Why Write?

I asked a couple friends recently if they enjoyed writing. They all said the same thing. “No.”

So, why write? Most people will say, “Because I have to.” I suspect many of these same people have bad memories of diagramming compound sentences in middle school or writing summaries of books they never read in high school or regurgitating boring material for research papers in college.

Not everybody can be a famous writer. Then again, not everybody can be a famous Olympic swimmer either. Not everybody has a body like Michael Phelps or the drive to train like he did or the competitive fire that burned in his belly.

Great writers have the ability to work magic with their words. Sure, they may have a natural gift for sharing the language, but greatness came as a result of study, hard work and practice, as with any craft.

Not everybody can make me laugh out loud, but Dave Barry can. I remember reading his weekly column every Sunday morning. I would sit by myself and laugh my head off. If my wife heard me, she’d poke her head into the room and say, “Reading Dave Barry again?” To this day, whenever I need a good laugh, I’ll go back and re-read one of his old columns.

Not everybody can make the hair on the back of my neck stand up, but Stephen King can. Remember the creepy foreshadowing in Pet Sematary? As soon as Louis Creed’s cat came back to life after being buried in the woods, I knew he was going to take his dead child there.

Not everybody can make time stand still, but Lee Child can. I can hardly wait to get to the parts of his stories where he slows time down to second-by-second descriptions of Jack Reacher battering another hapless villain.

Not everybody can make my jaw drop, but James Michener can. His opening chapter of Hawaii where he describes the formation of those beautiful Pacific islands is an epic piece of writing.

Not everybody can bring a literary character to life, but Nelson DeMille can. John Corey’s cocky banter is hilarious! It makes him seem immature and gets him into a lot of trouble, but don’t be fooled, he’s still a damn good detective.

Not everybody can make it difficult to put down a 465-page historical biography, but Ron Chernow can. His retelling of the life of Alexander Hamilton was pure genius.

Writing can be a drudgery when you’re forced to do it. Writing can be a joy when you choose to do it. If you want to write, write! If you have a story to tell, don’t overthink it. Sit down and start writing. Let the words tumble out of your brain whenever you feel inspired.

Why write? Because it’s fun. It’s cathartic. It’s a great way to express your inner being. The written word is the thread that binds the writer to the reader. So, go ahead, write without fear! Who knows? You might become the next J. K. Rowling!

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