Why do we write?

1 Sep


For millions of Americans, writing has become an impassioned pursuit. We fill diaries, compose memoirs, trade stories with our friends. We attend classes and workshops, dreaming of literary fame. Why are we so enamored with our words? Is it for pleasure, or recognition, or something more? The answer, psychologists conclude, is simple: we write because we have to write- because it keeps us grounded and sane. Writing is powerful because it expands our ability to communicate with others. “But more important,” says Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a professor of social psychology and author ofย Creativity, “the written word allows us to understand better what is happening within ourselves.”-from The Spirit of Writing: Classic and Contemporary Essays Celebrating The Writing Life.


8 Responses to “Why do we write?”

  1. Jennifer Stuart September 1, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

    That rings true for me- we write because we have to write. I have always written. I have not always thought of the audience as I do now. It’s a rather beautiful process to watch a writing life unfold, I think. All the little details of it. Really nice. Thanks for reminding me of that ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Triyoga Adi Perdana September 2, 2012 at 2:35 am #

    I agree with you. Cool ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. Hot Rod Cowgirl September 2, 2012 at 3:49 am #

    You nailed it….I have written a million zillion words in my lifetime and I still have more words to come….writing is a way to explore your thoughts…questions…and it helps to get it out of your head and heart on to paper so you can breathe deeper and better…when it is locked up inside it makes you sick…when I counseled people I often assigned them to write vomit letters…not to mail or send but to get out what they needed to say about their hurt or their pain…get it OUT:) Get out the emotions and the pain that control you and your life.

    For me writing is the current song in my heart or is the emotion of my soul at the moment or a thought in my brain…maybe it is a deep hurt or maybe better yet it is a huge happy dance celebration. Our words and writing are about life…our life…our thoughts…perceptions and our questions…it is about who we are. It is about our history ๐Ÿ™‚

    • ameliaclaire92 September 2, 2012 at 9:09 am #

      So true. I’ve written my share of vomit letters. They have really helped me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. The Good Villager September 2, 2012 at 5:28 am #

    Nicely said.
    Just to add… I have my inner voice, which can say things that sound great inside. There is my outer voice, which produces things said cannot be taken back if they don’t sound so great out loud. Then there is writing, the space in between, where I can vet ideas, revisit them in a preserved form, and then decide whether the world gets a taste.

    • ameliaclaire92 September 2, 2012 at 9:09 am #

      Such a good point. Thanks for sharing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. mcwoman September 2, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    Great topic! Writing is like breathing for a lot of us. Just can’t stop doing it!

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