought up by the mind. The must write ideas are usually illogical ones that just sometimes come to the surface like a newborn spring burbling up to the earth. That is the story that you shouldn’t stop yourself from writing because it is coming from some unconscious part of yourself. The story might not even make sense at first, and it might not even come out as a story, it might come out as a poem, a drawing, an idea but the important part is to get it down on paper.
In writing down what is born of our hearts not only helps with what might become a novel, but, essentially jotting down these little bouts of inspiration might help us notice a pattern. In this pattern may lay the real reason of why we write—which might be different than why we thought.
When I started my MFA at Antioch Los Angeles two semesters ago I thought I knew why I wanted to write. I thought I wrote decent poetry and had a couple of ideas for some novels and I wanted to become a better writer. Little did I know the real reason why I wanted to write, what moved me, what made me feel passionate enough to rewrite and rewrite the same novel again until I was satisfied with at least a good part of it. What it means to toil in front of the computer for weeks and not see your friends and family. All because you need to finish a certain section and have fallen in love with your characters.
Thanks to writing down what comes to my fingers from my heart instead of my head I noticed what drives me to write. What drives me is the need to tell dying stories. History has a tendency to tell the victor’s side at first and it’s not until the oppressed have the courage to begin to recount their experiences that history starts to rewrite itself. These are powerful stories that deserve to be heard and recorded. And for that I am willing to stay up countless hours. Whether these narrations come from inside of me or by keeping an ear out for a good story that otherwise might have gone unperceived because it was too insignificant to be noticed in the first place.