A self reflection on why writers write

While shopping for Christmas gifts this weekend I stumbled across a gift for myself:
642 Things To Write About by The San Francisco Writers’ Grotto

Its simple yellow notepad looking cover and the word “write” immediately jumped at me through the shelves of endless books at the store, its title vaguely familiar in the back of my head. I picked it up and without immediately turning to the back to read a synopsis that would give me a description of the seemingly obvious book, I went straight to the source, opening it up to a random page. It looked just like a test from one of my high school classes: a two to three sentence command with a dozen or so corresponding empty lines hungry for my response.

“Write two descriptions of yourself for an online dating service. First, be the kind of guy/girl who’d be taken home to meet the mother. Then, try a hot, sexy version.”

Your reaction is probably similar to what mine was. That was if you felt like it really read “Tell me the square root of 59 divided by 11 multiplied by 7934 plus 6 minus 98 divided by 486.” I’m a journalism student, there’s a reason I said goodbye to math at the very first chance I had in grade 11. Basically, I felt very much out of my comfort zone. Like, why are you asking me to do such a thing, I would never join an online dating site.

I immediately bought the book, and two more to serve as Christmas presents for some very talented writers who I feel would really appreciate something like this. Unlike my sister who was like “ew why are you buying that? That’s so stupid, what a waste of money!” Clearly, it’s a “writers thing”.

Anyways, while the book is such a great concept and I truly cannot wait to dive into it and “write a short story that is set in Detroit in 1956 in which a car floor mat plays a crucial role” it really got me thinking deeper.

You see, before I had my name published in print, interned at local magazines, interviewed celebrities and wrote articles and features about varying topics, before I even knew I wanted to be a writer and study journalism, I…wrote.
As a young child with way too much time on my hands, I found joy in writing. Starting from when I was around 9-years-old I wrote short fiction stories, diary entries, original songs, poems, and even created my own mini magazines.

I didn’t do it for an assignment, a portfolio piece, a paycheck or to see my name published in print, I did it because of pure pleasure and enjoyment. I think for a long time I forgot that that is exactly what being a writer is about. I’ve been so caught up with school and work and internships and focusing on the future. Whatever I’ve written during the past few years, ever since I made it a goal to apply and get into journalism school in grade 11, has been written with a purpose. An intent to get published, to get paid, to get my name printed and on a masthead and ultimately to get a job in the future.

Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy attending events and interviewing people in order to tell their stories to readers. But I really think writing is about being in the present and not worrying about the future. It’s about enjoying the feeling of putting your thoughts to paper, giving life to new worlds and characters, and creating something fresh and new.

Creative writing hasn’t just been a hobby of mine since I was 11-years-old, but a passion and all it took was this book 642 Things To Write About to remind me. With it’s “witty, outrageous, and thought-provoking writing prompts” I hope to rediscover my long lost love for writing and look forward to recounting “the time I peed my pants”.

This is not a sponsored post but thanks 642 Things To Write About and the San Fransisco Writers’ Grotto for creating such a beauty. I highly recommend it for any writers out there! I would also love to hear the reasons why you fellow bloggers/readers/writers out there write and what inspires you to do so in the comments below.