Why Do We Write
It’s surely a different answer for each individual, but what brings us back to the keyboard over and over again.
The first thing you do when your mind is blank and when you've initiated the mission that is “write something” is forced inspiration. Look at your homepage… *scroll scroll* hmm that was a cool idea… wish I'd had it. You can right away tell who couldn’t wait to get home and record an experience, and those who are just trying to churn out — something.
Why people do write isn’t necessarily all that interesting a story to tell, why we do write is fascinating though, and this should resonate well with you.
Something I recall Stephen Colbert saying to Ricky Gervais is that his belief in God derives from overwhelming gratitude for life, and the need to channel that gratitude. The religious amongst you may well recognise this compulsion. I believe writing is the close cousin of this behaviour.
We write because we’re overwhelmed by an experience and we see immorality in flagrantly letting the moment pass. Yes, we also have a very innate instinct to pass on information, it’s these personality traits that helped our species thrive. That doesn't however explain the need to tell a funny story, despite the fact that it’s painful to tell it the 8th or 9th time. But what do you do? You are consistent with the enthusiasm and the delivery because you are thinking about the consumer. They haven't heard the story yet, and you want the tale to light them up in the same way you did with the others. The humour section of this platform is full of people who had a good laugh at a thought or experience and then decided they shouldn't be selfish. There is that same gratitude for experiences that some thank God for.
Why do we write about History? The Witness Marks are scarce and yet we dig and we dig to find out all that we can about the people before us. Well, History is fascinating, we look back at humanities stupid endeavours but also the greatest conquests of our species, and they just tend to make the very best stories. However, History is important for quite grim reasons, it’s because what we’re really learning about is Human History. People that are cut from the same cloth as us but it’s the black and white which seems to exaggerate the jump in time.
History tells us what human beings are capable of, the peak of our potential and the very worst of our nature, and it is vital that we learn. Remind us of where humanity stumbled and forgot to be good, and make people feel stupid when they’re going down the same route. We write off ancient proverbs because we think time ages wisdom, but in reality, it’s more like the old spy analogy. Proverbs that stand the test of time did so because people were grateful for its teachings, over and over, and they passed it on out of gratitude. A bit like The Beatles.
So we write to pass on joy and to teach. The last reason is ourselves, we write because we were complimented once and it surprised us, and someone telling us we have talent will always mean more than believing it ourselves, in even the case of the most extreme narcassist. So pass on that compliment. Most of them flying around started with someone who hadn’t been given one first but simply chose to do it. Like how 30 minutes of writing can change the day for thousands of people, and then the thousands more around them.
And that is why we write.