Recently, I was talking to a friend with whom I connected after a long gap of 28 years. Or tête-à-tête led on to some light-hearted banter which then led to some serious discussions on life and the purpose of our lives. After meandering over the subject for some time, she asked me point blank, “Why do you write?” I replied that it is an inner drive in me that makes me write.
In fact, her question made me seriously think about it. Upon reflection, I recalled how every time I tell someone I’m writing, the first question they ask me is, “Are you a published author?” I guess the first thought that comes to mind for most people is – if you don’t publish books, you don’t exist! I wish people would understand that there are many reasons for folks who write to express their thoughts. Yes, recognition would definitely be great, but that’s not what I am keen on!
I write because every now and then there are thoughts and feelings within me that wish to be released into written words. Every time I procrastinate or fail to respond to the call (which, unfortunately, does happen quite a few times!), those thoughts and feelings dissipate into thin air and a part of me dies! The fact that my friend isn’t a writer also says something about some of the people who never seem to understand the reasons behind why people write.
As the above infographic shows, the physical act of writing does have a significant impact on how information is brought to the forefront, enhancing our ability to focus more effectively! A lot of the time, I also write to help focus and recall events from memory because writing encourages a good recall especially through methods such as story-telling.
We all go through experiences that teach us some difficult life lessons. As a writer, this pushes us beyond the barriers of everyday existence into a world of possibilities. The path may not always be smooth and predictable, but there are new horizons to explore always, which add to more adventure in life, away from the staid and the ordinary. Writing provides one with a multi-coloured lens that helps to present the myriad hues of the human condition to the reader. Each moment of anticipation is full of excitement about what could happen in the next. Personally, as a writer, the process is not about the destination, but about the journey! And, if by chance, this process leads me on to my destination, I’d be more than happy. But, it is the everyday grind, the discipline and the persistence that speaks more to my heart.
Some days, my thoughts lead me to wonder—Why do I spend so much time dreaming up words and ideas that I hope might influence/inspire people? What’s the point?
None of us can deny that it is a very heady feeling to realise the power of one’s words. The fact that the pen can yield a mighty power to actually influence minds on a particular issue is a no-brainer. For thousands of centuries, writers have ushered in the winds of change in people’s minds and forced society to question mores and values, thoughts and ideologies—which could be seen as reason enough for them to be accountable for their contribution in a wider sense.
When I think of my reasons to write, the first thought is that of an impulse, a force that wants to bring about small changes in the way we view things, even if the change were to be a minute one. Simply put, it would mean I would have achieved something. As someone rightly said, “At times, it feels like riding a roller coaster; other times, it’s like riding a donkey.” I couldn’t agree any less.
Writing pushes me to grow and discover more about myself. I couldn’t live any other way. When I hear from my readers that my writing has earned their appreciation, it fuels me on to write more. Whilst I can say that in my initial years, I keenly sought validation from my readers, now, six years down the line, I write without having to worry about that. My voice is what matters to me. If it resonates with another soul, all the better. That would be a bonus!
Now, looking back on how I continued to write through the multiple setbacks of life, all I can say is—Writing gave me hope when I had none. It showed me light when I was in the dark. It quelled my fears and nudged me to pick up the pieces when I was shattered and broken all over. And, in doing so, if I’ve been able to help a soul or make even one life a little easy or helped someone to find their way on a dark night, I’d have achieved my goal.
I think the ultimate objective would be if someone someday came up to me and said, “What you wrote changed the course of my life.” To me that alone would be worth more than anything else in the world.
Writing comes as a result of a very strong impulse, and when it does come, I for one must get it out. -C.S. Lewis
Linking this post with WriteTribe’s #Write My Heart Out.