Why We Write?


          I could become the next writing sensation. I could die in obscurity and, in two hundred years, someone will discover that, like van Gogh and William Blake, my artistic voice was ahead of its time. Or — and reality tells me this is the most likely option — I’ll just die, my voice unheard, my books unread, except by a few like-minded souls.

If I accept that the ultimate result of all the effort I put into my writing is out of my hands, can I now sit down and write easily, fired up by faith?”

                                                             – Judy Croome, Author of Dancing in the Shadows of love

In 2010, But Seriously… Why Do You Write worked for me.

But lately, i have been feeling stuck and sad. Even so, i have (by some miracle) managed to continue writing. But unlike last year (when i won two short story contests and attended two grand creative writing workshops), nothing spectacular has happened in my writing career this year. Well, I know that i have the blog award and a few stories accepted and published here and there, but…

And to think that i have never worked so hard on my writing as i have this year.

Am i expecting too much? Perhaps. But on the bright side, all my insecurities have pushed me to work harder. Sometimes, i am surprised that i am still writing. daily, i am faced with the realization that writing is more than just a catharsis; it  has grown to become my life’s purpose. and i cannot now begin to imagine a life without lots of books and writing pads and biros. In fact, when depression hits me, i find myself wandering from secondhand bookstore to bookstore, from book fare to book auction,  searching for books to buy. Why this is, i do not know? But i have found books to be my most exciting companions.

Anyway, i sought advise from established writers. I said, “since, i cannot afford to pay tuition to study for an MFA, will a diploma with the writers bureau be fine?”

And I got various responses. A Nigerian, award-winning writer  said, “Sure, if they (the tutors,, that is) are good.”
A US-based creative writing lecturer said, “It depends on what you want.”

And my dear friend Judy Croome took the time to write a beautiful, treatise on her blog. You can find the letter to a young Nigerian writer HERE. I recommend this letter to all budding writers.

I also did a lot of research and reading. I learned so much from some other posts on depression. See  Depression in Writers by Nicola Stretton and Why Am I Still Writing?

So why are you still writing? Please share your experiences on the comments page. Longer essays can be made guest’s posts. Email me on chioma.iwunze@gmail.com.

Thank you.

8 thoughts on “Why We Write?

  • Nov 12, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    I can identify with what you say about your insecurities pushing you to work harder. That has often been my experience. There's some mystery at the heart of why we write. All I know is – if I didn't continue to write, I would lose most of my identity. Writing defines me, and I need to keep writing – daily – to be able to think of myself as a writer. I've written my way through trauma and subsequent depression, and holding on to my identity as a writer has been a source of strength and healing. I've written rapturously through the good times too. I can't not write.

  • Nov 13, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Insightful! Great food for thought there, Jayne. Hearing this from you is comforting because you're one writer i have always admired.
    Thanks for stopping by.

  • Nov 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    why do i write?

    Frankly…as i think about it…as i write this comment … i can't really place a finger on it.

    Maybe because i love it.
    Maybe because it makes me feel different from others.
    Maybe because it is noble.

    Just may be …

    But depression?

    No,that's not why I write.

    I guess it depends on what you write about.

    For me …i just love to to put pen to paper …fingers to keyboard.

    I love to put out my opinions out there,whether cool or wack.

    I just love to write.

  • Nov 18, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Hmmm. Why do I write? That is an interesting question. I guess I write because I am making up stories in my head, all the time, anyway, so I might as well put some on paper. I guess that means I write to entertain myself, but on the other hand, I enjoy it more when I can entertain someone else. There's a rush at the idea that someone else has embraced the character/world you've created, almost as if your child has gone into the world and become a doctor. It's the knowledge that you have affected their thoughts, embedded your idea in their head, and perhaps changed their life even if it's in the tiniest way. It's almost a form of immortality. 🙂

  • Nov 19, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Well put, Jayne, and thought provoking. Something I struggle with is to see myself as a"real writer" and that's illogical, because I know I'm born to be a writer, because when I don't write the pain is worse than the daily struggle to write.

  • Nov 19, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Joeleene, Plato said (in The Symposium, I think) that (hu)mankind seeks immortality in two ways… through children of the body (babies!) and through children of the mind (ideas), so yes, writing is a way of seeking immortality, a pretty seductive thought! No wonder we push ourselves to write! 🙂

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