Why Write?

I think everyone should write. Even if you think you “can’t.” It’s like dancing-one of those basic human exercises that everyone has a right to do without being laughed at. Sure, some people do it better than others. Some people you see on the dance floor, and you think, “Whoa, they can really move.” Me you look at on the dance floor, and you think, “Ooh, that’s pathetic.”

But I don’t care. I’m having fun.

There are roughly one billion and three reasons to write. But the first is, a blank piece of paper is a very good friend. It accepts anything you have to say, and it doesn’t care if you go on and on and on about how much your mom pissed you off, or that humiliating moment in the bathroom, or why won’t Peter in algebra notice you, for God’s sake?

That piece of paper will never laugh at you. It will never tell you you’re just sad and get over it already. It knows sometimes you just have to get this stuff off your chest. And it won’t spread your business all over school. (Only keep it in a safe place.)

Second reason to write is: YOU HAVE THE POWER! When you’re writing a story, you get to say who’s the hero, who’s the villain, and who’s a big, fat loser. You decide who wins, who loses, who falls in love with who, and what happens after that. I’ve been doing this since I was seven, and it’s still the most fun you can have for free.

When I was a kid, this movie came out that I loved. I saw it a million times, and waited with baited breath for the sequel.

Guess what? The sequel sucked.

So I wrote a different one. I took all these characters that I loved and had them do what I thought they should do, and I had a complete blast.

Reason Three: your writing is yours and yours alone. Remember that old, annoying phrase, “You have to share”? Not this you don’t. It belongs to you. These are your thoughts, your feelings, your loopy, silly stuff. No one can take it away from you and you don’t need anyone’s permission to do it.

But that brings me to Reason Four. You don’t have to share, unless you want to‹but people might like what you write. It’s a great feeling, knowing you wrote something that makes someone say, “Yes! I went through that, too! I didn’t know anyone else felt that way.” Or that makes someone laugh a little at something they thought was so painful they’d never get over it. People love stories. They’re always looking for new ones.

And people are endlessly fascinating. We do so many crazy things, there’ll never be enough stories to tell them all. Which means there are still a lot of stories to tell.

So what are you waiting for?

2 thoughts on “Why Write?

  1. Ariel White says:

    As a child, did this motivate you to be an author? What did you want to be when you grew up as a kid? How did you prepare for your future?

    • Hi, Ariel,

      As a kid, I wanted to be a writer because I really liked making up stories and I felt it was what I did best. Also, my father was a writer (of history) so I knew it was something you could do as a career. I did go through a short stint of wanting to be a lawyer, a boxer—what was I thinking?—or an actress. But I soon found out there were parts of those jobs I didn’t like, whereas I liked just about everything about writing. I wrote a lot as a kid, wrote for the school newspaper, which got me used to people seeing and reacting to my work. I did take some writing “courses” but those were mostly useful for forcing me to take my work seriously. Other writers I know have been much more disciplined about going to the right schools or making connections. I mostly focused on the work. But it seems to have worked okay for me!

      Thanks so much for writing!


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