Feeding the Wolfe Within: Why Do I Write?

OK, so I’ve already talked about how I started writing and what sort of writing I’ve done in the past. Now, looking back on those topics, I realize there’s one more subject that went only partially mentioned and which I feel deserves a post of its own: the question of why I write in the first place. So just for fun, I’m going to complete my introduction with a brief summary outlining the main reasons I choose to pursue creative writing. In truth, this could probably be considered a generic list for art in any form, so if you’re an artist, maybe you’ll have fun identifying with some (or even all) of the items mentioned below. And if you aren’t, I hope you’ll still have fun catching a glimpse into the mind of someone who is.

So without further ado, here are the reasons I love to write:

1) Writing makes me happy.

This is easily the simplest and most important reason I can come up with to explain why I write. In fact, I don’t even need another reason; every other item on this list connects back to this one. I enjoy writing. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t do it. Doesn’t get much simpler than that, right?

2) It’s a great way to express myself.

Here’s a fun fact about me: I’m extremely shy. Back in school, I could barely bring myself to make eye contact with people, let alone talk to them. I’ve gotten much better at socializing since then, but shyness has still been my main defense mechanism for as long as I can remember; to protect myself from judgment, I avoid conversation with people whenever I can help it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like to be heard. Writing is my preferred means of communication for various reasons: I don’t have to speak directly to anyone; I have time to organize my ideas before sharing them with others; and I usually don’t have to deal with live conversation when receiving feedback, something I absolutely dread. I feel safe when I write, and that gives me more freedom to be myself.

3) It’s my artistic release.

This one is really more of an extension of the previous item. The only real difference is that as a form of expression, writing is an outlet on a more intellectual level, while as an artistic release, it liberates a deeper energy in me that can’t quite be defined in words (at least as far as I’ve ever been able to tell). It’s the kind of energy that I imagine drives anyone who can call themselves an artist. We create not just because we want to, but almost because we have to, because something deep inside us tells us we should. We can’t rest until our hunger to create is quelled, and even when it is, it doesn’t take long for it to return, sometimes even stronger than before. Or maybe that’s just me.

4) It’s something I can do on my own.

I’m an introvert, which means I draw my energy from the time I take for myself. This makes writing a perfect hobby for me, as it relies heavily on the ideas born from the time I spend alone with my thoughts. Not to mention, one of my favorite solo activities is daydreaming; at least as a writer, I can pass the habit off as a productive pastime, as opposed to just a waste of time.

5) It’s a means of escape from reality.

While the first item on this list may be the most important reason I write, this one is by far the most fun. Let’s face it: to us fiction writers, the world is much more interesting inside our heads. Not that my life is depressing or uninteresting in any way; I just think it’s nice to take regular breaks from the minutia of the real world and let imagination take the wheel for a while. I’ve always felt this way, ever since I was a kid; that’s why I spent so much of my childhood reading books. They transported me to faraway lands full of magic and mystery, and the best part was that I never even had to leave the comfort of my room. The advantage of taking up fiction writing is that this time, I’m in control of the stories and the places they take me. I have free rein to go wherever I want whenever I want, and to me, that’s one of the most liberating feelings in the world.

6) It’s a way to inspire people.

Here’s where I finally start to deviate a little from the more selfish aspects of writing. We all want to leave our mark in this world, be it big or small (though I’m sure most would prefer the former). So how do we do that? Simple: we reach out to people. As a social species, the entire premise of our existence is based on interaction with others of our kind. One could even go as far as to say that this is a fundamental part of the meaning of life (if one subscribes to such a notion, of course). Think about it: without having made a difference in any other person’s life, can we really say that we ever truly existed? This is my motivation for writing: if my words can make a significant difference in just one person’s life, I will have succeeded in leaving my mark. I will have truly existed.

What about you? Are you a writer or an artist of any kind? Why do you enjoy your art? How many of the items on this list apply to you? Can you think of any more you would add to your own list?

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