Raison d’écrire.

It’s National Writing Day. Sometimes you’ll get a weird look from people when you tell them you “write.” For what newspaper or well-known blog? they might say. Occasionally they may catch on that you’re a well-to-do author, but even if you are, they don’t catch onto why anyone would write for writing’s sake. Writing, after all, is awful! You have to write essays, e-mails, business letters. But you could also be writing short stories, poems, blog posts, plays, letters to friends, or, as more people ought to do, just journals. Here are my reasons for writing:

  • It’s good for your career. If you’re a professional writer (blogger, journalist, screenwriter), of course you should write, write, write for fun because it’ll make you better. If you’re in a field that requires a lot of writing (research, teaching, memos, reports), you may not be able to survive without solid writing. And if you’re in a more technical field, you’ll more than often need to express your results, especially to the less technical among us.
  • It’s good for your health. Physically, probably not best to sit around for even more time than you already do. But writing is good for you intellectually and emotionally. Being able to express yourself, especially in a journal, helps clear up emotions and thoughts.
  • You can express yourself. In a lot of contexts, let’s face it: no one cares how you think or feel. At school you are meant to take your exam or write your specified paper. At work, if you work for someone else, you are meant to do the job you were assigned, to do as your organization wants. Chores and bills need to be done and paid–no amount of complaining or profound thoughts will change the facts. With writing, say whatever you want–and need–to say.
  • You can write about issues you care about. That’s a big reason for this blog’s existence.
  • It’s low tech. All you need is computer and word processor, or just a text editor, or just go classic pen and paper. No wi-fi? Good–fewer distractions for writing.
  • Freedom. You can write whatever story (just don’t plagiarize), whatever poem, about whatever happened today, and so on. There are no constraints. No one can tell you what to say.
  • Creativity. It allows you to ask the question, What if I did this? In every form. It wasn’t specified to write your story like that. Or to structure your poem like that. Or even to write your journal entry like that.
  • It’s fun. There’s no feeling like having the words flow onto the page. The way people describe a good writing session sounds like they were high.

That’s right, people. Get high.



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