Why did you start writing?

Why did you start writing? Why do you keep writing? Was it ever a choice, or was writing always a driving force? Question courtesy of Madeleine.

Ooh, I know this one. Because my parents wanted me to leave them alone for just one minute.

When I was little, I had a ton of books. I had the Spot books, the Berenstain Bears, Dr. Seuss, and Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Reading (the best children’s book series ever). Come to think of it, when it came to books, I was SO spoiled. Some of my favorite memories include sitting in one of my parents’ lap and reading to me. I would lay my head down on my mom or dad’s chest, and I would listen. I would hear them breathing and listen to their heart beat as they transported me into another world. But then, the story would end, and I would ask them, “What happened after that?” Living happily ever after just wasn’t good enough; I was absolutely relentless in my bid for more.

My parents were very patient with me, but one day, after another series of constant questions, my mom asked me, “Well, what do you think?”

I couldn’t have been more than three, and I was flabbergasted, not mention adorable. “What?!” Silly Mommy must have lost her mind. She had no idea what she was talking about. “Noooooo… I don’t know what happens.”

“Use your imagination. You can make it up, and then, you can tell me what happens.”

“Noooooo…” I said. “I can’t do that.”

I couldn’t write yet, so my mom in all her wisdom told me. “Yes, you can. Go draw me a picture and then tell me all about it.”

Oh how the heavens did part! I was a storyteller.

If writing was ever a choice, I don’t remember making it. I feel like it’s always been in me. There is not peace within my soul if I cannot write. I’ve done other things creatively to express myself like drawing, photography, and painting. I’ve even been told that maybe I should focus on one of them instead, but nothing has ever come close to giving me that feeling. I don’t get images of photos that I want to take or pictures that I have to draw or paint. I have worlds that I want to create and people that I want to know. And there’s nothing quite like having all of these thoughts and ideas just emptying them onto the page.

I keep writing because I’m addicted to that feeling. I get withdrawals without it. I’m antsy. I’m anxious. My mind races and not in a good way. I have to write. 

 How about you? Why did you start writing? Was it ever a choice? Tell me about it in the comments below! 

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7 thoughts on “Why did you start writing?

  1. I started with a stupid 200 word story as a teenager to amuse myself and a couple of friends. I got a few laughs, so I wrote a sequel. I got even more laughs, and pretty soon I had written an elaborate 12 part series with a core group of dedicated fans. Then, at 16, I began my magnum opus – a mammoth (or so it seemed at the time) 10,000 word story. But then I felt the pressure. What if they hated it? I’d invested too much effort for it to be torn down. I buckled, and never showed it to anyone. I stopped writing stories, moving on to songwriting. In time, my skin thickened and I eventually found myself dancing with words again.

    I think because storytelling has the potential to give back so much more than you put in is what makes it addictive. What you write is not just a story; it’s YOU. When someone loves it, you feel elated. When someone hates it, it’s a dagger in the heart. Stories are invariably about powerful feelings, for the characters, the reader and the writer.

    When you put your thoughts on a page, your mind is naked to the world, awaiting judgement. It’s both thrilling and terrifying, and we love it. Writers are psychologically fascinating creatures (that is to say, a little crazy)!

    • That’s great. I can just see you there with your friends gathered all around. My friend Madeleine is right; it’s fascinating hearing about what drove writers to start out.

  2. This is a great post! I think I’ve always been a storyteller, I just didn’t know that I could do it as well through words as I could through music. I never had the opportunity to find out until I was an adult, I suppose.

    • Thanks! You and I are opposites. I didn’t discover music until the second half of high school. I think musicians are amazing for doing what they do. It seems like it would be so much more difficult to not only get the lyrics just right but to also match them to music.

  3. I love your answer. Your mom was awesome. For me, writing was gradual, inevitable progression. I started out acting for most of my teens and early 20’s, but I always wrote privately – stories, lots of emo journalings. Slowly, I got tired of speaking other people’s words, and the impulse to write grew stronger. I started to take it more seriously. I stopped acting and poured all of myself into it. After 10+ years, I can’t not do it. Outside of my husband and daughter, it’s the most important part of my life.

    • Wow, I had no idea that you were an actress. I wish that I could have been there to see it. ^_^ And you were right, it’s really interesting to read everyone’s origin stories.

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