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Why We Write: Four Reasons

This post was first published in July, 2012. 

It’s safe to say there are more writers now than at any other time in history. When I went to the AWP conference in Chicago earlier this year, there were 10,000 other writers there. The amount of creative writing programs at universities have exploded from about 50 in the 1980s to over 300 just in the US. There are over 110 million blogs.

why we write

Photo by Martyosha

Someone get a gun and shoot me. That’s a lot of competition.

Seriously though, why do we write? Why are all of us pursuing writing in the face of the increasingly limited attention spans of the broader public? It’s not like we’re making much money at it, if any.

4 Reasons Why We Write

I think we write for four main reasons:

Why Do We Write? To be fully alive.

Sir Ken Robinson says:

The arts especially address the idea of aesthetic experience. An aesthetic experience is one in which your senses are operating at their peak; when you’re present in the current moment; when you’re resonating with the excitement of this thing that you’re experiencing; when you are fully alive.

We write to be fully alive. Writing draws us into the moment. We see the blades of grass, hear the miniscule chirp of the morning cricket, watch the shade travel from one edge of the yard to the other, seemingly for the first time.

Writing helps us make art out of everyday, ordinary moments.

We write to make a name for ourselves.

George Orwell says one motivation to write is sheer egoism, that we write out of the “desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood, etc., etc.”

That’s part of it, but I think the motivation goes much deeper than being well-liked in the present moment.

If you’re being honest, you would agree that it would be nice to live forever. But if you can’t live forever physically, then why can’t your memory live forever? We’re still talking about Chaucer, Virginia Woolf, Mark Twain, and George Elliott long after their deaths. Why not you?

While this might not be the most unselfish of motivations, it’s certainly natural.

We write to change the world.

People consume now more than ever in the history of the world. We eat more, we listen to more music, and we consume more information. However, we’ve also learned enough about consumerism to know it won’t make us happy.

Writing gives us a chance to turn the tides on consumerism. Rather than consume more, we can make something.

Isn’t that exciting? Every day, when you put your fingers to the keys, you’re creating something. And then, with the click of button, you can share it with the world.

Humans have a built in need to make our mark on the world. We want to bring new things to life, to mold things into the image we have in our imaginations, to subdue the earth.

We write not just to change the world, but to create a new world.

We write to discover meaning.

The psychiatrist Victor Frankl posited that the main search of mankind is not happiness or pleasure but meaning. “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose,” he wrote in Man’s Search for Meaning.

Writers are uniquely gifted to find meaning for themselves and to help others find meaning. In fact, this has always been the main task of storytellers. Every story matters to the person living it, and our job is to tell the universal stories, the stories that reveal the story of every person on the earth.

We write to bring meaning to the world.

What do you think? Why do you write, and why are there so many people writing today?

PRACTICE

Today, spend some time free writing.

As you write, contemplate your motivations. Are they pure enough to keep you going despite everything?

Write for fifteen minutes. When you’re finished, post your practice in the comments section. And if you post be sure to comment on a few posts by other writers.

About Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is a writer and entrepreneur. He is the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Let's Write a Short Story! and the co-founder of Story Cartel. You can follow him on Twitter (@joebunting).

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  • http://unknownjim.com/ Jim Woods

    I write to help myself. I have to write or something very important is missing. I write to help others too. That’s it plain and simple. 

    It’s interesting to think that is a ton of competition, but I personally think that is a very large audience. We are in this together. Writers read. If you write something Joe, I’ll most likely read it.  

    • http://joebunting.com Joe Bunting

      Agreed, Jim.

      Thanks :) Although my next post is about how Jimi Hendrix is the most overrated guitarist ever. Shoot.

      • http://unknownjim.com/ Jim Woods

        rapidly clicking unsubscribe..and unfriending… ;) 

    • Marianne

      I like your thought of a large audience.  

      • Marianne

        You know thinking of the large audience and thinking of how many writers here I honestly enjoy.  Not only are most writers readers, most of us read more than we write.  Or at least I do.  I wonder if that’s true for most of us.  If I had written as much as I’ve read in my lifetime my hands would have fallen off long ago.  

        • http://joebunting.com Joe Bunting

          I agree with you. I think having more writers enter the fray is only a good thing for writers and writing.

      • Brian_8thdayfiction

        Agreed. It reminds me of when I used to work at an antiques store, in a small town on a main street lined with antique stores. The owner of the place where I worked always talked about how all the other stores being around was good for everyone more than it was competition. And they all kind of looked out for each other. Same thing with writers/readers.

    • Yvette Carol

      I’ll read what you write too Joe, unless you put something bad about J.K.Rowling in the title. I can’t stand writing snobs. I’m way too low-brow for that ;-)

      • http://joebunting.com Joe Bunting

        I just changed the title of my next post. Why Jimi Hendrix and JK Rowling Are For Musical and Literary Infants Respectively (But Not Respectfully).

        • Yvette Carol

          Cue the crickets and the silence!

          • http://joebunting.com Joe Bunting

            :)

        • http://www.wildhorsechase.com/ Missaralee

          Oh my goodness, too funny! It doesn’t work without the bit in brackets.

  • Malia

    I was just thinking to myself the other day…why do I write?  I sat and made a list of a zillion reasons why I do, but when it all boils down, these four categories are why. Although I dream to be published one day, for now, writing is my outlet and my best friend.  Beautiful post!

    • http://joebunting.com Joe Bunting

      Thanks, Malia. I’m glad I got them all :)

  • http://fivedayfiction.blogspot.com/ Robert

    It’s a good question and a hard one to answer simply. I think it’s good for the soul, to write. Like the number pi the soul goes on forever and I think we write because we want our words to go on forever in some way. Plus, for me, it soothes the soul and provides an outlet that keeps me alive and gives release to the voices in my head …

    • http://www.wildhorsechase.com/ Missaralee

      I like the idea that the soul goes on and on like pi! All the more reason to just keep letting the words flow out, because you can never run out!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Denise-Golinowski/1535448014 Denise Golinowski

    Hi Joe! Good post (as usual) and good question. Why do I write? Because I enjoy it. I enjoy creating new worlds, placing characters in them, and then seeing what happens. It’s pure entertainment for me and hopefully for my readers. If there is a deeper meaning to my writing, aside from my being a hopeful romantic, it’s subliminal. If that makes me shallow, then shallow I shall be. I read to be entertained and I write to do the same.

    • http://www.wildhorsechase.com/ Missaralee

      This is definitely a good recipe for a lifelong love affair with writing! I don’t think there is anything shallow about creating for the pure enjoyment of it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Denise-Golinowski/1535448014 Denise Golinowski

         Thank you, Misaralee. It took years for me to realize that writing for my own enjoyment wasn’t wrong and that trying to write in a manner unnatural to my own WAS wrong. Now, I work hard to put down the best effort I can and hope folks like reading it as much as I did writing it.

    • Marianne

      Hey that subliminal stuff will rise up out of the writing if you keep working.   I took a workshop once and submitted a story about two women with the same name who were very different.  I thought it was just a funny story with funny characters but I got remarks about theme and underlying meaning.  I think it did have some of that but I didn’t know it when I wrote it.  Of course maybe people were just being workshop students who felt they needed to say something that sounded good.  I hope not. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Denise-Golinowski/1535448014 Denise Golinowski

         True enough, Marianne. Theme is often unconscious and the writer may not discover it until after the piece is complete. I’m sure your fellow workshoppers were sincere. I’m just saying that I’m not a writer on a mission – except to entertain.

  • Margaret Perry

    There is a filmstrip in my head that will not stop running until I put it down on paper.
    I must write so I can view the next film in my head.

    • http://www.jblearnstowrite.com/ JB Lacaden

      DO IT! Then post it here. :)

  • http://twitter.com/NoraInPalestine Nora Lester Murad

    I write for the same reason that I bake: I want someone to take a taste and tell me it’s yummy and then I tell them that I substituted wheat bran for white flour and it’s actually very healthy.

    • http://joebunting.com Joe Bunting

      I LOVE that, Nora.

    • http://spiritualsidekick.com/ Tom Wideman

      Great analogy, Nora. My wife tries to pull that on me occasionally, but I’m on to her.

    • Brian_8thdayfiction

      Love that! Then, you should say to them “BOOM! You just got WHEAT BRAN’D.”

  • http://www.wildhorsechase.com/ Missaralee

    The electricity of words was thought to be expendable and a drain on the central power grid and so the ever logical lizard ordered rolling blackouts centered on that once thriving bohemian village. The residents were given rations in exchange for copy writing and editing work for the central brain corporation, delivering dead fish words to the external overlords who kept the roof over our head and the fridge stocked with hotdogs.
    The life I had thought extinguished became a refugee, deep where the sharp, sanitizing talons of despair and self-preservation could not liquidate it.
    But oh bliss, the grid is flooded with excess energy. The words sneak up and surprise my conscious mind with their freedom and the visceral strength of expression. Did I really write that? How could such guttural expression have come from me, the cube dwelling citizen of this plastic empire? I bring myself to tears with the release of emotions and truths I had buried deep in an unconscious place. The lamp of words lightens up my heart and draws out the poison and the passion that had buried itself there.
    And now I write for sheer joy of playing with words. Building towers and landscapes with strokes of a pen. Eliciting surprised laughter from a friend when I turn a unique phrase in conversation, balancing cliché on its head. I have the smug satisfaction of being the master of blank spaces, giving form to emptiness with ink and pixels. Corralling the world without limitations, without expense or need of materials, only my fingers and the blank space. Signal the engineer to open the flood gates! Make inkblots on the page! The more abstract the better. The more spontaneous and unconscious, the wilder and more beautiful the art is to me.

    • Marianne

      Wow Missaralee.  That was like poetry.  “the life I thought . .could not liquidate it”. That is amazing.  I think you should clean this up and submit it to one of the very experimental literary journals.  There are some amazing sentences and thoughts in this piece.  

      • http://www.wildhorsechase.com/ Missaralee

        Thank you Marianne, that is incredibly kind! Your comment has encouraged me to keep working on this piece, we’ll see what happens.

    • Yalí Noriega

      I love the imagery!

      • http://www.wildhorsechase.com/ Missaralee

        Thanks Yalí, so glad you enjoyed it!

    • http://www.pjreece.ca/blog/wordpress Pjreece

      Oh, cube dwelling citizen of plaztic empire… your piece caught my eye immediately and kept on thrilling me.  Good stuff, Missaralee!

      • http://www.wildhorsechase.com/ Missaralee

        Thanks PJreece! The plastic empire is daily providing new fodder for my cannons ;)

    • Marla

      This does read like poetry, especially the line about building towers.  Beautiful work!

  • ali bradley

    This isn’t just an exercise for me, it is a repeating question in my mind the past couple of months.  I’ve come up with a few reasons.

    I mainly began to write out loud because I was emboldened by my father’s death in January.  Some deep need in me to make a difference in the the world.  Time slipping through my fingers.  It’s getting away.  What have I done? How have I impacted others?

    I write to open my heart and soul to friends and family.  To offer myself in love.  Perhaps to encourage someone.  Maybe connect on some deeper heart level and let them know that they are not alone.  That I am not alone.  

    I write to encourage.  Self worth can be elusive as a stay at home mom.  Somewhere I read “If you want to change the world, put pen to paper.”  It has wrapped around my heart.  I hear it when I am struggling to find my identity in the midst of changing diapers, doing laundry, cooking, cleaning.  I know people are running about in the outside world making a difference, running for senate, serving the poor hot meals, standing arm in arm protesting for a belief.  All the while, I am bent over little loves, wiping noses, kissing hurts, and feeding hungry little mouths.  I can’t help but wonder how many other people question if what they are doing “counts.”  If indeed it will make a difference.   

    And finally, I write as an artistic outlet.  I may not have the time I crave to put brightly colored oil paint to white canvas as I once did, but I can express myself through this new found art.  Beautiful, challenging, poetic word art.  

    Okay, so are we really just supposed to stick to the 15 mins??  I would really like to go back and edit/ change some things.  But for my first exercise I suppose I’ll stick to the rules.

    • http://joebunting.com Joe Bunting

      Good to see you here, Ali :)

      I love that idea, “Writing out loud.” Great image for blogging.

      And yes, if you don’t write for exactly 15 minutes you get fired from The Write Practice. ;) No mostly, it’s a good limit so people can read and give feedback. 

      • ali bradley

        Fired first day.  Rats.

        Hey, when will the next “show off contest” subject be posted?  That sounds fun!  And challenging!  Thanks for all the work you have put into this site.  Really great job!

        • http://joebunting.com Joe Bunting

          :)

          We’ll post the next contest in the first week of August. You should definitely join in. 

          Of course, Ali. I don’t know what I would do without it.

          • ali bradley

            Okay Joe, so this community you’ve helped to bring together are super sweet and encouraging.  Awesome.

          • http://joebunting.com Joe Bunting

            Just wait. They’re like sirens. They suck you in and then stab you in the back. 

            Just kidding community. I love you.

      • Yvette Carol

        It’s a clock-in, clock-out system isn’t it Joe?

        • http://joebunting.com Joe Bunting

          Exactly. :)

        • Brian_8thdayfiction

          That reminds me: I entered an incorrect punch on my time card. Who do I see about getting a manual override of my time put in?

          • Yvette Carol

            See el head honcho, numero uno, big boss man, Oz, King Bunting about that Brian. He won’t handle it himself of course. But he can redirect you a thousand times, to the drudges who work in the basement. Hope that helps!

          • http://joebunting.com Joe Bunting

            1. You’re a clown, Brian.
            2. You’re a munchkin, Yvette. The Oz variety.

    • Marianne

      Beautifully said Ali.  I like all of it but I like that you said writing is a way to connect on a deeper level with your loved ones. I never thought about it that way but it’s true that we can put on paper and read what others had on paper carefully and slowly.  When people talk it’s so fast and affected by the moment that we may not be able to get what’s real for us out or hear what’s real for others.  Sometimes I feel like I know Virginia Woolf better than I do my sisters, and I definitely know her better than I do acquaintances that I encounter frequently. 

      • ali bradley

        Marianne,
        I know exactly what you mean!  I love to get inside people’s head through reading.  People are sometimes much more open when no one is sitting in front of them.  The small talk is cut, and the real heart revealed.

    • http://www.wildhorsechase.com/ Missaralee

      This is so encouraging! You are not alone and everything you do counts. In writing you capture those moments of love and care and then you can turn them over in your hands like the precious jems they are, revealing the flashes of multi-coloured light.

      • ali bradley

        Missaralee, thank you for comparing the wiping of noses and other “love and care moments” to “precious jems”.    I’ll try and think of them that way tomorrow.  It will probably make me laugh or smile at some point!  

    • Bjhousewriter

      Ali, you are making a diffence in the world. Being a mom is one of the most important job a person can do. All the things you are doing is important and are part of who you are.

      Word art is a part of you also along with oil painting.

      Who you are is a creator. A great quality to have.

      • ali bradley

        Thank you BJ house writer.  :)  It’s nice to hear that I am making a splash in the world, even if God is the only one who can see it most days.  
        I like thinking of myself as a creator.  That’s fun.  Thanks!

    • ShelleyD

      You are a vital influence to the lives of a future generation.  A stay at home mom is priceless.  Your impact on others is seen through the character of your children and the respect of your husband.  

      Keep writing.

      • ali bradley

        Thanks for the encouragement Shelley!  A stay at home is priceless!  Not always glamorous, but God is teaching me so much through this process.  And most days I love it!  :)  

    • ali bradley

      so how do I link my name to my blog address??  hmmm…. help anyone? 

  • Yalí Noriega

    Anne Frank said that paper is more patient than men (and I suppose, women) and I have found that it is true. Writing has helped me through dark times, it has been 
     an outlet, a way to put order in my head and my heart. 

    Right now, I am writing a story about my great-grandparents, whom I never knew, because it is a part of our family history that no one really knows about. I *need* to tell this story, even if half of it is made up. The same goes for other stories; I just *need* to tell them.

    • Marianne

      I do the same for my family.  It helps to tie things together I think.  

    • http://www.wildhorsechase.com/ Missaralee

      I love that idea about paper being more patient than men! I always long to be able to say outloud, exactly what I would write in the moment, rather than the spit-flecked word jumble that usually tumbles out.

  • http://rdmeyerwrites.blogspot.com/ RD Meyer

    Strange as it may sound to say, I write because I have to.  I feel an urge to tell stories and would do so whether people listened or not.

    • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

      I agree, I think writers write because they have to, whether anyone’s listening.

    • http://www.jblearnstowrite.com/ JB Lacaden

      You’re not alone, RD. :)

    • Brian_8thdayfiction

      This is true. I had an art professor in college who once talked about how creative people get cranky if something’s keep them from being creative. If I don’t write, make art, do something creative, too many days in a row, I become a straight up crumb bum.

  • Marianne

    The fuchsia blossoms of a crept myrtle floated on rain water that had fallen into two large terra cotta saucers.  A black and white chicken pecked at the water.  It was what’s called a Wyandotte, the feathers were white edged in black, resulting in a chicken dressed in lace, a chicken bride.  She bent to drink from the terra cotta saucers. Dale sat cross legged on the porch in a plastic chair with metal legs, a sketch pad in her lap, a colored pencil in her hand, a fuchsia colored pencil.  The farm was a jumble of broken things, cars, bathtubs, refrigerators, and assorted boards and pieces of siding.  Ivy and honeysuckle grew over the junk but new junk appeared. 

    To Dale’s left iris and a bird bath grew with more chickens pecking for bugs.  In the concrete birdbath a bright green trailing plant flourished.  To the right was another garden.  That garden of marigolds and rock roses marked the grave of an old gun dog who had guarded the farm for his lifetime.  Dale wanted to draw the scene or part of it because she wanted to remember the great beauty here, that sprang forth in summer to cover the rusted, grey discarded things on the old farm.  It was a place that told the true tale of life and death to Dale.  She felt in adequate to the task. 

    There was an arch of ivy growing between two trees that stood on either side of a trail that led away from the house.  She saw her niece there in a wedding dress beside her wife.  They would be married here because no one would have them in town.  They will have to be married in the summer – thought Dale – the winter here is too depressing, and she wondered what would be summer and winter for them, those two young girls?  How would they get through?  She worried. 

    The hen pecked at the water in the saucer.  A dog was watching her. 

    “You can’t keep chickens and dogs like that,” Dale had told her. “Once a dog kills a chicken it will kill more, no matter how much you train it not to.”

    “No she just did that because she was an adolescent,” said Dale’s sister, talking about the dog.  “She knows better now.”

    Dale lifted the pencil and began again on her drawing of fuchsia blossoms floating in terra cotta saucers.  

    The chicken with her lacy wings pecked and then stood in the saucer with her big three toed feet that looked reptilian like the feet of a dragon.  

    The dog lay in the sun and watched for a while, then it slept.  

    • Marianne

      Sorry for the bad punctuation in that piece.  I want to edit it but I’m not able to go back into it and fix it.  I wrote it straight off the top of my head from something I saw in the paper.  

      • http://www.jblearnstowrite.com/ JB Lacaden

        It’s a lovely piece, Marianne. Thanks for sharing it!

        I love the image of the dog and the chicken. Did you draw inspiration from a real place? :)

        • Marianne

          Yes It started with a real place and I saw the terra cotta saucers weight the crepe myrtle blossoms floating in them and the chicken.  The marriage of the two women came from an article I read in the newspaper this morning.  The drawing was from thinking about what  and why we write.  It just all got mushed together in my brain and came out like that I guess. The dog killing the chickens is real too and I thought about how society might kill the two girls maybe because the chicken was in a lacy dress.  It was fun.  I haven’t actually written anything in a while.  I’ve been reading a lot though.  

          • Marianne

            that should say “with the crepe myrtle blossoms”. I don’t’ know what’s wrong with me and my proofreading today.  Embarrassing.  

      • Marla

        Lovely.  And I have chickens, too.  I agree about the feet.  All week I’ve been taking them frozen watermelon and ice water to keep them going in this heat.  I guess I kind of love them.

    • http://www.wildhorsechase.com/ Missaralee

      I enjoyed the image of a ramshackle place where plants grow wild here and there and everywhere, reclaiming the broken objects. Also the chicken bride.

      • Marianne

        Thanks Missaralee. I posted it too quickly and am seeing errors all over the place. Oh well to late now.  

    • http://spiritualsidekick.com/ Tom Wideman

      Marianne, great job. I could really envision this rustically beautiful scene. It was full of real life and redemption.

      • Marianne

        Thanks Tom

    • Anna Stroven

      You do such a good job at describing the scenery Marianne. I got such a pretty picture in my head.

      • Marianne

        Thanks Anna 

    • Yvette Carol

      The chicken with the reptilian feet of a dragon and yet the dog just lay in the sun and watched her for a while. Pure magic Marianne, as always!

      • Marianne

        Thank you Yvette Carol.  They do have really awful looking feet.  

  • Marianne

    I write for a lot of reasons but the biggest one I think is because I love to read, I love literature!

  • http://www.pjreece.ca/blog/wordpress Pjreece

    Joe… as serendipity would have it… I have just posted an item called “WHY WE READ”.  
    I found your piece and the comments valuable… and I’m going to copy the whole shebang into a file for future reference.  Cheers.

  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    love this.

  • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

    Last week I introduced myself as a writer. As the words left my mouth a little thrill shot down my spine and my heart skipped! I’ve never publicly called myself a writer before. 

    I wondered why? Maybe until this point I hadn’t been sure that I was. Part of me was waiting for permission, but I’m not sure from whom. This day was different, I realized I didn’t need permission. It would be like asking for permission to identify myself as a woman or a brunet. 

    I am a writer because I was born with something to say. Just ask my mother! Apparently before I was fully delivered my head emerged screaming! 

    Whether I ever write a book that becomes a best seller, receive an award, or finally win a “Show Off” contest, I’m a writer. I was born to communicate, and to deny that would be to deny part of who I am. 

    I am a writer.

    My motivation shifts from year to year, season to season. At any given time there’s a mixture of each of the four reasons. I’ve been contemplating my motivation again recently as I finish up my novel and begin looking for an agent. 

    Why do I write? Does the world really need another novel, another blog post, another e-book. Yes and no. The entire world may not need to hear what we need to say, but our sphere of influence does. Words of hope, words of healing, words of wisdom or challenge, words of joy, of meaning, of beauty, they are our gift to the hearts of those around us. Loved ones and strangers alike. Our hearts long to connect and words allow us to do just that. 

    I write because I love to. I do see the world differently when it flows from my fingers. I write to find meaning, to add value. I’m embarrassed to say that once in a while I do write with the delusion of fame and recognition, but that’s truly the least satisfying. Mostly I write to be a part of transformation. I’m most gratified when the words I write resonate in the heart of a reader and we both grow into better people.

    ***
    Great thought provoking post Joe. I agree, sometimes the amount of ‘competition’ is overwhelming. I’m incredibly grateful my writing isn’t required to feed my family and I have the freedom to just enjoy. 

    • http://www.wildhorsechase.com/ Missaralee

      Wow Beck, I really connected with the idea that “the entire world may not need to hear what we need to say, but our sphere of influence does.” It made me think of writing for the young women in my life, women I want to see floorish into confident, joyful chasers of passion! I will think of this from now on when I’m blocked and when I don’t feel I have anything new to say.

      • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

        Whenever I think my voice doesn’t matter, or I will never be the next ____ (fill in the blank), I think of the women who have written to me or commented because a blog post has encouraged them. It helps to write for a smaller audience, if it translates into a larger one great, but a smaller, personal one is more compelling and manageable I think. Anyhow, I’m glad you connected with that idea! I’m sure there are women who are better because you share your words!

    • http://rachelheather.wordpress.com/ Rachel Altsman

      I love the idea of writing for your sphere of influence as well.  That whole paragraph is just brilliant.  Words allow us to connect to the ones we love…absolutely true.

      • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

        Thank you Rachel! I think seeing our audience, regardless of how small, as worthy to receive the gift of our words is inspiring. 

    • Marianne

      Beck – You do indeed have something to say.  I find your writing unique and uplifting.  I don’t think you need to feel embarrassed to say you think sometimes of fame and recognition.  I think that just goes along with feeling that you are telling a truth that others need to hear or with wanting validation.  Either way I find it hard to believe that anyone who puts things into a public forum like this doesn’t want to be read by others (which kind of equals being published).  Why else would the post here? You are young and very lively and positive and you are very good with creating images.  I still remember a the person finding the letters in the attic that were written to a man other than her grandfather. That was a very memorable story. You will get there IMO. 

      • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

        Thank you Marianne! I do want to be read. Joe once said without an audience a writer is just someone who journals. I don’t want success to be what compels me though. I find it tarnishes my creativity and compassion. 

        I’m tickled that you remember the love story about the letters. I was just thinking about that story today and wondering if I could use it in my next novel!  I so appreciate your encouragement!

    • http://spiritualsidekick.com/ Tom Wideman

      Hey Beck, I resonated with your entire post. I especially liked, “I do see the world differently when it flows from my fingers.” I feel the same way. I am able to express myself more thoughtfully and honestly as I write. 
      I also appreciated your admission (or is it admittance?) to sometimes writing for the fame and recognition. It is so true that this motivation is the least satisfying. I know that I use writing (and The Write Practice) to get feedback and attention when I’m feeling particularly insignificant.

      • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

        Thanks for your comment Tom. I’ve found when I hold the golden cow of fame or acceptance up as my goal of writing the joy and even creativity are tarnished. My best writing comes when I’m honest and selfless, but that’s a hard place to stay. 

        I thought the same thing about people laughing at me! I assumed I couldn’t say I’m a writer because they’ll ask me, “what have you written?” And I can’t say, a blog! But then I realized I spend more hours writing than doing just about anything, so what else would you call that?!
        Keep practicing and growing more comfortable with who you are as a writer and the easier it will be to embrace, and admit! At least that’s what I tell myself!

    • Yvette Carol

      Congratulations on coming out of the literary closet Beck!! Stay out here in the sun girl :-) Well done.

      • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

        Thanks Yvette!

    • Sandra D

      I would like to see your blog. I liked this post.

      • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

        Thanks Sandra. Here is a link to my original blog. I haven’t written in quite some time due to a broken computer, a new job, and my husbands loss of a job. But this blog is a good archive of some of the best of what I’ve written. http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/?m=1

        • Sandra D

          alright I will look at it. :) Thanks.

  • Yvette Carol

    Joe, this piece was exceptional. You made it into my Great Quotes file for the first time, not once but twice, with one post! Don’t you think, that it’s more like everyone has always secretly wanted to write (or nearly everyone). I know that throughout my life, whenever I’ve mentioned to someone — anyone — that I write, the reply has usually been a variation of ‘I’ve always wanted to write a book’. The only difference these days, is that the means to ‘publish’ one’s writing has come within easy reach. 

    • http://joebunting.com Joe Bunting

      I’m so honored, Yvette. Thanks!

      I definitely think it’s true that most people want to write, and it makes sense. We all want to be fully alive. We all want to be loved and respected, not just in our lifetimes but for forever. We all would like to make the world a better place. And if Victor Frankl is right (and I think he is), we all want to experience meaning. Everyone wants to write because those are four amazing things writing offers.

      • http://spiritualsidekick.com/ Tom Wideman

        I’m reading Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” right now. Great read. Great blog, btw, Joe!

        • http://joebunting.com Joe Bunting

          Awesome, Tom. Isn’t he amazing?

  • http://spiritualsidekick.com/ Tom Wideman

    “What is the meaning of all this?” came her voice from the other room. One of the kids was obviously in trouble, I could tell by the tone. I continued pecking away on my computer. I was in the midst of writing a pivotal scene for my novel when my wife poked her head inside the door of my office. “I said, what is the meaning of all this?”

    I swiveled around in my chair and faced the doorway. “Oh, were you talking to me?” I asked.

    “Um, yes! I want to know what’s the meaning of this right here!” She pointed her angry finger at an open page in a spiral notebook. It took her a moment as she moved the notebook back and forth like she was playing an invisible trombone.

    “’I’m feeling lost and alone. I have no one to turn to and I feel I’m drowning,’” she read. “Did you write this?”

    “Are you reading my journal?” I asked in a shocked and accusatory tone.

    “Wait, that’s not all. ‘How can I ever be happy again with all this guilt and shame? Why did I ever agree to meet up with her?’” My wife shook my exposed journal in my face as if she was trying to empty it of the hurtful words and then placed her clinched hands on her hips. “Can you explain to me the meaning of all this?”

    “I’m going to ask you the same question, sweetheart! Why the hell are you reading my journal? That is my own private writing and it’s none of you damn business!”

    “None of my damn business? If you’re cheating on me, then it’s certainly my damn business!”

    “Cheating on you? I’m not cheating on you!”

    “Then who did you “meet up with?” She accompanied her snarky tone with air quotes.

    I quickly grabbed my journal out of her fist and stormed out of the room. I grabbed my keys and headed toward the garage. I could hear her crying in the room where I left her. My face felt hot and the back of my neck felt chilled. Beads of sweat ran down my cheeks. Or was it tears? My stomach was gurgling acid and I could hear my heart pounding inside my ears. I grabbed a pen sitting on the counter on my way out and slammed the door behind me.

    What was the meaning of all this?

    • Marianne

      I like the way this escalates so quickly, the way arguments do.  I like the description of her waving the notebook like a trombone.  I would like to know what happens. The dialogue is great here like it always is in your writing.  

    • Yvette Carol

      The first line said so much! Well-chosen words can convey time, era, personality even class. Immediately I had an image of who this lady was :-)

    • Brian_8thdayfiction

      I like how you used that last sentence. Well done.

  • http://rachelheather.wordpress.com/ Rachel Altsman

    I originally wrote this on paper, so this is a little bit edited (not much though).  Also, I couldn’t stop at 15 minutes, so it’s pretty long…sorry about that.

    Joan Didion said, “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.  What I want and what I fear.”  I know where she’s coming from.  Blogging can be difficult for me because I start off intending to write about one thing and by the time I’m finished I find I wrote about something completely different.  I have an idea, but in the process of writing about it I discover other thoughts and feelings I never knew I had, but that I want to share and I follow those down the rabbit hole.

    For most of my life, writing has been a mostly personal endeavor.  I’ve had a blog for eight years, but for most of that time the only people who read it were close friends and family and it was just random thoughts about what was going on in my life.  And even then, I always had a journal with me to capture things I didn’t want to post.  In fact, most of my writing is really just journalling – processing things I’ve seen and read and heard and been a part of.

    As a child, I was a sporadic journaller (is that a word?  I guess it is now).  I read many books where people discovered old diaries and read them, so I had a very specific idea of what a journal should be – lots of particular details, dates, etc.  I tried to do that, but my childhood was essentially boring and I never really knew what to write.  I just did it because the characters I loved did it.

    In high school, a friend of mine began creating notebooks.  They were vibrant colors and included song lyrics and pictures and funny stories, all done artistically in bright markers.  You never saw Kristen without her notebook.  I thought this was fantastic and started carrying my own notebooks.  I lacked Kristen’s artistic vision and talent, however, and tended to listen to the same songs over and over, which meant I had a hard time coming up with new song lyrics to doodle during class.  I kept these notebooks for a few years, but they were never really more than a way to keep from falling asleep during class.

    And then for high school graduation I received a Moleskine notebook.  It was beautiful.  So clean and professional looking, not flowery or girly (I am neither and most of the journals I had been given were).  It was exactly the kind of notebook I pictured college students and great thinkers using (I was aided in this fantasy by Moleskine’s self-description in the back pocket, of course).  I was a great thinker, a philosopher, a collegian, and this was where I would record my brilliant life.

    From that point forward, I have always had a Moleskine close by.  It feels a little pretentious sometimes, a little too hipstery, but it’s a habit now.  Some have lasted me a few months, some have taken me almost a year and a half to fill.  Just last week I began my ninth one, although I am writing this in a journal that was a gift from a friend.  It feels a bit like a betrayal.

    And now I found that I’ve gone down the rabbit hole again and have given you the history of my notebook preferences instead of talking about why I write.  But looking back at it, I can see my motivations.

    I guess I started writing because other people – both fictional and real – did.  And then because I wanted to look cool.  And then because I wanted to look cool and mysterious, as if always having a notebook with me would make people want to know more about me and ease the transition to college.

    And now?  Now I think I write because I cannot imaging myself not writing.  Because I cannot deal with my emotions without it.  Because I do not know what I think if I do not put it into words.

    And, if I’m honest, a little bit because I hope I look cool and mysterious over here, scribbling in my notebook.

    • Anna Stroven

      I love your writing style. I find myself going on bunny trails all the time.

      • http://rachelheather.wordpress.com/ Rachel Altsman

        Thank you!  I’m working on getting my bunny trails to at least lead back to the main trail eventually.  I’m glad some people can follow my weird brain  :)

    • Marianne

      Journaling is so important.  I didn’t start writing until I was almost forty (when I first got a word processor that would check spelling since I cannot spell) and I wish I had at least tried to get things down before then because I can’t remember them.  I like your Moleskin remark.  A good notebook needs to be filled. That’s a good reason to write too.  

      • http://rachelheather.wordpress.com/ Rachel Altsman

        Thanks Marianne!  And filling a good notebook is definitely a reason to write  :)

    • ShelleyD

      I just started journaling, yesterday.  I love Joan Didion.  Her words could have been mine.

      At the moment, my blog is mostly read by close friends.   Combined with journaling, I’m writing more than ever.  Over time, I want my writing to take on a life of its own.  “Because I do not know what I think if I do not put it into words.”  

      That’s why I write.  To see who I am.

      • http://rachelheather.wordpress.com/ Rachel Altsman

        Thanks, Shelley!

  • http://twitter.com/GaaraKazekage99 Dawnstar Gaara

    i write because i have ideas. i have always had ideas but i never “knew” that i could write them down. i am like all those people you talk to; you know, the people who see you scribbling in your notebook, and ask “what are you doing?” and you say “writing” and then you have a conversation, and then they say, “i have ideas too, but (insert excuse).” yeah i used to be one of those people, but then i realized that i COULD. 

    ok yeah i want to be famous too…. but if i , or any of my manuscripts, even get *accepted* then i will feel awesome because SOMEONE at least ONE PERSON will read what i have to say… hopefully i write well enough for them to see my point of view,  and maybe even change their own POV to what I think is the better version. yeah… pretty selfish reasons, eh? but… seriously? it’s like being a doctor. most people go into it to help people, but they want to be treated fairly in their compensation. it’s the same  thing, i think, at least. 

    • Marianne

      I think you’re right.  There are lots of reasons for doing things and lots of ways to be compensated.  Writing is a lot of effort to go to for nothing.   

  • http://www.jblearnstowrite.com/ JB Lacaden

    Been a long time since I posted a practice. Hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I had fun writing the piece. :)

    ***

    The number one rule was to never stop walking.

    Snow rained down hard on us and the wind blew restlessly, it pierced through our thick clothing and into our skin and into our bones, sapping away what little strength we had left. But we continued on walking. To stop was death.

    We shuffled along in a straight line with the captain leading the group. I was positioned in the middle. Home. That’s where we were all headed. But will we be able to reach home? We started out as twenty strong men, a week passed us by and only half remained. Two were taken by hunger, one succumbed to injury, and the rest fell into the wraiths’ hands.

    They were there. Lurking at the edge of our senses. Never stop walking. To stop was death. To stop was to be with the wraiths. They were the faint voices whispering to you at the edge of your hearing. You could smell their scent with each passing of the winter wind. They smelled of death and decay. You could see them at the periphery of your vision. Sometimes they looked like a friend you have back home, other times they looked like one of our dead brethren, there were rare times when they looked like themselves—demons of the mountain.

    I placed one foot forward, followed by the other one. Each step seemed to be my last, but I pushed on. I pushed on. Then I heard her voice. We all did. It was faint at first but it grew louder with each step I took.

    “Keep moving! Do not look at them!” The captain shouted. We moved on.

    She was calling me to come to her. She was calling me home. She was calling me to rest. I felt myself crying. My heart wanted to go to my wife but my mind knew it was a lie of the wraiths. I felt so tired. I just wanted to stop and for everything to be over. I closed my eyes.

    “I’m sorry captain! It was an honor to fight alongside you.” I raised my voice loud enough to be heard over the howling of the wind.

    “Keep on walking, boy!” The captain replied. “Your wife’s dead! It isn’t her!”

    I stopped. The ones behind me passed me by, their faces hidden by thick hoods. I looked to my side and there she was. She smiled at me and beckoned me to come closer. I did. I grabbed her in my arms.

    From some far off place, I heard someone shouting. Shouts of pain and agony mixed with the winter wind. He had the same voice as mine. He was shouting for help. He sounded like he was in some great pain. I didn’t bother looking who it was. I was home.

    • http://www.littlegirltravels.com/ Unisse Chua

      Very eerie. It shows how much we miss someone who’s already gone but still is more important than life itself.

    • Marianne

      Great JB.  The “faint voices whispering to you at the edge of your hearing”, the occasional glimpses of the wraiths in the peripheral vision.  Those are good images. It’s easier to imagine a tired man being called to his death by his wife than being called to fight some more obvious source of evil.  It’s pretty spooky and I got a very clear image even though you didn’t spend a whole lot of time on description.  I can see the line of men moving though the snow in a dimly lit landscape. 

      • http://www.jblearnstowrite.com/ JB Lacaden

        Thanks Marianne! Glad I was able to project the scene I desire. :)

    • Yvette Carol

      It’s pretty sweet the way you always write something different, with new tonalities and shades. A wide-ranging imagination you have there JB,

      • http://www.jblearnstowrite.com/ JB Lacaden

        Thank you Yvette. I love to experiment with new stuff :)

    • Brian_8thdayfiction

      This reads like a classic “Twilight Zone” episode. Just to be clear, I mean that as a compliment. I love that show.

      • http://www.jblearnstowrite.com/ JB Lacaden

        Thanks! Wouldn’t take it as an insult. Don’t worry. It’s super amazing for you to liken my story to one of Rod Serling’s.
        Thank you Brian :)

        • Brian_8thdayfiction

          You’re welcome!

  • http://www.jblearnstowrite.com/ JB Lacaden

    I’ve to agree with Orwell. I think all of us, we do the things we do because we want to be remembered. Some do it by writing, some through their movies, some by painting. We all want to be remembered in one way or another.

  • Bjhousewriter

    What you posted today is true I believe in all writers. We write because we have to even if it just taking notes on something we read.

    Some write for fame and money and to be remembered.

    Others like myself write because I love to share what I read and also hope that I may help some find out facts and events that are going on around them.

    Blogging is a way to write, having your writing in print. Some people are writers but maybe not writing a full book is there thing. But rather just a short story.

    Writing is a way to preserve what is going on in our time period.

  • Anna Stroven

    Penny squeezed her knees as tight as she could. The darkness
    in the cave didn’t scar her. It calmed her. Here she was alone. Here she could
    think. They would be looking for her soon. He would be looking for her soon.

    Why did Lord Peter insist that he knew what was best for
    her? Did he not realize that her roots had been grown in Oppannivol? She had no
    need for all the finery of being a Lady. She’d rather stay a nurse maid.

    She heard shouting. They were shouting her name. Should she
    answer? She wanted to.

    Suddenly, she herd footsteps on the cave floor. They were coming
    toward her. The heavy breathing was defiantly a mans. She could sense the other
    person right in front of her. He sat down and let out a sigh.

    “Well Penny, how long of a time do you need before I tell
    them where you are?”

    “Go away Peter.”

    He made a clicking noise with his tongue. “You ought to be
    more respectful to someone thirteen years your elder.”

    “You ought to give a girl her own choice when it comes to
    where she lives.”

    “No, not to a girl, but to a woman, yes.”

    She let a moment pass by. “I hate it when you are right.”

    “I this case, I hate it as well. I wish you were old enough
    to make the right choice, so I would not have to force it on you.”

    • Marianne

      I like the dialogue and I assume this is a WIP and that the characters would make more sense if I read the the whole thing. It seems like Penny is Peter’s ward or maybe he has kidnapped her and then some other bad people are looking for her too.  

  • Anna Stroven

    I could almost feel the snow falling on me. 

  • Anna Stroven

    I could almost feel the snow falling on me. 

  • Wanda Kiernan

    Living fully and discovering meaning are the top two reasons I write.  I try to write everyday, even if it’s just one sentence (that maybe takes me 10 minutes to get just right).  But a lot of time writing for me is emotionally draining, and I have to stop (or maybe rest) for a little while to get the strength to keep on going.  Writing can be such a physical and psychological effort, but yet I can’t help myself.  Gotta write!

  • Marla

    Bathsheba in a Hot Tub – Free Writing Exercise

    I pretend I’m Bathsheba, stepping into my hot tub instead of an
    ancient pool, which I’m sure Bathsheba would have done if she’d had the
    chance.  The man who watches me, and I
    know he watches me, across the field in a house with a three-car garage, is my
    snake-hipped version of King David.

    Tonight I’m wearing my pink kimono that hits me just above the
    knee and little silver kitten heels.  My
    husband Joey is watching Pawn Stars, and he’s talking back to the TV so loud I
    think he’s calling me.  But he’s not. He
    treats me the same way you do a lizard in a terrarium. He taps on the glass
    every once in a while to make sure I’m alive, and beyond that I’m pretty much
    on my own.

    So this guy, my King David, is about all I have. I met him once,
    at TelStar Market in the meat department, when we both reached for a chuck
    roast. He let me have it, which says a lot, I think, about his character.

    I could have gotten his name then, but I wasn’t able to utter a
    word. He was wearing Levis, the real deal Levis – Joey wears Wranglers – and this
    T-shirt that read, Just Listen, which I found to be both mysterious and a
    little profound.

    At night, King David sits on his deck, alone.  He looks toward my house, which Joey lights
    up like a carnival, so I know he can see me.

    At first I watched from my kitchen window. And then six weeks
    ago and joined a gym where they teach classes that will either kill you or make
    you look like a movie star.  I haven’t
    been mistaken for Scarlett Johansen yet, but my jeans are saggy in the butt, so
    there’s still hope.  Anyway, since I’m
    looking better, I go out on the patio, take a glass of wine and sit in the
    porch swing every night about nine o’clock.

    Joey’s in bed by nine-thirty and snoring by a quarter til.  And I’m left alone under the stars, so close
    to King David that I can feel his power.

    Tonight I set down my wine and pull the cover off the hot
    tub.  Warning: there’s no sexy way to do
    this.  And then I climb the three steps
    real slow, kick off my heels, right foot, left foot, and drop the kimono.  I have on a swimsuit, although it’s tan, so I
    hope from this distance I look like I’m in my altogether, and I step into the
    hot tub that gurgles like a brook.

    I am sinning, I can tell you that much, not in any fleshly
    way.  But sinning nonetheless.  And you know how it feels?  It feels like that moment just before the
    big-haired girl reads the lottery numbers on Channel 8. That moment when your
    life might turn, and you might be able to quit dying your own hair and put your
    mama in a better home and fly to Vegas first class.

    I drop into the water, chest deep. My hair is up, a whip of a
    pony tail that I flip over the edge of the hot tub.  I can feel my cheeks, hot as August, and my
    heart is racing.  I look up toward King
    David’s house and he’s standing now, the long line of his body seems to glow
    from the porch light behind him.  I stand
    up too, and water races down my chest. We stand like this, half than a quarter
    mile apart, my King David and I, for what seems forever but can’t be more than
    two minutes, and in that time I know we’ve struck a deal.

    He raises his hand to me, and I lift mine to him.  A cloud shifts across the half moon.  King David turns his porch light on and off,
    on and off, a signal, I think, for me to run to him. I step out of the tub and into
    my kimono, in the whispering space between fidelity and desire.

    Bathsheba, I think, how much did you know of love and fate? How
    much did your husband care?

    • http://www.wildhorsechase.com/ Missaralee

      Oooh, I like it! This is great fiction, I would love to read a little novella continuation of this style…

      • Marla

        Thank you so much Missaralee.  I may just try that.

    • ShelleyD

      Great exercise for personal application! I used teach my students to do similar exercises.  You’ve given new light on an age old problem many of married couples experience, and that everything is a choice.  Great job!

      • Marla

        Thanks ShelleyD!  It was fun to write.

  • Brian_8thdayfiction

    “Hey: We need to talk.”

    Jared’s dad dropped the box onto the kitchen table.

    “What are you doing with that?” Jared went to grab it back. Dad placed his hands on it so it wasn’t going anywhere.

    “So you just went into my room and took that? You do that often?”

    “You know what, Jared? No, I don’t. But honestly–it’s my house, and I CAN do it whenever I want. If you don’t like that, well, I’m sorry. So, you want to tell me about what’s in there?”

    “Why? You already know what it is.”

    “I just want to know how you got started with this. Was it your friends? Was it Will? I don’t like that kid, by the way.”

    “God, Dad, it wasn’t Will! And it wasn’t Steve, it wasn’t Joel, it wasn’t Amanda…any other friends of mine you hate you want to blame this on?”

    “Jared, I–”

    “WHAT? You WHAT, Dad? You’re just looking out for me? Or, or, what–you just want to be a ‘cool Dad’ and say, “Hey, no problem, do whatever you want, just be safe about it.’ What Dad? What words of wisdom do you have for me?”

    “I just…I saw what you did, and…I liked it. I don’t understand why it’s such a huge secret. I mean, in a cigar box under the bed?”

    “I don’t know, it’s personal, and…you like it?”

    “Yeah, I used to do it myself, back in the day. But then, I don’t know, I got a job, and…I don’t know. Yeah, I like it.”

    Dad loosened his grip on the box. Jared slid it towards himself and opened the lid.

    “So…what part did you like?”

    “I like the antagonist. You can never go wrong with a good bad guy.”

    Jared took his composition book out of the box.

    “I mean, I noticed some stuff: Minor things, like some subject-verb agreement stuff, but–”

    “Well, it’s not finished, it’s not even a first draft. That’s why I wasn’t sharing it.”

    “No, that’s fine. What I’m trying to say is, if you need an editor…”

    “Oh.” Jared looked at the book, then looked at his dad. “Thanks.”

    “No problem. Oh, and here’s a quick tip: If you’re hiding something from us, maybe you don’t want to put it in a cigar box.”

    Jared laughed.

    “I’m just saying: What was the thought process there? ‘I don’t want mom or dad to find this, so I’ll hide it in here. That way, they’ll think I’m just smoking Dutch Masters in my room and they won’t think anything of it’?”

    “Shut up…” Jared and Dad laughed. Dad put his arm around him and Jared took his book and the box back upstairs. It was almost writing time.

    • Missaralee

      Oh man did I ever get a good laugh over the cigar box hiding place! I love this piece for so many reasons.

      • Brian_8thdayfiction

        Thank you very much! I used to keep Matchbox cars in a Dutch Masters box when I was little. The worst part about it was having to smoke all those cigars in order to have an empty box for my cars. Just kidding–I don’t know where that box came from and it just struck me as being a weird thing for a kid to have.

    • http://rachelheather.wordpress.com/ Rachel Altsman

      Wow, I love this.  So funny and great.

      • Brian_8thdayfiction

        Thanks!

    • Marianne

      Ha!  Two entries today in which journals had been read without permission.  That was funny though.  You were really leading us on.  Thanks!

      • Brian_8thdayfiction

        I know, right? Right after I posted my piece, I scrolled through the others and read them. As soon as I started reading Tom’s I was like “Well, what do you know about that?” I loved his take on the “someone reading another’s journal” idea…and was relieved mine didn’t turn out to be a rip-off of his!

    • Marla

      LOVE this.

      • Brian_8thdayfiction

        Thanks! I appreciate it.

    • ShelleyD

      Oh, the fine line between snooping and caring.  Your dialogue is so natural.  The characters fall so naturally into place.  Good teaching material for newbies like myself.

      • Brian_8thdayfiction

        Thank you! It’s good to know all the talking to myself that I do pays off.

    • Joseph Miller

      Fantastic, though I can’t get the old commercial out of my head: “From you, OK? I learned it by watching you!”

      • Brian_8thdayfiction

        HA! That commercial’s a classic. And seeing as how they make movies based on board games and theme park rides, someone should make a big-budget feature-length movie based on this commercial. I’m thinking Zac Efron as Distraught Kid and George Clooney as Hypocrite Dad.

    • Sandra D

      Putting the writing in the cigar box was funny.

  • ShelleyD

    I suppose I write for self-discovery and for the journey.  I feel that I can express myself better in writing than I do verbally.  I hope to hear words of encouragement because of my writing.  Something to the effect of “I really like what you’ve written, or that made me think, or that’s exactly what I’ve been going through.”  Knowing I’ve connected with someone on a personal level is encouraging to me. 

    Yesterday, I read a post about journaling by Michael Hyatt.  He shared a journaling app that I just had to try.  This is my 15 minute journaling entry from this morning.

    ON EXERCISE

    The morning is almost over. Sadie got her run and I got mine, two miles in fact. That made me proud. It was quite an accomplishment. Had it been a bit earlier while the air was still cool, I might have done three. In any case, I can see my ability improving.

    While I was running, I thought about my body. “They say” you should think about how your body works when you exercise. I try to focus on my breathing first. Breath in through my nose and out through my mouth in short puffs. I’ve got that down pretty well. Next, I try and focus on my abdomen. Taking big breaths into my lungs and forcing out slowly from my diaphragm.

    All I can think of is an article I read years ago about what happens when our lungs age. Like any other muscle, it becomes less effective. It looses its elasticity and become brittle. It’s important to keep our lungs in good working order by taking in deep breaths and getting the oxygen generating through our bodies and to our brains. Jogging does this for me.

    My knees are in pretty good shape. My left one has a little bit of twinge inside the knee cap. I tend to think it’s because my quads aren’t strong enough. Maybe by the end of the summer, I’ll sign up at the fitness center (again). I could run every other day and do leg lifts on the alternate days. The outer part of my right leg gives me a little problem. It might be from my broken leg I experienced two years ago. That atrophied quite a bit. I’m sure, overtime, the muscle will build back up.

    Which brings me to my feet. DH says I throw my right foot in really bad. I don’t think I was ever aware of that before. Could that also be a result of my break? I tried to lengthen my stride rather than speed up my pace (or, are they the same?). It was obvious, I wasn’t ready for that. I’ll just take each morning as it comes and do the best I can for that time.

    I’m so glad I started. It gives me that time to think about my writing and reflect on what I’ve accomplished so far.

    (I posted this earlier today, but it didn’t show up in the comments section.  Not sure why.)

    • Brian_8thdayfiction

      “I feel that I can express myself better in writing than I do verbally.”

      Definitely. I know that’s true for me.

      • ShelleyD

        I’m glad I’m not alone on the verbal issue.  I find that I hold back and end up feeling inadequate or just saying nothing at all.

    • Marianne

      A lot of people say they get inspired while walking or running.  Your writing is clear and kept me running along with you.  

      • ShelleyD

        Thank you, Marianne.  

    • Marla

      My gosh, I was right there with you.  I love the way your thoughts skitter. Beautiful.

      • Info

        Thank you, Marla.  Skitter.  I like that.

  • Brian_8thdayfiction

    So, I’m the only one writing solely to achieve world domination and crazy mad cash? No one else? No?

    For real, though, I write to get noticed, I’ll admit that. My creative abilities are one of the weapons in my arsenal that make me stand out. Lord knows it’s not rugged good looks, lots of money, or athletic ability.

    But I write to discover meaning and “change the world”, too. It means the world to me when someone likes or gets something from what I’ve written, not just for the ego boost, but because I feel like I’ve contributed to the dialogue. I’m participating, not just standing by.

    • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

      Love your honesty!

      • Brian_8thdayfiction

        Thanks! I try to keep it real.

  • mlhatcher

    I guess I must agree with Victor Frankl, I write to express what thought are current and hope to draw in those who may be in the same place or have been there for one reason or another. Just last night, i found myself lost in dark place and I knew I had to get it out. The only way I knew to do this was to simply write it down and share it, in hopes that someone would get it, as I reached out, unashamed of what I was feeling, I needed to reveal the darkness that has been twisting me inside and out. I wrote “standing in the mirror, not looking ahead, no desire to see who it is,
    only wishing to vanish within the dust in the air. always afraid of
    the monster that lies in waiting, feeding off of the guilt and voices
    from within, ushering in the chilling thoughts of failure and overloaded
    burdens that are just too much. loneliness takes its victim to the
    slaughter as the passion for life is smothered by the silence in the
    dark. is there a home for the lonely?
    will God embrace failure? will anyone notice the void? my thoughts
    carry on, like the silent jagged edged blade of a slow and painfully
    hidden cry in the abyss. my flesh weakens with time, my ghost wanders,
    searching for a home as the angels weep”. mlhatcher.blogspot.com

  • Marla

    I’m addicted to language, the way words strung together by ordinary people telling everyday stories can turn into poetry.  In the car I listen to talk instead of music: NPR, Canadian Radio, BBC.  In interviews you can hear a cadence sometimes, a rhythm that thrums through the airwaves and surrounds you. 

    Once, at one of my best friend’s father’s funeral, I slipped a pencil out and took notes on the program – I’m not really proud of this – because he’d been a Mason, and these country men, their Southern accents heavy, recited the service they’d been taught, an oral history passed down generation after generation.  It’s not supposed to written down.  One of the men, dressed in white gloves too small, and a Mason’s white apron, called on the “Great Pontificator,” and my heart soared.

    And once, while interviewing a man who woke from a fitful sleep to the knowledge he’d been called to perserve one of Arkansas’ oldest cemeteries, said this when I ask him why he loved the place. “Look around,” he said.  The pines there were so tall they blocked the sun and the monuments were mostly statues: angels, obelisks, and a few markers that were only sandstone, heavy pieces of rock without any markings.  “Look,” he said.  “We’re standing in a piece of time frozen.”  And then he pointed with his cigarette, “And my mother’s buried over there next to the Confederates.  I bring flowers every week.”

    Just this past weekend, I found this in the personal ads of our local paper.  It’s GOT to be a story.  “LOOKING for a slim sexy blond lady to have an intimate relationship without sex. A lady that likes guns, no smoker or drinker. Lady between 25-30. Christian a must. Hey Girls’s can you bait a hook, cause I’m quite a catch.”

    It’s everywhere, this music we call language, and in the South you still hear the great old sayings like, “I’m busier than a one-legged rooster in a two-story hen house.”  I am blessed beyond measure. I just wish I could write faster.

    • ShelleyD

      Hearing the cadence in language is precisely how I see it, as well.  When I was learning Japanese, sometimes I would just sit and let it wash over me without making an effort to grab every phrase and word.  You could hear the music within.  It was beautiful.

  • http://twitter.com/pootlesuzie Suzie Gallagher

    A few years ago someone told me “Don’t ever stop writing, Suzie” I laughed it off. Truth is I can’t stop writing, some of it is dire, some passable, hopefully one day it will be more than that. Practice, practice, practice.

    Twenty five roller-coaster years, how do we celebrate that, honey?”
    “I dunno babe, maybe a trip, do we have any tokens?”

    “Let me check. Wouldn’t you think we’d be above coupon clipping after all this time,” Jenny spoke as she rifled through the coupon drawer.

    “Hey, don’t start with me! You know why I never took the promotions, I didn’t plan on any of the stuff that’s happened,” Phil countered becoming more defensive with each word.

    “Honey, cool it, it was just a throw-away. I didn’t mean to hurt you. You’re right, and Philip Solomon, I would not change one thing about our life. Imagine if we wrote it down sometime?”

    “Aha, that would be like ‘War and Peace’, there’s our two families for starters, then the kids. Nothing prepared us for having children with disabilities. We could write a book for each child and a three volume treatise on your mother!”

    “Phil, don’t be mean, I have been healed of my past, I might still have the physical scars but the emotional ones are gone. What about a tv series like ‘Shameless’ for your siblings,”

    “Ha, ha, ha, oh Jennifer Lynn Solomon you are going to be ticked some for that, C’m here!”

    The two, should know betters, fooled around, jumping over the sofa and chairs, chasing each other whilst laughing at each other acting like newly weds instead of approaching fifty.

  • http://colebradburn.com/ Cole Bradburn

    To be better understood, and to understand ourselves better.

  • ameliorated

    I am, by profession, a writer.

    Laypeople, hearing this, tend to think I write novels. I imagine they reach back to their memories of The Shining or Misery (strange how many novels King wrote about writers) and try to pigeon me into that authorial hole. 

    Some even seem disappointed at my appearance. I’m not dishevelled or wild-eyed. I only drink whiskey when I’m trying to impress someone. I don’t even own a typewriter; a device that, at least in the Bay Area, seems deemed more essential to poetic credibility than the ability to write.

    But I’m not a writer writer. I’m a copywriter.

    And when I think about my motivations—why I spend agonizing hours aligning word to word, why I measure time by campaigns and fire sales—the first thing that comes to mind is money.

    And I wonder… When did it stop being about creating something meaningful? And how do you find your voice—your true voice—when you’ve spent a lifetime speaking for others?

    • ShelleyD

      I have a friend who is a copywriter.  I’m amazed at the way he thinks.  I know what you do is hard work.  It takes a certain type of person to be successful in this area.  I admire good copywriters.

    • http://joebunting.com Joe Bunting

      Mmm… I felt this. 

      Can you have both? Can you make copywriting an art?

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  • Jeannie Davide-Rivera

    This is a great post!  I definitely write for all four of those reasons.  The one that stood out to me the most was the fourth.  Writing to find meaning!  That is usually where I live.  I write to understand and find meaning in life. Writing allows me some control over the things that are beyond my control.

    Aspie Writer
    http://www.aspiewriter.blogspot.com

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  • Erin Cobb

    Why I Write: Because I feel a release with each word. Because once you put to words to paper they stop pounding around your chest like a ping pong ball. Because I want to know which stories are important. Because maybe other people won’t make the same mistakes I did. Because I stutter. Because I can never find the right words when I say it out loud. Because some words are too heavy for the air, they need something solid to rest on. Because nothing I write is ever incorrect. Because my experiences and opinions can’t just disappear when I die. Because a piece of paper will always listen. Because emotions crawl out with the words down my neck, across my arms, and out of my fingers. Because “I love you” sounds cheap when you say it outloud. Because I want to make other people laugh. Because I want to capture something. Because my sisters and I always made stories growing up, but none of us wrote them down. 

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  • Renee

    Joe- I find your site to be like an expensive department store window, I don’t pass it often, but every once in a while I make a point to detour and drool through the windows.  So I find it odd that today while browsing I came across this particular entry.  And it just so happens that this was my focus this week.  This week I discovered that I write because it is the only way to find sanity and reason in the mess that I call my head.  And so that was my blog theme this week- a small exercise I attempt weekly (www.scissortailsongs.blogspot.com).  Thanks for your faithful entries.

  • Carole

    Hello, I have always written stories from the young age of 14. I am now a senior lady writing a novel that takes place in the year of 1946: there is a time warp within my novel that brings the reader to the present year of 2012. Many twists and turn. I am just about half way through and loving every minute.
    Noel 

  • Bethany <3

    I personally write for several reasons. I write to release,I write to clear my mind and to share my thoughts with the world…I could go on and on but I write for a lot of reasons. This article os extremely true and even thought he didn’t hit every single reason,he did make an excellent point. Good Job!!!!! ^_^

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  • Patricia Likakis

    Good answer, Joe. I was just pondering this question and googled it. It has become for me like exercise. If I don’t do it for a few days, I get cranky. I want to make a mark, change the world. Perhaps there is more inside me that wants to come out and be heard. Perhaps there is a message that people need to hear. I’ll never know unless I speak and write it out. Maybe I don’t have to understand. Maybe like Nike says “Just do it!”

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  • Selene Wales

    I’m actually writing 400-500 word short stories every fifteen minutes. I literally cannot stop writing, and it’s so much fun! I have, ever since I was eleven, wanted to write for a living. Writing is liberating, and knowing full-well that I can create a world all of my own is wonderful. Don’t you guys think the same about writing?

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  • Gatesville

    I am not a writer.But i have this story that people need to read.And it has to be a real good story before they will put it in the papers.I would do it but myself but my spelling isn’t to good and i wouldn’t know how to start a story

  • amroczka

    I write to get the stories out of my head and make room for new ones to form. I write to share my love of writing with others, helping them to become better writers and (hopefully) write to support themselves.

    • http://joebunting.com Joe Bunting

      Totally, Angie. :)

  • Sarah Lentz

    It didn’t always open. Some nights the clock would strike twelve and no door would blossom out of the southwest corner of her living room.

    But tonight it did. And Maura tucked the beginning rows of her crochet project into a purple project bag, grabbed the plum fleece hoodie off the back of her favorite chair, slipped into her well-worn flats, and walked through the open door.

    Sometimes the door opened to a hospital room, sometimes into a stranger’s home, and sometimes to the space underneath a bridge. Maura had no way of knowing where in the world the door would take her, but one thing she knew to expect. In every place she found someone who was dying alone — who had either minutes or a few hours left of life. And she stayed with her host until the end, no matter what he said to her, and no matter where his soul seemed to be headed.

    Sometimes they exchanged words. Sometimes Maura would remain close, praying silently as her host faded by the minute. She trusted that everything counted, that in the space between conscious life and death the soul’s encounter with its Creator would be influenced by her small presence and her quiet prayers. Sometimes there was little else to do.

    And sometimes her host wanted nothing to do with her.

    Through long minutes with poisonous words, the last rebellious ventings of a tortured soul at the brink of oblivion, Maura stayed and waited, holding her tongue if she had nothing to say, or if the words that came to mind would have only added to her host’s bitterness.

    These encounters changed Maura as much as they did those whom she attended. Her mother noticed it, as did her brother and sister and her co-workers at the library.

    So did a particular patron of the library: a gorgeous, if slightly unkempt, forty-something college professor who always seemed happy to see her.

    The only one who didn’t remark on the changes was a man who sometimes visited the same places she did on the other side of the door. He lived on the other side of the world, but a door opened in his home, too, though not at the same hour, and sometimes he found Maura already there with their host. Sometimes, not.

    At first, it was awkward finding someone else there with the one dying. Maura didn’t feel as free to either speak or to silently pray with one hand resting on the shoulder of her host. Nick (Nicolai ____) felt similarly inhibited, though less so.

    They soon grew accustomed to each other, though. Nick found himself hoping Maura would be there. Maura was more changeable. Sometimes she hoped he wasn’t there, but some nights she actually prayed he would be.

    • http://joebunting.com Joe Bunting

      Wow, this is so good Sarah. So imaginative. I’m fascinated and wondering where this all leads!

      • http://writeitanyway.com Sarah Lentz

        Thanks, Joe! It’s taking shape as I work on it. Your response to the beginning encourages me. Have a great day and weekend! :)

  • Debra johnson

    That is such a great question, every time I get frustrated with a writing project and stop I ask myself why do this, why am I compelled to write… The other day as I was working on the rough draft of my next book, it came to me- I’m an artist. My writing long hand and making the strokes with my pen or pencil to create words is like an artists brush strokes which will create a picture. Writing is rhythmic,when my fingers glide over the keyboard it’s like a dancers graceful moves on the dance floor…. To be alive is to be creative and to be creative is to be me.

    • http://joebunting.com Joe Bunting

      Yeah! Love this. Thanks Debra.

  • Marcy Mason McKay

    I guess mine falls under, “to feel alive.” This isn’t grammatically correct, but my brain always thinks: I CAN’T NOT WRITE. It’s whom I am. Thanks for sharing, Joe.

    • http://joebunting.com Joe Bunting

      I can relate to that. Thanks Marcy!

  • BobM

    Not a ‘writer’ but do write casually and recently did a post, at a new site, on this same subject, with several different reasons – http://www.shouldyouwrite.com/four-reasons-why-we-write/ Thanks for what you do…

  • http://storiesmadepowerful.com/ Arlen Miller

    You’ve touched on some hotspots there, Sir.

    I think you pulled it off right here: “We write to be fully alive. Writing draws us into the moment. We see the
    blades of grass, hear the miniscule chirp of the morning cricket, watch
    the shade travel from one edge of the yard to the other, seemingly for
    the first time.”

    Powerful stuff. Thanks, Mr. Joe.

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