Why Do I Write?

By Donna Brown, TCTELA Middle Level Section Chair

Why do I write?

The simple question that has made me stop and think.  What is the why?  I write not because of a “why.”  I learned that I write for a need that must be filled. Without writing in my day, I would feel empty, confused, and wandering without purpose. 

One day, while pondering this question, I tried a little experiment by not writing at all. I could not write electronically or with any writing utensil.   I could not respond to texts, make lists, write down information I was learning or information I needed to produce.  I could not make a record of anything I learned, I thought, or  I created.  I assumed the day would pass with all of the items I needed to accomplish at home.  There were a few errands to run so there would not be a tremendous amount of writing required for that day.  I could return phone calls instead of texting.  No problem.  It was not like I was at work where writing was needed. 

Little did I realize how much writing impacted my life.  A couple of friends texted me, and I called them back with one ending the phone call saying “just text me tomorrow.”  As the day progressed, we went on a hunt for new flooring options.  That was ridiculous.  I could not remember prices, materials, qualities, or dimensions.  My husband became so frustrated that he began recording information.  To make sure I did not write, I left all the paper and pens at home.  There was not a single thing in my purse to record information.  I did feel lighter but served no purpose. I started taking pictures of details until I realized that technically that was a record of my thinking.   At one point I almost resulted in getting out a tube of my favorite lipstick to capture information.  By mid-afternoon, the experiment was over.  I had not gone 8 hours without being able to write.  I bought a pen and a small journal to finish the day.

I always envisioned myself the kind of writer that would have books filling the shelves of homes across the world. I would be a writer that would inspire others with my words.  I would be like my favorite writers, Maeve Binchy or Isabel Allende, with best sellers that would be translated into multiple languages.  I would be the writer where my stories would transport the reader to a land where present time did not matter. 

Now, today, I am the writer that supports me.  I am the writer that finds peace and calm in her world by putting words down on paper.  I am the writer that teaches others to write.  I am the writer that confers with teachers and students on how to use writing to make a difference in their world.  I am the writer that sees her students succeeding in multiple arenas of high education and the workforce.  I am the writer that writes daily just like breathing.