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Tell Us: Why Do You Write?
Written by
Kamy Wicoff
October 2011
Written by
Kamy Wicoff
October 2011

Today is The National Day On Writing.  No, really, it is.  It was officially declared to be so by the Congress, so you know it's for real, and it's sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English.  To mark the day, they have posed a question to the world, or at least the world of writers (that would be our world): Why Do You Write?

I love this question, and I love the answers it brings.  We had a wonderful six-word memoir contest (inspired by the six-word memoir project at Smith Magazine) on this very subject, and I invite you all to answer it in a new form on She Writes today: tell us why you write in 140 characters or less.  That way you can get in on the action (if you are a Twitter user) by tweeting your answer as well and marking it with the hashtag #whyiwrite.  Our friends at the YA site are participating, as is the The New York Times Learning Network and many others, so we will all be in very good company.

My answer?

Writing is my leap of faith in the face of impermanence and loss, my hope that it is possible to ease pain by speaking truth. #whyiwrite 

(Amen, Rahna.)

What's yours?

Let's be friends

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  • noreen sheikh

    i write because it gives me happiness, then even i write and when i don't even know that i can't write

  • P.Allen Jones

    I write to educate (OUR VOICE) and inspire (PONDER FAITH)

  • Joseph M. Rinaldo

    I write because the voices in my head tell me to! :)

  • Anjum Wasim Dar

    I write because I am blessed with this gift by Nature.I belong to a Kashmiri family who has well known published writers-like Khalid Hasan, Masood Hasan,Suraya Khurshid,Nazneen Sheikh (Canada)Khalifa Abdul Hakim and my Dear Grandfather Maulvi Mohammed Hasan a prominent educationist and a poet.I write because my Dear Mother encouraged me to write a diary, to record events and our travels in the Northern Areas of Pakistan, I write because my Honorable Teachers guided me towards the love of Language and Literature and taught me about many famous writers in the world-I was deeply inspired and wanted to be like them.I want to represent my country in the international community of writers, in a way to return what my country has given me.I believe writers can make this world a better place , a happy place and a peaceful place. I believe writers solve problems and help many in need.I hope as a writer I will contribute to the betterment of society.

  • Monica Stoner

    For those who say they write because they have to, I've been thinking that I write for the same reason my dogs (Salukis) run.  Because they can do nothing else.  It has to do with their incredible lightness of being Saluki.  When I write, I'm not an advanced age, advanced weight person. I am the universe and the universe is me.

  • Robin Hawke

    To avoid compromising.

  • Carol Hogan

    It took me a lot of years of writing to realize that I was a writer. I mean, did you ever work at one kind of job that didn't involve writing, only to find a way to turn it into a writing job? I did that over and over again. And when I finally realized –– at the tender age of 40 –– that I was a writer, I felt like a salmon that didn't mind swimming upstream because now I had a purpose. Now I could write about the silly high school job passing out Christmas fruitcake, and turn it into a story. John Steinbeck –– my  hero –– said it best "I nearly always write just as I nearly always breathe."

  • G.G. Vandagriff

    I write because I can't not write.  I grew up in a severely dysfunctional home and got into the habit of creating virtual realities. I thought everyone did.  When I don't write, my brain turns against me.  Now that my children are all happily raised, I am consumed by my writing. I agree that it is a leap of faith, because I never know what tender part of my psyche will emerge, and whether what I say will resound with anyone else's psyche.  I am rather an iconoclast--a fervent Christian, but a writer who believes any path, if followed honestly, will find eternal truths to comfort and sustain us.  My blog today ( about the difficulty I had writing my epic historical about Vienna from 1913-1938.  It took me forty years to be blessed with an understanding of the kind of suffering the Viennese endured.  It came as a result of a period of intense suffering in my own life, and my triumph over it.  I'm glad to see the sun again.

  • Cristina Trapani-Scott

    So, I've tried other things. I've even tried writing hard news, but I can't do anything besides write and teach writing. I tried working in an office environment. I tried being a journalist. I am not comfortable with either. I am a story teller, a poet, a novelist, a teacher and a mom. I don't want to be doing anything else. I have realized recently that I really needed to leave my full-time job and build the life I want, which revolves around writing fiction, poetry and essays. I supposed I could keep going on and on about it.

  • Anita Murphy

    I write for many reasons. Some I cannot describe other than to say it is an outpouring of what I carry inside. If it does not find its way to paper then my mind takes it and stores it somewhere until the next story comes along and so on and so on. I wonder where in my mind it has gathered for over the  years I have tucked a lot somewhere. There are times when at that particular moment when everything seems to escape me that a thought or a memory suddenly takes me to where I need to be.

  • Kim Steutermann Rogers

    It's sort of like scuba diving for me--going deep, entering new worlds. I wrote about National Day on Writing here: If you add your reason for why you write in 140 characters or less to my blog comments, you may win a FREE Hula Pie from Duke's Canoe Club restaurant. Do you know what hula pie is? The decadent dessert? It's fabulous. If you don't, and want to learn more, read this:

  • Cecelia Fairclough

    I write because I think. These thoughts will be lost or forgotten if I do not write them down. That sounds as if I believe them to be of some value, and for the first time I realize that this is true. The provocative question has generated an understanding that Is new to me: Presently, my words are valuable only to me. It is my hope that eventually, they will be published, and valued by others.

  • Writing enables me to express my truth rather than accept the truth others would create for me.

  • Judith Chibante Neal

    Have to.

  • Melody Fuller

    I write to live.

  • Monica Stoner

    I write to give readers those hours of escape which I experience when I read.  And I write because, honestly, I can't not write.  Funny, this was the subject of my OCC blog this month:

  • Aisha Isabel Ashraf

    When I write time disappears and there aren't enough hours in the day. Some people drink to lose themselves like this. I write to find myself - to be more ME.

  • mamawolfe

    Words allow my unspoken and uncertain thoughts to come to life without having to use my quiet voice, and gives me time to think before I speak.

  • Lanita Andrews

    Why I write, the condensed version:


    With macro-lens precision, it captures
    The heart’s beat-pump-flow
    Of blood to a living body,
    But also, the heart’s fall…
    Within a living soul.


    The full version here

  • Marcy Howes

    I write because the thoughts and words flow much easier from the keyboard and the pen than from the mouth. I write because written words last longer than words spoken.

  • Cindy Brown

    I write because I figured out this summer how to get paid for it and what is better than getting paid to do something you love?

  • Tawdra Kandle

    I write so the voices in my head give me some peace. Seriously. My characters demand to be created.

  • Anni Webster

    Writing grounds me through evoking everyday experiences, yet allows me to soar through imagined possibilities. It gives me roots as well as wings

  • Anne F Swensen

    I write for hope.  That the portraits of moments in the journey of one, will be recognizable to others in their own journey and, that this will create the soulful bond that disempowersthe aloneness of life.  I write to smile. 

  • Marilyn Bousquin

    I write because when I was 13 and anorexic my father sat on the edge of my bed and cried a single tear. That tear woke me up. I write to continue awakening.