Why Write, Dammit?!

The Writing Hand

I’m not a very good writer, by which I don’t only mean it in regards to what I’ve written, but also and mostly to how I’ve written.

The act of writing pains me and I’ll pretty much do anything mostly legal I can to get myself out of it. I guess the best way to express how I feel about writing is: I don’t like having to write, but I truly love having had written.

But still, I don’t really know why I do feel the need to write except that there is some unidentified force and/or source beyond my reach and comprehension that obliges me to do so.

I suppose if I were to show the math it takes for the writing equation of me, the pleasure has a bit more value than does the pain when tallying the sum of it all.

You may recall the very public debate regarding the pleasure and pain of writing a few years ago between heavy hitting authors Philip Roth and Elizabeth Gilbert.

Roth was all doom and gloom about it; Gilbert all buttercups and rainbows.

I am definitely of the Roth camp.

So is The Happily Disgruntled Writer.

Anyway, not too long ago I asked the authors of WRITE EDIT WRITE, a private facebook group for writers and readers why they write and I’ve shared a few of their enlightening responses below. Please check them out and visit their websites to learn more about them and their worthy writing.

So then, how about you?

Why write, dammit?!

WEWers’ Responses:

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell: I write because that’s how I tried to figure out my world when I was four. It has served me well, and I share it in hopes of helping others who feel their world has rejected them find their place.


Shalini Singh: I write when I can’t stop myself from writing. Words fall on paper as poetry substituting tears in my eyes or screams in my heart. When I write prose its for putting my view on any subject I strongly believe or doubt. Writing heals my wounds and bleeds my scabs. Mostly writing is still not a conscious effort for me. It reads people and reaches me to get written or it writes me and reaches people to read!


Pam Schloesser-Canepa: I write because it has been a coping mechanism and kept my mind healthy all my life. Writing helps me escape and helps me imagine a better world.



16 thoughts on “Why Write, Dammit?!”

  1. Whether your writing is good or not isn´t really useful for you to say. I so often hear people say ‘oh, it is so well written’ about some book and mostly people don´t know what they are saying. Bestsellers are rarely great prose, and why should it matter so much? Poetry has to be good writing, but in fiction it is the story that count and the mind that convey the story.

    Your other point, the one about being impelled to write and the suffering it brings along (a product of feeling inadequate, I suppose), could be suggestion from your omniscient inner being to concentrate your shit.
    I know you guys who are glued to blog feel obliged to post every day. Now, ehem, hear my words of wisdom – if they´re within reach: good music needs silence.

    So to answer your question. Don’t! If you have to ask why, don’t do it. Or, correction, do it less. Distil your stuff. Respect the trees, respect the energy consumption. Your everyday writing is surely more costly to planetary warming that any old cow farting in the field.

  2. It’s an interesting question that depends a lot on what I’m writing and what else is going on in my life. Right now, for instance, I feel pressure/desire to write but know it won’t be very good because I’ve got errands to run. Writing is often very rewarding, but you have to push through initial blocks or obstacles. In that sense, I think it shares a lot with other crafts. Not easy, but fulfilling.

  3. I take a lot of solace in Hemingway’s statement: ‘For a long time now I have tried to simply write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.’

    Indeed, sometimes I have those fleeting streaks of good luck. I write because it is the best of my faculties. In other words, I am not aware of anything I do better. Of course, the readers carry their own touchstones, and surely, there are much better writers out there. I love the sensation of attaining a fulfilment after wrapping up a piece of writing. Many times though it gives me hell too, when I am not satisfied with my output.

  4. i have discovered that i write as a meditation & as an exorcism. it feels better to get it out of me. i grew up in an abusive household. i started writing to stay alive, to stay sane…ish.

  5. The blogger Elusive Trope once remarked that sometimes an idea for a post feels like a bowling ball rolling around in his head until he finally writes it up. I sometimes have that feeling. There is also the matter of control. I have way too little control over what happens to me or my loved ones or my nation’s dwindling capacity for liberal democracy. But I can still choose words.

  6. I write because it’s very convenient therapy,

    It’s interesting…I’ll sit down thinking I’m going to write about a thing….and I end up taking that mental left turn at Albequerque. But when I’m done, I find that I’ve expressed something that needed to come out. And it often surprises me.


Say it like you mean it

Discover more from KURT BRINDLEY

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading