Why Write?

Why am I writing? Why do I like writing? Why don’t I like writing?

I have a contentious relationship with writing.

When I was a child, I could not wait to get home from school, hurry to do my homework, so I can turn on my stereo and write the short stories that I had imagined all day at school. I would get addicted to writing a character or a story. Somewhere in a storage facility in Los Angeles, there’s a box full scribbled upon yellow notepad paper that weave stories young women and girls that have to contend with all sorts of evil, sort of like fairy tales but darker. It was truly a passion.

I wrote from middle school to my early graduate school career. And I was good at it. I majored in Anthropology and enjoyed it, but my most thrilling classes were two creative writing courses. I didn’t pressure myself to get an “A.” I pressured myself to be better: to read the assigned stories thoroughly, develop the insightful, critical eye that I thought I lacked, and to become a better writer. The first time my story was workshopped, I felt validated and affirmed*.

For the duration of college I was working on an “epic” of sorts. It was pretty substantial and had a history by the time I graduated Stanford. By the time I graduated UCLA, I had developed a fun urban romance that first started as a joke among friends and grew to be a fan favorite among friends.

Unfortunately, the motivation to write creatively faded a I progressed through my doctoral program. I had to write ALL THE TIME for courses and research. I was busier than ever before, juggling living on my own on a measly stipend for the first time. I was also developing my right-brain and quantitative skills to keep up with the rigor of my doctoral work. Essentially, I’ve impaired the left-side of my brain over the past six years — the part that made me the most happy!

For the duration of my doctoral program, I felt as if something was intrinsically wrong with my writing. I had difficulty learning to write in the conventional academic style, which is concerned with being as objective and dry as possible. This difficulty was compounded with intense pressure to quickly adopt this style while receiving very little face-to-face guidance on how to do so through my own work. My process of learning academic writing essentially hammered out the passion to write freely and creatively. I wrote some things every now and then, but I hardly finished.

Now, I want to fix that: write something, finish it, and share! I’ve realized how important it is to me that writing be communal and if I want to realistically keep it up, I have to write with direction.

I’ve written short stories and novella-like pieces. But I also developed this useful skill-set of collecting large amounts of information and data and synthesizing and relating multiple ideas to tell a convincing story. I’d like to use these two styles to comment on social science, personal, and culture topics that are relevant and interesting to me.

Thank you for reading.

*After class the teacher invited me for coffee to talk about writing further. I sensed he was hitting on me and I was barely twenty-years old and not very adapt at handling grown me. I think he sensed how weird it was so he sort of he redacted his invitation and let me off the hook for this awkward sexually tense coffee meeting.