The Need to Write

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(c) Irina Dzhul

Sometimes I wonder, aren’t there enough writers out there? Aren’t there more stories, articles, blog posts, and books than we can ever read in ten lifetimes? Don’t we have all those great works handed down to us by our gramps and a great deal of enjoyable new books to fill our reading time? What’s the point of trying to write anything new? What’s the point of typing our hours away if it’s not for work or for school or at least for pay? Just to amuse ourselves? Just to nurture our vanity? Just to call ourselves writers?

We write not because we want to become authors or poets or journalists or bloggers or to convince ourselves that we are, but we write because we cannot help it. I think this is true for most of us. Writing simply flows out of us, out of our thoughts, feelings, memories. It may be a refuge, an escape, it may be a way for us to explain, describe, and understand our inner and outer worlds. It may be a burning need, a pressing need, an almost physical sensation, or more of a whimsy thing, more or less felt, something we discover and understand only after we sit down to write. Either way, it tries to get out.

The thought that I write not because I want to but because I have to comforts me. Knowing this, I can allow myself the freedom to write whatever I want and not worry that it is not good enough or not sellable or that people wouldn’t want to share it. It makes writing feel more than an occupation, more like a habit, a necessity even. It does, I think, take off the pressure we may feel whenever we face the blank page, especially after having read a book that we wish we had written ourselves.

If we look at our writing not as something that may sell or not sell, be read or not be read, but rather as a reflection of ourselves, a way to understand, to heal, and to dare to dream, we will enjoy whatever we write even more, and our writing will, most of the time at least, more easily flow.

Do you often feel that you have to write? That if you don’t do it, you will feel odd, or perhaps even inexpressibly unhappy?

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25 thoughts on “The Need to Write

  1. I feel like that. I also think that, “aren’t there enough writers out there?”. In the grand scheme of things, though, I like to think that there aren’t enough! The world is changing so much, and so fast, that even though writing and books can never be outdated, it is good to have writing that represents the millions of thought waves of our time. We relish the writing of past centuries, and I think future centuries will relish the writing of our centuries, or the most compelling writing that manages to stand out and be sustainable as time wears ever on. So everybody who writes must write, in order for the writing to seep into the future generations! Hope that train of thought made sense! 🙂

  2. There will never be too many writers out there. I posted a blog titled “words.” It doesn’t matter how many people out there write, whether for their own pleasure or someone elses’…whether for money or the hope of fame…”the same words are used over and over again, but with each individual author, a different story is told.” Writing can be therapy…it can be informational…it can be a legacy. No, there aren’t too many writers out there….there aren’t enough. There are stories left to tell.

  3. I don’t like to write and I don’t need to write. I do like to edit and polish, and I like to have written. I need to have written. Your last paragraph puts a good perspective on things. Good thoughts, there.

  4. So true. I’ve had the same thoughts many times, and have come to a similar conclusion: I write therefore I am OR I am therefore I write.

  5. Sometime I even feel write is like a burden, that I have to do it no matter what. But this is just so true, you write because you want to be happy. That is why you write.

  6. I related so much to this article. Though writing sometimes stresses me out, I can’t imagine my life without writing. Writing holds so much cathartic value for me. So much so that when I feel sad or stressed out, just sitting down and writing my feelings does so much to make my day a little better. Besides that, I just feel better about myself when I set aside to do a little writing no matter what it is.

  7. I understand the whole thing. I write when I simply cannot contain these feelings that I have inside me. And surprisingly, when I do write, there are some words that come out that perfectly describe what I feel at the moment. It is therapeutic as well as mind-boggling. Maybe because i have all these emotions that are waiting to be freed and yet when I allow them to, I feel sad and lonely all at the same time.

  8. One more wonderful post from you! I love the way you write and I love to read your thoughts. For me is writing a way to break out oof the daily stuff and a chance to order my feelings about the things passing in my life…
    Yes, sometimes, wen everything is going to get too much, I have to write, my hole body tells me, my finger won`t stay calm …

  9. Thanks for sharing about the urge to write. It’s good to hear there are other writers out there who share my attraction to pen, paper and keyboards.

    Sometimes I actually feel like life would be easier if I didn’t “have” to write. I could dedicate the time I spend writing to other things, be content in professions where creativity isn’t needed, impact the world in a very cut-and-dry quantifiable way… But without writing my life would have been a very different one so I guess all-and-all I’m grateful for the gift of this blessed addiction.

  10. This post is so on point. From the time I can remember I have written in a journal. Most of the time with no intention of anyone else ever reading it.
    It is my therapy, the way I process life.
    Thank you for your insight.

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