Not long ago, I shared this blog post with six excellent reasons to read. Here's the other side of the coin, but this time, instead of less than ten, I felt challenged to come up with 40. I'd seen a few other bloggers sharing 40 reasons why they like to write, but accidentally lost them. I was scrolling down my Bloglovin' feed, then went off to try the challenge, but when I got back, they'd already slipped off the screen into that secret world where old, unsaved documents go. I hadn't expected the disappearance to be quite so quick. It's a shame I can't refer back to the original posts, but since I'd written my reasons, I thought I'd share them anyway.
Since I was brainstorming really fast, I just jotted these down as they came to me. There may be a bit of overlap between points, but hopefully you'll allow a few subtle differences. Also, I haven't arranged this into any sort of theme. Over the years I've written fiction, articles, essays, blog posts, reviews and lists. This isn't intended to elevate any form of writing over the others, but just celebrate writing in general.
The photos I've shared are just to remind myself that I've always been doing this. If I had 10 cents for every piece of paper I've covered front and back, I'd be a millionaire.
Here are my first ten.
1) Words are such beautiful raw materials, I like the challenge to play around and create something expressive and attractive.
2) Reading the writing of others has always been a source of fun and comfort to me, so I appreciate the chance to pass it on.
3) If a sudden thought comes, I prefer to nail it to paper rather than let it escape.
4) It's an enjoyable challenge to try to get people feeling empathy, and even love, for somebody they disapproved of to start with.
5) Being able to put words in other people's mouths is fun. There's an element of passing the buck, and claiming that they are the views of the character or person quoted, and not necessarily my own.
6) Verbal communication isn't my strength, so I prefer to express my ideas in a way I feel confident and can take my time. Writing seems to tick the boxes.
7) It's nice to leave a record of how I felt and processed things at a particular time, so I can return to it afterwards and see what I learned.
8) It adds to the permanent records of what life was like during a particular time period. I know that museums and historical societies are fascinated by old diaries for good reason.
9) It may help other people laugh and be happy.
10) It's my way of reaching out and being social. We can influence people from our own computers or lounge chairs, without the need to travel if we don't have the means.
I was certain I could come up with another block of ten at least. The second lot flowed off the pen just as fast as the first. (That's me in my teens, writing in the diary I used to keep.)
11) The chance to offer my own perspective on issues I feel strongly about is too good to miss.
12) The chance to express the admiration and love I feel for other authors' characters is also too good to miss.
13) I love art, but since I'm no good with pencils, charcoal, brushes or clay, words are the only raw material I feel confident trying to use.
14) The editing, polishing and straightening side has its own appeal. It's good to be able to present something and say, 'I feel that's my best.'
15) It helps introduce me to other people from around the world who I wouldn't have discovered otherwise. I follow blogs from places as far away as New York and Ireland.
16) As corny as this may sound, it extends my friendship base to people in the fictional world too. When you spend a lot of time in the heads of made-up characters, it's natural to think of them as part of your own friendship base.
17) It gives me the chance to figure out what I really think, when I re-read what I've scribbled.
18) It gives me the chance to try to lift my own mood, if I'm feeling blue.
19) I enjoy opportunities to broaden my own vocabulary, and re-acquaint myself with words I've known but have slipped out of my mind. Consulting an online Thesaurus for alternative words is fun, especially when I see one and instantly decide, 'That's it!'
20) It allows me to try and be a comedian, in my own low-key way, when I feel like it.
That was the halfway mark, and I was feeling more confident that I might be able to make it. (That's me in my early twenties, working on some essay. I don't remember what it was, but just that it was 'highly important'!)
21) It allows me to flex my generosity muscles when I get the chance to rave about other books and make recommendations.
22) It makes me feel I'm leaving a positive footprint.
23) It's my way of being a photographer with words instead of visual images, and taking snapshots of specific moments in time.
24) It's one of the best ways for introverts to communicate and feel we're part of things, since it's actually been scientifically proven that we're better with written words than vocal ones.
25) Because I've had so much practice over the years, it's too deeply ingrained to just drop.
26) Taking notes helps me form connections and make sense of the world. Lots of conclusions I've drawn come straight from my own writing.
27) It helps me look over what I've observed, and see connections I'd otherwise have missed.
28) It allows me to jump out of my own head and take a spell in someone else's for awhile.
29) It gives my imagination an anchor, instead of just letting ideas drift out like smoke rings in the ether.
30) It helps me hone in and notice minute, micro details I might have otherwise overlooked.
I was at the homeward stretch. I knew I could do it now. One more block. (That's me just recently, writing out on the hammock on a warm day.)
31) In social situations, I sometimes find it difficult to get a word in. Blogging and writing is an alternative.
32) I like the domino effect. One person's words has bearing on someone else, which effects someone else, and so on. Being a cog in a wheel, doing my bit, is a nice idea.
33) When you're on a low budget, it's basically the cheapest hobby.
34) Using words, like building blocks, to put somebody else in the picture, is a heady feeling.
35) Enabling others to take 5, put their feet up and read what you've written may be doing them a favour. Especially if they like what they find.
36) Debating club days at school are long behind me. It's fun to be able to follow a well-expressed argument thread and even add my two cents worth.
37) If I don't have pens and blank paper at hand to jot things down, I just feel jittery and stifled.
38) The deeper psychological and social aspects of sharing stories, either fictional or true, interests me.
39) If you're not always quick-witted, you can take time to be witty, and give the illusion that you're quick witted. A page of quick dialogue may give the impression it's off-the-cuff, while it's really taken several separate moments to put together.
40) It's possible, in my bad mood moments, to cheer myself up with something I've written in my good mood moments.
So do you enjoy writing too? Dare I challenge you to think of 40 reasons of your own? I found this well worth the surprisingly quick time it took, and may even print this off as a tangible reminder to myself of why I keep going.