I’ve often wondered why I write. Why is that the thing that draws me? For some it’s singing or dancing or becoming a character in a story. For others, it’s numbers or architecture or chemistry.
The poet Sarah Kay gave a Ted Talk in which she talked about how sh writes poetry because that is the way she works things out; if she has a question or an issue, she writes a poem. That made me curious, especially after my blog post about not knowing how to ask risky questions, if there there a way I like to work out the answers in my life.
Jedediah Jenkins said that he loves the feeling of “seeing a passage in which the author has articulated something I know to be true but have never seen in words” and he writes because he wants others to have that feeling.
I’m very much an external processor, although I only recently recognized this. I process ideas very well by talking with people. However, if I’m processing emotions, I like to be left alone. For a long time, I thought that meant I was an introvert and/or and internal processor.
So I attempted to keep it all inside of myself, I tried to sort through my thoughts. But I got lost in my head so quickly. I got distracted or simply overwhelmed by the incongruity of my thoughts that I would just give up.
But that doesn’t happen when I write things out. When I put things down on paper, I am able to make sense of them. I can ask my journal things that I could never bring up in conversation and I can use a pen to work out my feelings until they seem able to fit back into my soul.
I think that’s why writing is simultaneously so terrifying and thrilling for me. It’s because when you see a piece of my writing, you see parts of myself that I wouldn’t show you in real life. You get to see my questions and my answers. Even if it’s been edited and made more coherent (unlike the messes that I’m writing at 11pm several nights in a row), you are still seeing my raw edges.
To know myself like that and to share that experiemce with someone else… That is why I love writing.