Why Write? (Penny Rader)

Our topic this month is Why We Write.

Most of us on this blog write romance in one form or another, whether it’s novels or novellas or short stories.  But there are so many other kinds of writing, too: journaling, prayers, memoirs, how-to’s, poems, haiku, essays, blogging, tweeting, cartoons, comics, letters (though, sadly, so few write actual letters these days), greeting cards, etc .  Amazing how many ways there are to communicate with ourselves and one another, isn't it?

I came across this snippet of Mary Oliver’s poem the other day and it seemed perfect for today’s post:

Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

Everyone has something within themselves they can express by writing it down, whether it’s to jot down something for later use or to discover their authentic self or to share themselves with those who will follow later.

I write for many reasons:
  • to figure out what I’m thinking
  • to reduce/calm the noise in my head
  • to be read
  • to see my book(s) on the bookshelf of stores
  • to amuse myself and others
  • to be remembered

If you’re looking for a bit of help with finding something to write about, maybe you’ll find one or more of these books as helpful and inspiring as I have.

Courage & Craft: Writing Your Life into Story by Barbara Abercrombie

Escaping into the Open: The of Writing True by Elizabeth Berg

The Writer’s Portable Therapist: 25 Sessions to a Creativity Cure by Rachel Ballon

Anybody Can Write: A Playful Approach: Ideas for the Aspiring, the Beginning, the Blocked Writer by Roberta Jean Bryant

The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life by Julia Cameron

Pen on Fire: A Busy Woman’s Guide to Igniting the Writer Within by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett

Room to Write: Daily Invitations to a Writer’s Life by Bonni Goldberg

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

Pencil Dancing: New Ways to Free our Creative Spirit by Mari Messer

A Writer’s Book of Days: A Spirited Companion & Lively Muse for the Writing Life by Judy Reeves  

***Want to jump off onto a bunny trail and play for a minute or five?

My copy of A Writer's Book of Days is dated 1999.  The prompt for today is “This is not about…”  Yesterday’s prompt was “Something seemed different.

Ready? (Have you picked one?) Set?  (Have a pencil or keyboard handy)?   Go!  If you’re willing, please share in the Comments.

Panning for Gold in the Kitchen Sink: Everyday Creative Writing by Michael C Smith & Suzanne Greenberg

If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit by Brenda Euland


So, why do you write?  Or, why don’t you write?


Maddy said...

I write every day [except the weekends] because it's the best and cheapest form of therapy I've ever found.

To date I don't need prompts, but more time, that's what's short around here.

Joanie said...

I've always been a writer--long before I got paid for my words. I think it's the best way to work through anything in life--good times or bad--and see the big picture. I don't always journal like I used to, because I spend so much time on contract writing each day, but I appreciate opportunities to go back and read what I said years ago. One thing I've particularly noticed, now that I keyboard-write everything, is that my handwriting was SOOOOO much better decades ago. Now my signature still looks the same, but everything else is just slightly above chicken-scratch. I love the Mary Oliver poem, too, and use it once a month each year as my desktop wallpaper. Another I really like, and can relate to is a quote that runs something like "I don't know exactly what I'm thinking about something until I write about it." I don't remember who said it--I first heard it when I was driving around listening to NPR and someone on the show quoted the words. I do remember it was originally said by some famous writer, and that after I felt gobsmacked by realizing that is exactly what I do a lot of times, I felt equally gobsmacked that this big-time writer did the same thing I did--just wish I could remember who he was (oh, yeah, the writer was a guy, too).

Good topic! Thanks!

Rox Delaney said...

Joanie, is this it?

"I don’t know what I think about certain subjects, even today, until I sit down and try to write about them."
Don DeLillo

Sophia Ryan said...

I would never go to bed without brushing my teeth, washing my face, kissing my man, or writing at least a few words on my WIP. It makes me feel good to write my characters into being. And like Maddy said, it's great therapy for working out issues.

--She Likes It Irish
--In The Bad Boy's Bed

Joanie said...

That's close, Rox, and thanks so much for posting DeLillo's quote. I actually went on a "quote safari" after writing my earlier post and found it right away, but it was attributed to Joan Didion instead of a man, like I remembered hearing the Morning Edition reporter stating. But as soon as I saw her name I realized the Morning Edition reporter had credited the quote to John Gregory Dunne--her husband. So, that made me realize the gender switch when I found the quote. It is: “I don't know what I think until I write it down.”

You are so nice to have sent the DeLillo quote. Thanks again!

Rox Delaney said...

Joanie, you did a better job than I did. I'll have to use both of them as reminders that I don't have to know everything to put words on paper. :) Thanks for sharing!

Penny Rader said...

Hi Maddy. Here's hoping you get more time to write. I envy writers who can sit at the keyboard (or pen & paper) and just spill words all over the screen/page.

Penny Rader said...

Hi Joanie!

What a great idea for your desktop wallpaper. Do you have specific ones you use each month?

I've gradually (very gradually!) gotten (sp?)a bit more comfortable with keyboard writing, but I much prefer pen and paper for first drafts.

Penny Rader said...

Hi Rox!

Penny Rader said...

Sophia, I got such a kick out of makes me feel good to write my characters into being . Such a cool thought. And I truly love your bed time routine. :D

Penny Rader said...

A quote safari -- ooh, sounds like fun.

Sharon N said...

Hi Penny:
I love watching my characters come alive. I need to write. I feel complete with the world. Thank you for your blog. You always give wonderful information. Sharon.

Penny Rader said...

Hi Sharon! So good to "see" you. And thank you kindly for your lovely words.

Reese Mobley said...

As always, great links. You provide such wonderful inspiration and motivation to the rest of us. Thanks!