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January 29, 2016

Why I Write

January 29, 2016

I've always loved writing, and yet I sometimes need to force myself to do it. Why is that?

Once I am in it, I can get lost in the words. Even when they don't come readily and I feel a bit of creative despair, I feel better, stronger for having gone through the process. There is a dance there that goes along with the act of creation. It may not be a cake walk to write – it can be quite painstaking work. Hard, but very rewarding.

Cake walk illustration

Since we started offering the Think Kit challenge in 2011, it has pushed me to have my most productive writing sprints. While it's a pace I couldn't keep up year round, it always reminds me about the power of goals and a little discipline. With some structure and motivation, I can create much more than I think I can.

I can't even say exactly why I started writing. My mom loves to remind me that I used to read stories out loud, long after I was supposed to be asleep, acting out the characters as I read. I suppose it was one of those things that felt natural to go from being obsessed with stories, to making and telling my own.

Maybe it started because I like to play with words – to repurpose and remix them, or make them up all together. I'm drawn to how powerful it can be to string words together in just the right way. A sentence can be something quite plain and still it can move, sway. It can be rhythmic. Slow. Cold. Words can conjure up emotions, beliefs, understanding.

As I get older, writing has served another purpose: helping me reflect and remember.

Every year, life seems to fly by faster than the year before. This process of stopping to reflect on what has recently transpired slows things down, just for a bit. Things I never fully processed or sorted in the moment get their proper due. 

Not only is the world flying by fast, but it seems to be gaining mass as it whizzes round. It's hard to parse out just the important stuff to commit to memory amidst the info overload that comes with existing in the age of the internet. To respond to so many prompts and come up with 31 new stories to tell, one needs to dig deep. During Think Kit, I always take a few dives back through my photo stream, unearthing moments I'd almost forgotten. This process has helped me revisit and cement moments, big and small. 

(Don't poke fun, what I'm about to say sounds so cliche, but...)

I write because I must. I've gone stretches bone-dry. No word play or sentence-making. I can carry on, but there's something missing. It's like walking around with that thing on the tip of your tongue, absent and calling, Come back and find me.


This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox

Prompt: "Why do you write? What have you learned by facing the page? Did anything surprise you about your reflections this past month?"

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