When my friend Carol asked me to contribute to this blog, I was flattered, but did I have the time or energy for another writing project? I already have a completed novel I’m trying to sell, a second novel I’m drafting, and my own blog. (Oh, right, and a three month old son, and a job.) But the thought of collaborating appealed to me, and as I spoke to the three other smart broads, I began asking myself questions like why do I write at all? Why do I write non-fiction? What are my essays about? These writers snared me with their insight, wisdom, and wit. (As I hope we’ll snare you.)
So why do I write? I remember on a retreat in high school, when it was my turn to speak, the group leader said, “Tell us a story, Julie.” Her words meant so much to me, though I didn’t quite know why at the time. Now I think it’s because she acknowledged my calling, my gift. I am a storyteller. Reading and telling stories is how I make sense of the world. Though I neglected my need to write for many years, it always haunted me. When I began to make time in my life for writing, to really work at the novel I’d always dreamed of completing, I found more joy and satisfaction than I had known in a long time. So I kept writing.
Okay, fine, the novel was always my dream, but why write and (gasp) publish essays about my real life? Well, I began a blog four years ago as a way of chronicling the novel-writing journey. Over time, it became a way to analyze whatever was happening in my life. Through writing, I look for lessons and share them. I work through challenges, I celebrate accomplishments, I remember what matters. Maybe readers learn from my mistakes, see some truth or insight. I hope my work entertains, inspires, and encourages.
At the writing conference where I first met Carol, a poet said that we have an obligation to put our work into the world. When I’m feeling doubt about my work, its importance or relevance or value, I think of that obligation. Who knows why any of us has been given the gifts or desires we have? I have a persistent need to write and to share it with others, so I do. In the end, it’s just that simple.
Are you a golfer, surfer, singer, painter? Why?