Why We Write
“An incurable itch for scribbling takes possession of many, and grows inveterate in their insane breasts.” —Juvenal
Can one fall in love with the act of writing—that magical feeling of getting lost in one’s own thoughts? If not love, then it’s surely madness. Those can be the only two explanations for what possesses a writer to sit, hunched over, for hours on end until their whole body is stiff and numb; their souls drained and hearts aching.
This is especially true for the unknown writer—the writer who writes for no one. The writer who writes so their mind can rest, even if it’s just for a moment, without the barrage of ideas eating away at it—wrecking its ability to focus on any single task other than the story.
Can this really be love? It seems more like an obsession; sometimes telling the difference between the two is impossible. Most writers hate everything they put to the page—hating their own thoughts as it were. But does love not exist without hate?
Perhaps it’s the want—the absolute need to create that drives the writer. They need to write or they are finished, laid bare for all to see. Is this how one could hate writing while being so dependent on it?
Certainly one could not be expected to sit and write if they did not enjoy anything about it. But if this is true, why are many writers so completely tortured? Or is writing the only thing keeping them hanging on to that tiny piece of rope; the rope hanging from the edge of utter despair?
Much like the writers themselves, the answers are varied and reclusive. One could dig and dig for a thousand years, but the true answers would never be unearthed. One could write for love, or for fortune, or fame, or respect, or any number of reasons, but the most important thing in the world is that they write—that they put their obsession to paper. For this is the only real way to free the writer’s mind—if only for a moment.