A few weeks ago, my creative writing professor Kristen Gentry asked my class why we write. Professor Gentry gave her reasons and noted other great writers who have asked this same question. She explained that each writer should have their own personal motivations about why they write. Now, more than ever, I agree with Professor Gentry about the importance of writers in our uncertain world.
Why do I write? That question swirled around in my mind as I adjusted to remote learning in the basement of my house on Long Island. Everyone is struggling to come to terms with this new normal—or at least the normal for the unforeseeable future.
That is what writers do. They come to terms with the norms, and they communicate these ideas to others. In a class this semester, I had to define communication. After a lot of thought and reading, I defined communication as a collaborative process between people to create and share ideas to make sense of ourselves and the world around us.
Writing is a major form of communication, and I feel like it’s the most vital form because of its permanence. Sure, speech can be filmed, but writing was the first major form of spreading information. When words are written, they are left up to interpretation as opposed to hearing infliction or seeing facial expressions. These extras that talking offers must be done through word choice, punctuation, sentence structure, and the ideas that the writer has chosen to write.
Unless you’re an avid writer or reader, many people don’t tend to understand just how difficult writing is. What’s even more heartbreaking is when people don’t understand the importance of writers of any genre or medium. As a journalist and a creative writer, both are equally as valuable to me, and I learned I want to share my words with the world.
People especially don’t understand the significance of journalism. Journalists tend to get a lot of hate, but who else would report the news? An ordinary person can share anything they want, but a journalist has the training. Writing is a journalist’s profession, and they must have the integrity to share their best, honest and most accurate work.
A journalist is supposed to help shape the world around us. People have become less trusting of the media, but when there is pressure for newspapers and magazines to be the first and the best, it’s no wonder why some journalists feel they have to sacrifice their integrity. However, not every journalist is like that.
As a journalist, I know I don’t want to sacrifice my writing, and I know that the world needs people who are willing to provide the truth through correct and researched facts. The world needs journalists—especially during this pandemic—to inform and entertain.
Creative writers are just as necessary to inform and entertain just like journalists. How many books have you read while stuck inside? How many movies have you watched? TV shows? All of these started with an idea, and then a writer made this idea into something amazing that editors or producers could take and share with people. Yet, the choice to share an idea was all up to the writer.
I started writing because of how much I loved to read. Anyone who knows me or has read previous works I’ve written knows just how much reading means to me. Author Steven King once said, “books are uniquely portable magic.” It takes a lot of effort and hard work to have any idea come remotely close to being magical. Yet, writers still do it for themselves and for others.
How could writing possibly help in these tough times? Well, you’ve most likely read enough to understand just how much an inspiring article or a fantastic book can matter. You’re reading this right now. Obviously, writing means something to you.
I encourage you all to write, even if it’s just for yourselves. You don’t have to share anything you don’t want to. All it can be is a sweet catharsis. Crack open a blank document on your computer. Pick up a pen and an empty notebook. Get any of the crazy words, thoughts or feelings that have been plaguing you like I know they’ve been troubling me down in some form.
So, why do I write? Well, it depends on the medium, but overall, I write for myself. When I feel like something that I have written is important, I share my ideas with others. I write to express myself. To provide information. Give people an escape. Be creative. Have fun. Release my emotions. Provide entertainment. Expose the truth. Connect with people. Understand ideas.
I write to give hope that no matter what the world is going through, we can get through this together.