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The art and life of Mark di Suvero

why i love writing essays

Photograph of light on water by Aayugoyal . Licensed under CC0 4.0.

I encountered Joan Didion’s famous line about why she writes—“entirely to find out what I’m thinking”—many times before I read the essay it comes from, and was reminded once again to never assume you know what anything means out of context. I had always thought the line was about her essays, about writing nonfiction to discover her own beliefs—because of course the act of making an argument clear on the page brings clarity to the writer too. She may have believed that; she may have thought it a truth too obvious to state. In any case, it’s not what she meant. She was talking about why she writes fiction :

I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means … Why did the oil refineries around Carquinez Strait seem sinister to me in the summer of 1956? Why have the night lights in the Bevatron burned in my mind for twenty years? What is going on in these pictures in my mind?

These pictures, Didion writes, are “images that shimmer around the edges,” reminiscent of “an illustration in every elementary psychology book showing a cat drawn by a patient in varying stages of schizophrenia.” (I know these frightening psychedelic cats, the art of Louis Wain, very well—I saw them as a child, in just such a book, which I found on my parents’ shelves.) Play It As It Lays , she explains, began “with no notion of ‘character’ or ‘plot’ or even ‘incident,’” but with pictures. One was of a woman in a short white dress walking through a casino to make a phone call; this woman became Maria. The Bevatron (a particle accelerator at Berkeley Lab) was one of the pictures in her mind when she began writing A Book of Common Prayer . Fiction, for Didion, was the task of finding “the grammar in the picture,” the corresponding language: “The arrangement of the words matters, and the arrangement you want can be found in the picture in your mind. The picture dictates the arrangement.” This is a much stranger reason to write than to clarify an argument. It makes me think of the scenes that I sometimes see just before I fall asleep. I know I’m still awake—they’re not as immersive as dreams—but they seem to be something that’s happening to me, not something I’m creating. I’m not manning the projector.

Nabokov spoke of shimmers too. “Literature was born on the day when a boy came crying wolf, wolf and there was no wolf behind him,” he said in a lecture in 1948. “Between the wolf in the tall grass and the wolf in the tall story, there is a shimmering go-between.” In this view, it seems to me, the writer’s not the wraith who can pass between realms of reality and fantasy. The art itself is the wraith, which the artist only grasps at. Elsewhere, Nabokov writes that inspiration comes in the form of “a prefatory glow, not unlike some benign variety of the aura before an epileptic attack.” In his Paris Review interview, Martin Amis describes the urge to write this way: “What happens is what Nabokov described as a throb. A throb or a glimmer, an act of recognition on the writer’s part. At this stage the writer thinks, Here is something I can write a novel about.” Amis also saw images, a sudden person in a setting, as if a pawn had popped into existence on a board: “With Money , for example, I had an idea of a big fat guy in New York, trying to make a film. That was all.” Likewise for Don DeLillo: “The scene comes first, an idea of a character in a place. It’s visual, it’s Technicolor—something I see in a vague way. Then sentence by sentence into the breach.” For these writers that begin from something like hallucination, the novel is a universe that justifies the image, a replica of Vegas to be built out of words.

William Faulkner wrote The Sound and the Fury five separate times, “trying to tell the story, to rid myself of the dream.” “It began with a mental picture,” he told Jean Stein in 1956, “of the muddy seat of a little girl’s drawers in a pear tree.” He couldn’t seem to get it right, to find the picture’s grammar, or hear it. (According to Didion, “It tells you. You don’t tell it.”) This was part of the work, this getting it wrong—Faulkner believed failure was what kept writers going, and that if you ever could write something equal to your vision, you’d kill yourself. In his own Paris Review interview, Ted Hughes tells a story about Thomas Hardy’s vision of a novel—“all the characters, many episodes, even some dialogue—the one ultimate novel that he absolutely had to write”—which came to him up in an apple tree. This may be apocryphal, but I hope it isn’t. (I imagine him on a ladder, my filigree on the myth.) By the time he came down “the whole vision had fled,” Hughes said, like an untold dream. We have to write while the image is shimmering.

There is often something compulsive about the act of writing, as if to cast out invasive thoughts. Kafka said, “God doesn’t want me to write, but I—I must.” Hughes wondered if poetry might be “a revealing of something that the writer doesn’t actually want to say but desperately needs to communicate, to be delivered of.” It’s the fear of discovery, then, that makes poems poetic, a way of telling riddles in the confession booth. “The writer daren’t actually put it into words, so it leaks out obliquely,” Hughes said. Speaking of Sylvia Plath, in 1995, he added, “You can’t overestimate her compulsion to write like that. She had to write those things—even against her most vital interests. She died before she knew what The Bell Jar and the Ariel poems were going to do to her life, but she had to get them out.” Jean Rhys also looked at writing as a purgative process: “I would write to forget, to get rid of sad moments.” Some reach a point where the writing is almost involuntary. The novelist Patrick Cottrell has said he only writes when he absolutely has to. “I have to feel borderline desperate,” he said, and “going long periods without writing” helps feed the desperation. Ann Patchett, in an essay called “Writing and a Life Lived Well,” writes that working on a novel is like living a double life, “my own and the one I create.” It’s much easier not to be working on a novel—I sometimes hear novelists speak of a work in progress as an all-consuming crisis—but the ease of not working, after a while, feels cheap: “this life lived only for myself takes on a certain lightness that I find almost unbearable.”

Some writers write in the name of Art in general—James Salter for instance: “A great book may be an accident, but a good one is a possibility, and it is thinking of that that one writes. In short, to achieve.” Eudora Welty said she wrote “for it , for the pleasure of it .” Or as Joy Williams puts it, in a wonderfully strange essay called “Uncanny the Singing that Comes from Certain Husks,” “The writer doesn’t write for the reader. He doesn’t write for himself, either. He writes to serve … something. Somethingness. The somethingness that is sheltered by the wings of nothingness—those exquisite, enveloping, protecting wings.” Is that somethingness the wraith, the shimmering go-between? Or a godlike observer? “The writer writes to serve,” she writes, “that great cold elemental grace which knows us.”

Though Faulkner felt a duty toward the work that superseded all other ethics (“If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ is worth any number of old ladies”!), he also found writing fun, at least when it was new. David Foster Wallace, in a piece from the 1998 anthology Why I Write , edited by Will Blythe, agrees: “In the beginning, when you first start out trying to write fiction, the whole endeavor’s about fun … You’re writing almost wholly to get yourself off.” (He’s not the only writer in the volume to describe writing as physical, almost sexual pleasure; William Vollmann claims he would write just for thrills but also likes getting paid, “like a good prostitute.”) But once you’ve been published, the innocent pleasure is tainted. “The motive of pure personal fun starts to get supplanted by the motive of being liked,” Wallace writes, and the fun “is offset by a terrible fear of rejection.” Beyond the pleasure in itself, the fun for fun’s sake, writing for fun wards off ego and blinding vanity.

For every author who finds writing fun there is one for whom it’s pain, for whom Nabokov’s shimmerings would not be benign but premonitions of the suffering. Ha Jin said, “To write is to suffer.” Spalding Gray said, “Writing is like a disease.” Truman Capote, in his introduction to The Collected Works of Jane Bowles , and perhaps a particularly self-pitying mood, called writing “the hardest work around.” Annie Dillard said that “writing sentences is difficult whatever their subject”—and further, “It is no less difficult to write sentences in a recipe than sentences in Moby-Dick . So you might as well write Moby-Dick .” (Annie Dillard says such preposterous things—“Some people eat cars”!) It’s fashionable now to object on principle to the idea that writing is hard. Writing isn’t hard, this camp says; working in coal mines is hard. Having a baby is hard. But this is a category error. Writing isn’t hard the way physical labor, or recovery from surgery, is hard; it’s hard the way math or physics is hard, the way chess is hard. What’s hard about art is getting any good—and then getting better. What’s hard is solving problems with infinite solutions and your finite brain.

Then there’s the question of whether the pain comes from writing or the writing comes from pain. “I’ve never written when I was happy,” Jean Rhys said. “I didn’t want to … When I think about it, if I had to choose, I’d rather be happy than write.” Bud Smith has said he’s only prolific because he ditched all his other hobbies, so all he can do is write—but “people are probably better off with a yard, a couple kids, and sixteen dogs.” Here’s Williams again: “Writing has never given me any pleasure.” And then there’s Dorothy Parker, simply: “I hate writing.” I love writing, but I hate almost everything about being a writer. The striving, the pitching, the longueurs and bureaucracy of publishing, the professional jealousy, the waiting and waiting and waiting for something to happen that might make it all feel worth it. But when I’m actually writing, I’m happy.

Didion borrowed the title of her lecture “Why I Write” from George Orwell, who in his essay of this name outlined four potential reasons why anyone might write: “sheer egoism” (Gertrude Stein claimed she wrote “for praise,” like Wallace in his weaker moments); “aesthetic enthusiasm” or the mere love of beauty (William Gass: “The poet, every artist, is a maker, a maker whose aim is to make something supremely worthwhile, to make something inherently valuable in itself”); “historical impulse,” or “desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity”; and finally “political purpose.” This last cause was what mattered to Orwell. “Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936”—he was writing this ten years later—“has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic Socialism, as I understand it.” He considered it “nonsense, in a period like our own, to think that one can avoid writing of such subjects.”

I’m unsure if Orwell meant that avoiding moral subjects was an unthinkable error, or a true impossibility, in the sense that one can’t escape the spirit of the age. Was any post-war novel, any novel written or even read in 1946, a war novel ineluctably? Kazuo Ishiguro has said he never writes to assert a moral: “I like to highlight some aspect of being human. I’m not really trying to say, so don’t do this, or do that. I’m saying, this is how it feels to me.” But having a moral, a didactic lesson, and being moral are different. Writers might try to avoid an argument and fail, even if it is less a thesis than an emergent property, a slow meaning that arises through cause and effect or mere juxtaposition. Ishiguro’s novels, in the course of unfolding, do triangulate a worldview. John Gardner would say, if the work is didactic, that means it’s too simple: “The didactic writer is anything but moral because he is always simplifying the argument.” (He also said, hilariously, “If you believe that life is fundamentally a volcano full of baby skulls, you’ve got two main choices as an artist: You can either stare into the volcano and count the skulls for the thousandth time and tell everybody, There are the skulls; that’s your baby, Mrs. Miller. Or you can try to build walls so that fewer baby skulls go in.”) The book can also stand in as an argument for its own existence. Toni Morrison wrote her first novel to fill what she saw as a treacherous gap in literature, to create a kind of book that she had always wanted to read but couldn’t find—a book about “those most vulnerable, most undescribed, not taken seriously little black girls.” Her ambition was not to make white people empathize with black girls. “I’m writing for black people,” Morrison once said, “in the same way that Tolstoy was not writing for me.”

Only one writer in the Blythe anthology, a magazine writer named Mark Jacobson, claims he does it “for the money.” (“What other reason could there be? For my soul? Gimme a break.”) No one in the book claims they do it for fame, though the luster of fame is tempting, distracting. In a TV documentary about Madonna that I saw many years ago, she said she always knew she wanted to be famous, and didn’t really care how she got there—music was just the path that worked out. This is not so different from Susan Sontag, who was also obsessed with fame from an early age. Plath too made such confessions in her diary. Capote often said he always knew he would be rich and famous. I think the wish for fame is reasonable, since practically there’s not much money in writing unless you are famous. For most the rewards are meager. As Salter writes, “So much praise is given to insignificant things that there is hardly any sense in striving for it.” The thing about success, good fortune, and maybe even happiness is this: You can see that there are people who “deserve” whatever you have as much as you do but have less, as well as people who “deserve” it less or equally and have more. So, at the same time, you want more and feel you don’t deserve what you have. It’s a source of anxiety, guilt, and resentment and troubles the very idea of what one “deserves.” In the end I believe you don’t deserve anything; you get what you get.

I’ve been collecting these theories of why writers write because so many writers have written about it. I love reading writers on writing. I love writers on their bullshit. During the first year of the pandemic, I started listening obsessively to interview podcasts. At first this was strategic. I had a book coming out, and I thought of them as training; I thought they would help me get better at talking about my own book. But I was also lonely. I wasn’t going to readings or parties, and I missed writers’ voices. The practice has diminishing comforts. After a while most writers sound the same, and some days, after bingeing on writers, I can start to feel pointless, interchangeable. Faulkner said he disliked giving interviews because the artist was “of no importance”: “If I had not existed, someone else would have written me, Hemingway, Dostoyevsky, all of us.” (And yet he named himself as one of the five most important authors of the twentieth century; there are limits to humility.) Some days I think the very question is banal, like photos of a writer’s “workspace.” They’re all just desks! Why write? Why do anything? Why not write? It’s the same as the impulse to make a handprint in wet concrete or trace your finger in the mist on a window. What you wrote, as a kid, on a window was the simplest version of the vision. Why that vision? Why that vision, and why you?

Tillie Olsen, in her 1965 essay “Silences,” called the not-writing that has to happen sometimes—“what Keats called agonie ennuyeuse (the tedious agony)”—instead “natural silences,” or “necessary time for renewal, lying fallow, gestation.” Breaks or blocks, times when the author has nothing to say or can only repeat themselves, are the opposite of “the unnatural thwarting of what struggles to come into being, but cannot.” The unnatural silence of writers is suppression of the glimmer. This is Melville who, in Olsen’s words, was “damned by dollars into a Customs House job; to have only weary evenings and Sundays left for writing.” And likewise Hardy, who stopped writing novels after “the Victorian vileness to his Jude the Obscure ,” Olsen writes, though he lived another thirty years—thirty years gone, gone as that novel in the apple tree. She quotes a line from his poem “The Missed Train”: “Less and less shrink the visions then vast in me.” And this same fate came to Olsen herself, who wrote what she wrote in “snatches of time” between jobs and motherhood, until “there came a time when this triple life was no longer possible. The fifteen hours of daily realities became too much distraction for the writing.” I read Olsen’s essay during a period in my life when stress from my day job, among other sources, was making it especially difficult to write. I didn’t have the energy to do both jobs well, but I couldn’t choose between them, so I did both badly. Like Olsen, I’d lost “craziness of endurance.”

James Thurber said “the characteristic fear of the American writer” is aging—we fear we’ll get old and die or simply lose the mental capacity to do the work we want to do, to make our little bids for immortality. Of late I’ve been obsessed with the idea of a “body of work.” I’ve gotten it into my head that seven books, even short, minor books, will constitute a body of work, my body of work. When I finish, if I finish, seven books I can retire from writing, or die. But how long can the corpus really outlast the corpse? I heard Nicholson Baker on a podcast say his grandfather, or maybe some uncle or other, was a well-known writer in his day and is now totally unknown. Unless we’re very, very famous, we’ll be forgotten that quickly, he said, so you might as well write what you want. I think about that a lot. Since I don’t have children, I have more time to write than Tillie Olsen did. But I don’t have that built-in generation of buffer between my death and obscurity. At least I won’t be around to know I’m not known. DeLillo again: “We die indoors, and alone.”

That year when I walked so much while listening to writers that I wore clean holes through my shoes, I kept asking myself why I write—or more so, why my default state is writing, since on any given day I might be writing for morality, Art, or attention, for just a little money. (I can’t go very long without writing, though I can go for a while without writing something good.) I think I write to think—not to find out what I think; surely I know what I already think—but to do better thinking. Staring at my laptop screen makes me better at thinking. Even thinking about writing makes me better at thinking. And when I’m thinking well, I can sometimes write that rare, rare sentence or paragraph that feels exactly right, only in the sense that I found the exact right sequence of words and punctuation to express my own thought—the grammar in the thought. That rightness feels so good, like sinking an unlikely shot in pool. The ball is away and apart from you, but you feel it in your body, the knowledge of causation. Never mind luck or skill or free will, you caused that effect—you’re alive!

Elisa Gabbert is the author of six collections of poetry, essays, and criticism, most recently Normal Distance, out from Soft Skull in September 2022, and  The Unreality of Memory & Other Essays. She writes the “On Poetry” column for the New York Times, a nd her work has appeared recently in Harper’s, The Atlantic, The New York Review of Books, and The Believer.

What Do You Love Most About Writing?

You’re a writer and you love writing. Right? It’s hard work, sure, but you know you love it.

Don’t deny it. Are there times when you hate it? Of course. It’s tough when the words don’t come and your fingers won’t move, and nothing irritates you more than someone saying, “Just start.” or “Just write.”

Yeah, there’s a bridge, just jump why don’t you? Because it’s not that easy. So when it comes to writing it helps to remind yourself, not only why you started writing, but more along the lines of what do you LOVE most about writing?

I want you to think about that. Seriously. It’s important. By the end of this post have your answer ready, you’re going to need it.

Quotes from writers about what they love most about writing:

I’ve been a member of an online writing course, Tribe Writers, for about 3 years. The course is taught by the blogging Jedi, Jeff Goins. What started out as a writing course has turned into a wonderful writing community where I enjoy hanging my hat.

Tribe Writers are great people, doing great things and so I asked them earlier this week if they would share quotes for this post about what they love most about writing. These quotes should prove inspirational and remind you why you love writing, too.

Here are their answers:

Writing helps me see the joy in being alive. ― Pamela Hodges www.ipaintiwrite.com
Writing is like a soothing balm to my soul – cleansing, refreshing, and renews life within! ― Clara Lucca Hinton www.silentgriefsupport.com
What I love most about writing are the moments of resonance: when my words sound in someone and bring the healing, laughter, or understanding they need to live out loud. ― Dayna Bickham www.daynabickham.com
Writing allows me to share what’s inside to those on the outside. Writing allows me to be connected to other souls. ― David Mike www.dilemmamike.com
When I write, I feel like the truest version of myself. ― Nicole Gulotta www.eatthispoem.com
Because of writing I believe I can live a story as good as the one I’m telling. And I believe I can help others live a better one too. ― Marshall Coleman www.marshallcoleman.net
Writing is a gift we give ourselves as we allow life affirming truths flow through us to others. ― Susan Scott www.SusanAScott.com
Writing lets you grow where you are planted. No matter your circumstances, you can always write about where you are. ― Don Abbott www.thesnarkygardener.com
You can write your way out of writer’s doubt. The more you write, the more you’ll believe you can. ― Lorna Faith www.lornafaith.com
Some things in life are best first written down and writing them down is sometimes better than opening one’s mouth before we’ve thought it through. Once written, too much thinking might be like putting water into wine!. ― Robert Hamilton www.writehonest.com
Writing lets me capture ideas and passions and blogging helps me index them for reflection. ― Brooke Gordon www.weekbyweek.ca
I believe in the power of words. I have been changed by the words in books. I write to prevent child abuse, to improve the lives of parents, and eventually change the next generation. ― Jayna Coppedge www.jaynac.com
I write to remind myself of what’s true, to find beauty & hope, to build a better future, create a brighter world. ― Sarah Simmons www.beautifulbetween.com
Writing gives a home to all the random, disconnected thoughts which run through my mind keeping me awake at night. I get to create something cohesive and beautiful and to touch others with my words in the process. ― Kamsin Kaneko www.lifeinthekeyofe.com
Writing helps me escape reality, create new realities, and connect with real people and places in amazing ways. I love writing. ― David Villalva www.davidvillalva.com
I love the fact that I can create a whole new world, something no one else has ever seen. And through that world, I can communicate truth and beauty and grace. Things there aren’t enough of in this world. ― Nicole Mackey www.nicolemackey.com
Writing reminds me of who I really am. It gives voice to the whisper inside me in a loud world. ― Becky Hastings www.myinkdance.com
Writing gives me the ultimate freedom of self-expression without limits. ― Sean Van Zant www.lovinggodlovingpeople.net
Writing is something I cannot, not, do. America needs wisdom on how to create healthier relationships. I am committed to writing and sharing 33 years of research and study to this end. ― Kellie Frazier www.lovedifferently.info
Writing is like a prayer, whispered in words channeled through my fingers: From my muse to you. ― Sandra Gardner www.tallredpoppy.com
I love writing and being able to connect people with the emotions they’ve lost. ― Anne Gollias Peterson www.annepeterson.com

Thank you, Tribe Writers . Awesome!

You want to know what I love most about writing?

The people I meet.

I love getting together with fellow writers in the trenches. I love talking about writing. I love reading about writing. I love writing. But what I love most about writing is that it brings me together with a wonder group of people who are writers.

Really. I’m tearing up. I love you people! Dang it.

So now it’s your turn. Remember, I asked you to be ready with your answer by the end of this post.

What I would like you to do is post your answer as to what you love most about writing in the comments, and as did my fellow Tribe Writers above, include your blog or website’s address.

Have fun! C’mon, don’t be shy. You know you love writing and now it’s time to share the reason and inspire someone else.

Bryan Hutchinson

I became a writer because I saw a ghost. I had my first paranormal experience when I was 8 years old. At first, I thought it was just me and that I had 'night terrors.' It turns out that I wasn't imagining things. I've wanted to write about that experience for over 30 years. And so, yes, it literally is the reason I became a writer. Now, I've finally done it! I've written the story. You can get a copy at most online booksellers, or click here .

I’m a Writer! But I Feel Like a Fake, A Ridiculous Phony

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Before You Write a Love Essay, Read This to Get Examples

The day will come when you can’t escape the fate of all students: You will have to write a what is love essay.

No worries:

Here you’ll find tons of love essay topics and examples. No time to read everything? Scroll down to get a free PDF with original samples.

Definition: Essay on Love

First, let’s define what is love essay?

The most common topics are:

  • Definition of love
  • What is love?
  • Meaning of love

Why limit yourself to these hackneyed, general themes? Below, I’ll show how to make your paper on love original yet relevant to the prompt you get from teachers.

Love Essay Topics: 20 Ideas to Choose for Your Paper

Your essay on love and relationship doesn’t have to be super official and unemotional. It’s ok to share reflections and personal opinions when writing about romance.

Often, students get a general task to write an essay on love. It means they can choose a theme and a title for their paper. If that’s your case,  feel free to try any of these love essay topics:

  • Exploring the impact of love on individuals and relationships.
  • Love in the digital age: Navigating romance in a tech world.
  • Is there any essence and significance in unconditional love?
  • Love as a universal language: Connecting hearts across cultures.
  • Biochemistry of love: Exploring the process.
  • Love vs. passion vs. obsession.
  • How love helps cope with heartbreak and grief.
  • The art of loving. How we breed intimacy and trust.
  • The science behind attraction and attachment.
  • How love and relationships shape our identity and help with self-discovery.
  • Love and vulnerability: How to embrace emotional openness.
  • Romance is more complex than most think: Passion, intimacy, and commitment explained.
  • Love as empathy: Building sympathetic connections in a cruel world.
  • Evolution of love. How people described it throughout history.
  • The role of love in mental and emotional well-being.
  • Love as a tool to look and find purpose in life.
  • Welcoming diversity in relations through love and acceptance.
  • Love vs. friendship: The intersection of platonic and romantic bonds.
  • The choices we make and challenges we overcome for those we love.
  • Love and forgiveness: How its power heals wounds and strengthens bonds.

Love Essay Examples: Choose Your Sample for Inspiration

Essays about love are usually standard, 5-paragraph papers students write in college:

  • One paragraph is for an introduction, with a hook and a thesis statement
  • Three are for a body, with arguments or descriptions
  • One last passage is for a conclusion, with a thesis restatement and final thoughts

Below are the ready-made samples to consider. They’ll help you see what an essay about love with an introduction, body, and conclusion looks like.

What is love essay: 250 words

Lao Tzu once said, “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” Indeed, love can transform individuals, relationships, and our world.

A word of immense depth and countless interpretations, love has always fascinated philosophers, poets, and ordinary individuals. This  emotion breaks boundaries and has a super power to change lives. But what is love, actually?

It’s a force we feel in countless ways. It is the warm embrace of a parent, filled with care and unwavering support. It is the gentle touch of a lover, sparking a flame that ignites passion and desire. Love is the kind words of a friend, offering solace and understanding in times of need. It is the selfless acts of compassion and empathy that bind humanity together.

Love is not confined to romantic relationships alone. It is found in the family bonds, the connections we forge with friends, and even the compassion we extend to strangers. Love is a thread that weaves through the fabric of our lives, enriching and nourishing our souls.

However, love is not without its complexities. It can be both euphoric and agonizing, uplifting and devastating. Love requires vulnerability, trust, and the willingness to embrace joy and pain. It is a delicate balance between passion and compassion, independence and interdependence.

Finally, the essence of love may be elusive to define with mere words. It is an experience that surpasses language and logic, encompassing a spectrum of emotions and actions. Love is a profound connection that unites us all, reminding us of our shared humanity and the capacity for boundless compassion.

What is love essay: 500 words

why i love writing essays

A 500-word essay on why I love you

Trying to encapsulate why I love you in a mere 500 words is impossible. My love for you goes beyond the confines of language, transcending words and dwelling in the realm of emotions, connections, and shared experiences. Nevertheless, I shall endeavor to express the depth and breadth of my affection for you.

First and foremost, I love you for who you are. You possess a unique blend of qualities and characteristics that captivate my heart and mind. Your kindness and compassion touch the lives of those around you, and I am grateful to be the recipient of your unwavering care and understanding. Your intelligence and wit constantly challenge me to grow and learn, stimulating my mind and enriching our conversations. You have a beautiful spirit that radiates warmth and joy, and I am drawn to your vibrant energy.

I love the way you make me feel. When I am with you, I feel a sense of comfort and security that allows me to be my true self. Your presence envelops me in a cocoon of love and acceptance, where I can express my thoughts, fears, and dreams without fear of judgment. Your support and encouragement inspire me to pursue my passions and overcome obstacles. With you by my side, I feel empowered to face the world, knowing I have a partner who believes in me.

I love the memories we have created together. From the laughter-filled moments of shared adventures to the quiet and intimate conversations, every memory is etched in my heart. Whether exploring new places, indulging in our favorite activities, or simply enjoying each other’s company in comfortable silence, each experience reinforces our bond. Our shared memories serve as a foundation for our relationship, a testament to the depth of our connection and the love that binds us.

I love your quirks and imperfections. Your true essence shines through these unique aspects! Your little traits make me smile and remind me of the beautiful individual you are. I love how you wrinkle your nose when you laugh, become lost in thought when reading a book, and even sing off-key in the shower. These imperfections make you human, relatable, and utterly lovable.

I love the future we envision together. We support each other’s goals, cheering one another on as we navigate the path toward our dreams. The thought of building a life together, creating a home filled with love and shared experiences, fills my heart with anticipation and excitement. The future we imagine is one that I am eager to explore with you by my side.

In conclusion, the reasons why I love you are as vast and varied as the universe itself. It is a love that defies logic and surpasses the limitations of language. From the depths of my being, I love you for the person you are, the way you make me feel, the memories we cherish, your quirks and imperfections, and the future we envision together. My love for you is boundless, unconditional, and everlasting.

A 5-paragraph essay about love

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Why I Love Writing Essay Example

I’ve always loved to read and write. Reading and writing have always come easy to me. I don’t write as well, sometimes, at school because it’s not something I want to write about. 

I remember reading different children's books with my parents when I was younger. My parents read, “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish,” “The Cat in the Hat,” and “Green Eggs and Ham,” to me. Normally they would read with me before bed or sometime in the evening. My parents helped me the most. They would explain things in the books that I wouldn’t understand and helped me read them out loud, and know what they meant. I liked to read at night by myself before I went to bed. I started reading at night around 4th grade and stopped around my freshman year. 

When I first start reading a book, I struggle to get invested in the story, but over time I start to enjoy the plot. I enjoy reading fiction books the most. I also enjoy starting a series instead of reading a singular book. I read to envision a whole other world. Fiction books have so many possibilities, and at times, help me be more creative with my own imagination. I get intimidated by poetry or books/stories from long ago (i.e., Shakespeare, etc.)

My first memories of writing are in elementary school. In my 4th and 5th grade years, my teachers would let us have free time to write whatever we wanted. We then would go around to everybody's stories and give them feedback. I liked this a lot because I could write about whatever I wanted. I felt like I was a great writer, for my age, because I taught myself how to use the correct grammar and punctuation in my own writing. I like writing because ultimately it is YOUR story. YOU can envision anything in your writing and be as creative as you want. 

I enjoy writing now because I am good at it. I like being able to write about whatever I want. When I get writing assignments at school, I don’t really like it or want to do it. Most of the time these writings don’t matter to me because I don’t really have a connection to the writing. It just feels forced to write something assigned to me. I feel proud once I am done writing because I can see my own story unfold, and I see all my creative thoughts on paper. One thing that intimidates me is the time I have to dedicate to writing the story. I tend to procrastinate a lot, but I think this has made me a better writer. It has taught me how to write under pressure. 

I am still learning many things about writing. I view myself as a pretty good reader and writer. I see myself writing more in the future as I learn more aspects of language and literature. I enjoy reading and writing, but still have WAY more to learn about it.

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The Write Practice

Why Do We Write? 4 Key Reasons Why Telling and Sharing Stories Matters

by Joe Bunting | 214 comments

Why do we write? Nonfiction and fiction writing has been an instrumental way for people to connect to one another in the real world.

why do we write?

Stories are about change, and by reading and watching them we, ourselves, can change for the better.

But do people write for different reasons, and are some of those reasons more meaningful than others?

Are you sitting at your computer right now, possibly plunging through your first draft (or much later draft), and debating whether or not a writing career is the one for you?

Do you wonder if the written word is how you'll make your mark on the world—and if it is, is a writing career what you want in life?

Why Telling and Sharing Stories Matters

It's safe to say there are more writers now than at any other time in history.

At the beginning of my writing career, I went to the AWP conference in Chicago, eager to learn and excited to start making connections with other writers. There were 10,000 other writers there. That was one conference years back.

Back when I first wrote this post, in 2012, the amount of creative writing programs at universities had exploded from about 50 in the 1980s to over 300 just in the US. There were over 110 million bloggers running their own blogs.

By now, I'm sure the numbers have only increased.

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.

What motivates us to keep going? How does writing make a positive difference in our own life, and in the lives of those around us?

4 Reasons Why We Write

Whether or not we're writing short stories for a high school assignment, finishing novels that we self-publish on Amazon, or writing full-time with the success of notable authors like Stephen King (wouldn't that be amazing?), we write for many reasons.

However, there are four main reasons why I write. I wonder if these will resonate with you:

1. To Be Alive

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.

The act of writing draws us into the moment. We see the blades of grass, hear the sharp 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 life, those ordinary moments we might otherwise overlook.

With each piece of writing, we're invited to see the world from a fresh perspective.

We seize an opportunity to ground ourselves in a point of view that can be our own—or that of a new character. One who waits eagerly to teach us something special about ourselves and our potentials.

Writing gives us a surplus of moments to really sympathize with a person, explore a world, and learn from a story in a way that reminds us what really matters in life.

We engender a growth mindset through writing—and writing deeply.

A writing life is rich with truth and adventures that bring our very beings to life.

2. 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. Writers who share their stories build a legacy that will also beyond their lifetimes.

Writing lets us make a mark on the present world and future generations—if writers have the courage to print their stories on paper, and then pass it on to a reader.

And, with some luck, that readers passes that story on to another reader, who passes it on again.

3. 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.

Instead of fueling destruction, we empower creation. 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.

And with each new world, new possibilities.

New stories, which not only complete the circle of life but enrich it.

4. 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.

That goal isn't synonymous with writing a best seller on the  New York Times  list—although, wouldn't that be nice?

You never know whose life your story could change.

That's why, deep down, we, as writers, understand that it's important to not only start but finish what we write.

We All Have Stories to Tell

Regardless of how many copies of a book you sell, stories share meaning and messages with patterns, and those patterns are absorbed and retained by people reaching out to the world for answers.

Each of our lives is a precious story in itself. And each of of us has an unlimited amount of stories to tell.

I hope that you will write your stories down for us. If your goal is to write your dream book in the new year, I hope you'll consider joining our writing community to get the support you deserve. Check out our Pro Practice Community today.  

What do you think? Why do you write, and why are there so many people writing today? Let us know in the comments .

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 Pro Practice Workshop , and be sure to leave feedback on a few posts by other writers.

How to Write Like Louise Penny

Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris , a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

Want best-seller coaching? Book Joe here.

Top 150 Short Story Ideas

214 Comments

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.  

Joe Bunting

Agreed, Jim.

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

rapidly clicking unsubscribe..and unfriending… 😉 

Marianne

I like your thought of a large audience.  

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.  

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 😉

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).

Cue the crickets and the silence!

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!

Thanks, Malia. I’m glad I got them all 🙂

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 …

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!

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.

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.

 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.

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. 

 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.

JB Lacaden

DO IT! Then post it here. 🙂

Christa

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.

I LOVE that, Nora.

Tom Wideman

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

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

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.

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.  

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!

Thanks Yalí, so glad you enjoyed it!

Pjreece

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

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. 

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!

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.

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

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

Just kidding community. I love you.

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

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?

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!

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

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!  🙂  

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

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.

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

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.

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.

Beck Gambill

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

You’re not alone, RD. 🙂

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.

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.  

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.  

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? 🙂

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.  

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

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.

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.

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

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

Anna Stroven

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

Thanks Anna 

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!

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

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

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.

Jeff Goins

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. 

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.

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!

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.

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

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. 

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!

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.

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!

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

Thanks Yvette!

Sandra D

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

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

alright I will look at it. 🙂 Thanks.

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. 

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.

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

Awesome, Tom. Isn’t he amazing?

“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?

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.  

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 🙂

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

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.

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

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  🙂

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.  

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

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.

Thanks, Shelley!

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. 

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.   

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.

Unisse Chua

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

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. 

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

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

Thank you Yvette. I love to experiment with new stuff 🙂

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

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 🙂

You’re welcome!

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.

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.

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.”

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.  

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!

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?

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

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

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!

Thanks ShelleyD!  It was fun to write.

“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.

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

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.

Debra johnson

Loved this piece, I used to have those cigar boxes to put all sorts of secret stuff as well. Think they came from my grand dad. They were the perfect size and depth for the many thing I treasured. And decorating them was the best part.

Wow, I love this.  So funny and great.

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

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!

Thanks! I appreciate it.

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.

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!”

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.

Putting the writing in the cigar box was funny.

Pete Reilich

I had to go back to the beginning to make sure it works. Because, you know, on first reading it leads to assuming it’s another anti-drugs public announcement ad. Does that make me a born editor?

nupur

this was so awesome!

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.)

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

Definitely. I know that’s true for me.

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.

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

Thank you, Marianne.  

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

Info

Thank you, Marla.  Skitter.  I like that.

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.

Love your honesty!

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

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

Mmm… I felt this. 

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

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

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. 

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!!!!! ^_^

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!”

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?

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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…

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.

stella

Good one there it is true..that if a man doesn’t read (write)he dies so many deaths before they actually die.

Why I write I search for “significance”. I find it and I have the urgent need to share it. I want other people to be touched as much as I am.

I am sitting infront of a window seeing the most amazing landscapes, action and moments. Through my window I see time and many other things unseen.

My inner eyes look, search and look again until I find that which moves me, hoping it will move you too.

brandon

why do people write let me know guys

Jessica Miller

The Night You Died

The night you died A part of me went with you The night you died My heart sank into my stomach The night you died My world collapsed The night you died My life fell apart The night you died I lost my best friend The night you died I lost my hero The night you died I lost my father

Jackie Murphey

I wrote because my children did not believe that no other white girl had grown up as a “Slave Girl” as I did. I never learned anythng that young girls should know. Plantation live was fun for me with nothing but 7 older brothers to play with as a three year old. Later, it was demanded, because I was good at it all. There were 70 to 80 hired hands on the plantation. I did it all. Did I learn to cook, sew, bring books home from school or read for fun? NO!

Raised in a culture that seemed as though the depression was never over, I clawed my way out of the darkness of naivete to find and experience a world I had never known. Writting this was harder than anything I ever did after going through seven years of college.

They made me do it! “They Called Me Jo: A White Slave Girl” By: Jacqi Fromauex

Justin Wheeler

I love freewriting. I did the exercise yesterday morning and I think it’s one of my better posts of late.

You can find it published here: http://www.justinwheeler.net/what-to-write-about-when-you-dont-know-what-to-write-about/

It’s the second time I have done this exercise in my latest attempt in becoming a daily blogger. 16 days and counting so far!

amanda anderson

we write to make our own little changer in the world. To make a name for our self to show the world what we want them to see. My parents always told me that if I ever wanted to make a change in the world we had to start some where. And if we didn’t like something and we did not try and changer it that we had no room to criticize about it.

Beth

I write because it makes me feel like I have a purpose. On my worst days, I feel absolutely terrible about myself. I try to channel that into my writing, this feeling of having no power and no hope. After a while, when I read back of what I’ve written, it makes me smile. Even on my worst days, I can dive into my imagination and create something beautiful.

D. Ellsworth Hoag

I write not ’cause I can I write ’cause I must Every day I skip Seems a total bust.

I write because I hear Rolling syllables in my head Which I must capture Lest they go dead.

I write to entertain To pull forth a laughter Or to paint a picture To sustain peace after.

I write to show the me That otherwise I hide To open up the depths That lay on the inside.

Lastly I write To pull the strings of your mind Hoping to give a perspective You otherwise might not find.

Glaedrfly

Three years later, this is still as true as every.

I write because it helps with my depression. I can find some normality out of something that feels crazy and scary.

WritingBoy

‘Write your Memoir: The Soul Work of Telling your Story by Allan G. Hunter.

I never knew why I wanted to write. Years ago I read a great book by an English lady writer who’s name I only remember as Marion. A quote from her book was, ‘write if you must’.

I’ve gathered from that, she meant something along the lines of, ‘you are in for a rough trot, fella!’ And it has been. However, I’m finding that the more I get into it and do my journal work, my practice work, all the ‘yadder-yadder-yadder’ that sounds like two marbles rattling round in a tin, seems to get knocked into a little bit more tolerable thinking processes. It also irons out a bit of stress also.

It appears that the desire to create is much stronger in some compared with others. And I think that actually has to be addressed; inasmuch as it needs to be qualified just why one wants to write. If there is no definite purpose writing, then, ‘you are in for a rough trot, fella!’

A young boy’s father had an apple orchard and he worked there during his school holidays. One day the foreman got the boy to assist in the irrigation of the trees.

The gate of the channel was opened and the water flowed in the general direction to where the boy stood. However, the water began to go all over the place and he was in a quandary as to what to do. The foreman came over and took the shovel out of the boy’s hands, and, with a few swift strokes of the shovel made a channel that sent the water in the required direction.

The foreman said, “If you want the water to stay on course; you’ve got to have somewhere for it to go.”

Right now unfortunately my writing has stalled and I dont know why… when I cant or dont write I find myself angry and mad about everything…. yet when i do write I am right with the world. it really doesnt make sense. I feel like I’m stuck in quick sand that wont pull me under or spit me back out to dry land. And I’ve tried other things like volunteering, coloring painting , and nothing is working… Suck a frustrating time.

paintedstardust

I never know what to write about! I truly love writing and I want to improve it but I let anxiety hold me back. The fear of being bad at something I love doing. The fear of people thinking I am weird. The fear to make mistakes. I recently got contacted by someone on tumblr who asked me to write for their website. I literally waited for weeks to write them and email. Just because I was scared. Yes, I am only 15. Yes, I don’t have any experience. Yes, English isn’t my first language. But does that mean that I shouldn’t take the opportunity to improve and learn? No, I shouldn’t. I wrote them an email 5 minutes ago and I sat looking at my screen for 20 minutes doubting if I should send the mail. I did but I doubted for a long time. I always find myself writing when I am either hurt, broken or empty. When things go better a couple months ago I just stopped writing. I think I wrote 4 pages in the past 4 months. That’s bad. I have to keep practicing and learning. Improving my writing style, broaden my vocabulary. But I don’t, it’s like I’d rather feel lazy and like a failure because I don’t writing anymore. Every time I have to write an essay for school I am reminded of my love for language and words. I love to just ramble on for hours. I love to write silly things, bad poems, stupid teenage crap. I remember how great I feel after I put down the pen. How great I feel when I find something good between all the crap I’ve written. I’d love to be a writer someday and I hope I one day will finally do what I love all day long. I’d love to learn to write about my happiness, about the way I fall in love with little things every day. I don’t want to keep describing my empty chest and the struggle of getting back up because that’s not my life. I can be very happy and I can be very sad. I should learn to appreciate both of them. Learn to express myself in more ways and to keep practicing. I hope the website gives me a chance to improve, learn and get to know myself more.

Billy Turner

Behind the Eyes of Gustaf

As I now look back, I realize that I had been a ready victim, but little did I realize it at the time, for after all it was spring, a time so unlike any other time of the year–a time that held promise of budding things to come. It had held promise for me as well. But like most promises, not all were meant to be fulfilled. Had I only known.

I shall never forget that spring day when I first met Gustaf. He was sitting on a wooden bench that appeared terribly uncomfortable; yet, he didn’t seem to mind, as he’d continued to laugh and talk with those young men who had gathered around him, and who had seemed to hang onto his every word.

He looked up just as I had cleared the very last stair. Our eyes met, and we each had the strangest expression on our faces.

Oddly enough, it was an expression that we had previously met, that we had been close friends, and that we had been reunited at long last, which struck me as rather odd, as I had never before met this man, for if I had, surely, I would have recalled.

As I stood staring and thinking, a most peculiar feeling began to surge within me, and recognizing it for what it was I blushed, caught my breath, and tried desperately to still my fast-beating heart. For I knew immediately what had caused me to feel so peculiar. In the strangest sort of way, I was simply drawn to this man.

I felt emotionally nude, as I stood there before him, while noticing his full smile at my obvious discomfiture. For under his penetrating gaze, I felt a sense of powerlessness, intrigue, and danger. But these were but a few of the things I was to feel and experience under his sell, as his masculine charm was indeed overwhelming.

Suddenly, I felt myself walking toward him, and just as suddenly I stopped. For although he’d said nothing to dissuade me, I felt that he had, as I was positive he’d said no, not now, later.

To be sure I had understood, I searched his face for confirmation. But there was none, except for the smile that had given way to a frown of annoyance which mean I had been dismissed.

Ever confused, I lowered my eyes as though I’d been chastised. I turned and walked reluctantly away, but ever determined to meet tis fascinating man again, a man who’d said so much, but who had actually said nothing.

In the strangest sense, Gustaf didn’t seem to belong to the world. Rather, the world seemed to belong to him, and oddly enough this was one of the most interesting aspects about him.

I sensed, too, that he’d never actually loved, but had been loved, which really didn’t seem to matter, as I doubted he was aware of this obvious flaw, since he seemed on a different plane, from a different time, if such a thing were possible.

Everything about him had attracted my attention. But at first, it was his voice and his laughter, which were so distinct, so different from anything I’d heard before, as there was gaiety for certain in his seemingly ever-deepening voice. But there was also an unmistakable tone of seriousness that I found quite interesting and most disturbing.

Gustaf didn’t seem to care about anything or anyone, which made him that much more desirable, and because of this he seemed terribly lonely, spent, and even somewhat distant.

There was also a discernible, ascetic quality about him–a detachment. For he seemed a traveler, never staying too long in any place, never establishing firm roots. I sensed, too, that he needed me most desperately, and because I had always needed someone it was ever refreshing to find someone who was in need of me.

His hair was closely cropped–neatly trimmed–and his skin appeared tanned. But it was his eyes that had been most arresting, as they’d seemed to hold some type of mystery, a genius untapped, a knowledge to impart. He seemed a teacher, but at the same time a student.

It was true Gustaf was strangely handsome, but there was an unsettling melancholy about his features which had immediately interested me, although this was not so apparent as it was to become later. For indeed, it was everything about him that was alluring, but at the same time contradictory. And it was this, I think, that made him unique, if not dangerous.

Readily, I admit Gustaf excited me and, at the same time, terrified me. I was to realize, however, that he held me firmly in an ever-tightening grip. But I wouldn’t have had it any other way, even though I had sensed the presence of evil in his company.

And although the encounter had been brief, I knew within my heart that he and I were destined to be together, but in what capacity I dared not guess, for this was to be in spite of my better judgment and my being overly pragmatic, because just this once I was to follow my foolish heart.

So it was. Whenever I think of spring, I’m ever reminded of Gustaf, and strangely enough, as spring comes and goes, so it was to be with him, for he suddenly came into my life, and he just as suddenly departed.

But unlike spring, however, Gustaf was not to return, at least, not as I had come to know him.

mi

I came here for lesson ideas for my 10th and 11th grade English classroom. I have loved writing all of my life and wish to pass that love on to others, but there are some that just don’t “get” it. There is a divine spark in some that are able to express themselves through writing, just as everyone has a spark for different things. For those students for whom writing isn’t their “thing,” I can offer them at best a formulaic approach to writing. It will get the job done. They will pass the test, and they will be able to present themselves intelligently to the world. I miss being a student, though. I miss the search for approval from my English teachers and the accolades I would receive on my papers. Writing for me was a very rewarding experience. I understand that not everyone has that experience, though, and so I try to encourage each student in their own way. “Search for the good,” they say. You will usually find whatever it is you are looking for. I miss writing, though. These days it seems I spent much more time reading other people’s (usually horrible) writing than getting to write on my own. I hope that I am not losing my gift. I hope that I am not becoming hardened with time. Writing is an art, it is not a science. Therefore, when an inexperienced writer takes some tip or “rule” that was meant to help in an inappropriate way, they become confused when I tell them that it does not work in this case. There are nuances to language; not all language rules are set in stone. I would like to write a book, eventually. Problem is that I don’t know what to write about! Sounds silly, but it’s true. When I took a creative writing course in high school I could write about anything, as long as I was given a prompt or topic. Now that I am an adult and on my own, the possibilities drag on like an infinite horizon in front of me. There are no paths carved out; I am all lost and alone in the magnitude of it all. My motivation for writing is to make my voice heard in the din, but to also speak for those who have no voice. I am a very observant person and would like to think that I can feel what other’s are feeling. I believe that the best writing builds empathy for others in its readers. I would like to write a book called “What It Means to be Human” about how easy it is to fail in this world. Perhaps it would be a tragedy, since the purpose of great tragedies is to build sympathy for the protagonist, but I do not think I could kill anybody off. I would want my hero to succeed in the end. The idea of being sympathetic for those who fail is an idea that is completely lost in our current society. We are told from a young age that success comes from hard work. But what is success? And what is hard work? I am sure the waitress working sub minimum wage works her tail off, but is she considered successful? Yes, I know… for every success story there is a “picking yourself up by your bootstraps” story of one’s rise from poverty to greatness. However, there are a great many other factors in these stories than simply hard work. One could spend their entire lives putting their nose to the grindstone, but if they have to purpose of goal, it will be wasted energy. So much of success is knowing the right people and being in the right place at the right time that it is impossible to simplify it down to simply hard work. That is what privileged people say to make you believe that they earned their privilege.

I want to write to make my audience feel something. I want to write something beautiful that will make my readers pause and feel like it is wonderful to be alive. I have felt this way about other works that I have read, works that opened my mind to the possibilities of our universe, such as Madeline L’Engle as a child, and I have felt this way upon reading the perfect explanation of a human emotion, such as Kate Chopin just this past summer. There are forevers in our feeble forms, eternities in our mortality. I wish to explore the unending depths of existence.

Jagz

I want to write to be remembered and to leave a legacy for family and friends.

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I´M GIVING A WRITING COURSE AND I´M SHOWING THIS WEBSITE TO MY STUDENTS. THEY ARE HAPPY TO READ YOU. THEY WERE ASKED TO START WRITING IN A BLOG. NEXT WEEK, THERE ARE HOLIDAYS IN MEXICO AND THEY´LL START DOING IT.

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I always live in some story of my own creation. I have been thinking to write a book. But, I feel low that whether I can. I fail to articulate the feel that I experience in thoughts into words or texts. Please, try to suggest me. Thank you.

Rahl24

Yeah, I really like this article. I write to make a name of myself.

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Seeking_Truth

Why do we laud and honor some writers? Why do we consider their writings so great? We quote, and quote, and quote. What makes those writers so noteworthy, or should I say quote-worthy? I read an article that quotes some famous person, and wonder why that person is given such credence. What makes their thoughts so great? Why is their opinion any better than an opposing opinion? Maybe we quote someone just to back up our opinion. I am of the opinion that all writings are opinion. Even the Bible is opinion. It’s God’s opinion, so I value it more than any other. Perhaps that’s the answer! Who’s opinion do you value? I value opinion that rings true. “Prove all things. Hold fast that which is true.”

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why i love writing essays

Joan Didion: Why I Write

"i write entirely to find out what i’m thinking, what i’m looking at, what i see and what it means.".

Of course I stole the title for this talk from George Orwell. One reason I stole it was that I like the sound of the words: Why I Write. There you have three short unambiguous words that share a sound, and the sound they share is this:

In many ways, writing is the act of saying I, of imposing oneself upon other people, of saying listen to me, see it my way, change your mind . It’s an aggressive, even a hostile act. You can disguise its aggressiveness all you want with veils of subordinate clauses and qualifiers and tentative subjunctives, with ellipses and evasions—with the whole manner of intimating rather than claiming, of alluding rather than stating—but there’s no getting around the fact that setting words on paper is the tactic of a secret bully, an invasion, an imposition of the writer’s sensibility on the reader’s most private space.

I stole the title not only because the words sounded right but because they seemed to sum up, in a no-nonsense way, all I have to tell you. Like many writers I have only this one “subject,” this one “area”: the act of writing. I can bring you no reports from any other front. I may have other interests: I am “interested,” for example, in marine biology, but I don’t flatter myself that you would come out to hear me talk about it. I am not a scholar. I am not in the least an intellectual, which is not to say that when I hear the word “intellectual” I reach for my gun, but only to say that I do not think in abstracts. During the years when I was an undergraduate at Berkeley I tried, with a kind of hopeless late-adolescent energy, to buy some temporary visa into the world of ideas, to forge for myself a mind that could deal with the abstract.

In short I tried to think. I failed. My attention veered inexorably back to the specific, to the tangible, to what was generally considered, by everyone I knew then and for that matter have known since, the peripheral. I would try to contemplate the Hegelian dialectic and would find myself concentrating instead on a flowering pear tree outside my window and the particular way the petals fell on my floor. I would try to read linguistic theory and would find myself wondering instead if the lights were on in the Bevatron up the hill. When I say that I was wondering if the lights were on in the Bevatron you might immediately suspect, if you deal in ideas at all, that I was registering the Bevatron as a political symbol, thinking in shorthand about the military-industrial complex and its role in the university community, but you would be wrong. I was only wondering if the lights were on in the Bevatron, and how they looked. A physical fact.

I had trouble graduating from Berkeley, not because of this inability to deal with ideas—I was majoring in English, and I could locate the house-and-garden imagery in The Portrait of a Lady as well as the next person, “imagery” being by definition the kind of specific that got my attention—but simply because I had neglected to take a course in Milton. For reasons which now sound baroque I needed a degree by the end of that summer, and the English department finally agreed, if I would come down from Sacramento every Friday and talk about the cosmology of Paradise Lost , to certify me proficient in Milton. I did this. Some Fridays I took the Greyhound bus, other Fridays I caught the Southern Pacific’s City of San Francisco on the last leg of its transcontinental trip. I can no longer tell you whether Milton put the sun or the earth at the center of his universe in Paradise Lost , the central question of at least one century and a topic about which I wrote ten thousand words that summer, but I can still recall the exact rancidity of the butter in the City of San Francisco’s dining car, and the way the tinted windows on the Greyhound bus cast the oil refineries around Carquinez Strait into a grayed and obscurely sinister light. In short my attention was always on the periphery, on what I could see and taste and touch, on the butter, and the Greyhound bus. During those years I was traveling on what I knew to be a very shaky passport, forged papers: I knew that I was no legitimate resident in any world of ideas. I knew I couldn’t think. All I knew then was what I couldn’t do. All I knew then was what I wasn’t, and it took me some years to discover what I was.

Which was a writer.

By which I mean not a “good” writer or a “bad” writer but simply a writer, a person whose most absorbed and passionate hours are spent arranging words on pieces of paper. Had my credentials been in order I would never have become a writer. Had I been blessed with even limited access to my own mind there would have been no reason to write. 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. Why did the oil refineries around Carquinez Strait seem sinister to me in the summer of 1956? Why have the night lights in the Bevatron burned in my mind for twenty years? What is going on in these pictures in my mind?

When I talk about pictures in my mind I am talking, quite specifically, about images that shimmer around the edges. There used to be an illustration in every elementary psychology book showing a cat drawn by a patient in varying stages of schizophrenia. This cat had a shimmer around it. You could see the molecular structure breaking down at the very edges of the cat: the cat became the background and the background the cat, everything interacting, exchanging ions. People on hallucinogens describe the same perception of objects. I’m not a schizophrenic, nor do I take hallucinogens, but certain images do shimmer for me. Look hard enough, and you can’t miss the shimmer. It’s there. You can’t think too much about these pictures that shimmer. You just lie low and let them develop. You stay quiet. You don’t talk to many people and you keep your nervous system from shorting out and you try to locate the cat in the shimmer, the grammar in the picture.

Just as I meant “shimmer” literally I mean “grammar” literally. Grammar is a piano I play by ear, since I seem to have been out of school the year the rules were mentioned. All I know about grammar is its infinite power. To shift the structure of a sentence alters the meaning of that sentence, as definitely and inflexibly as the position of a camera alters the meaning of the object photographed. Many people know about camera angles now, but not so many know about sentences. The arrangement of the words matters, and the arrangement you want can be found in the picture in your mind. The picture dictates the arrangement. The picture dictates whether this will be a sentence with or without clauses, a sentence that ends hard or a dying-fall sentence, long or short, active or passive. The picture tells you how to arrange the words and the arrangement of the words tells you, or tells me, what’s going on in the picture. Nota bene:

It tells you.

You don’t tell it.

Let me show you what I mean by pictures in the mind. I began Play It as It Lays just as I have begun each of my novels, with no notion of “character” or “plot” or even “incident.” I had only two pictures in my mind, more about which later, and a technical intention, which was to write a novel so elliptical and fast that it would be over before you noticed it, a novel so fast that it would scarcely exist on the page at all. About the pictures: the first was of white space. Empty space. This was clearly the picture that dictated the narrative intention of the book—a book in which anything that happened would happen off the page, a “white” book to which the reader would have to bring his or her own bad dreams—and yet this picture told me no “story,” suggested no situation. The second picture did. This second picture was of something actually witnessed. A young woman with long hair and a short white halter dress walks through the casino at the Riviera in Las Vegas at one in the morning. She crosses the casino alone and picks up a house telephone. I watch her because I have heard her paged, and recognize her name: she is a minor actress I see around Los Angeles from time to time, in places like Jax and once in a gynecologist’s office in the Beverly Hills Clinic, but have never met. I know nothing about her. Who is paging her? Why is she here to be paged? How exactly did she come to this? It was precisely this moment in Las Vegas that made Play It as It Lays begin to tell itself to me, but the moment appears in the novel only obliquely, in a chapter which begins:

Maria made a list of things she would never do. She would never: walk through the Sands or Caesar’s alone after midnight. She would never: ball at a party, do S-M unless she wanted to, borrow furs from Abe Lipsey, deal. She would never: carry a Yorkshire in Beverly Hills.

That is the beginning of the chapter and that is also the end of the chapter, which may suggest what I meant by “white space.”

I recall having a number of pictures in my mind when I began the novel I just finished, A Book of Common Prayer . As a matter of fact one of these pictures was of that Bevatron I mentioned, although I would be hard put to tell you a story in which nuclear energy figures. Another was a newspaper photograph of a hijacked 707 burning on the desert in the Middle East. Another was the night view from a room in which I once spent a week with paratyphoid, a hotel room on the Colombian coast. My husband and I seemed to be on the Colombian coast representing the United States of America at a film festival (I recall invoking the name Jack Valenti a lot, as if its reiteration could make me well), and it was a bad place to have fever, not only because my indisposition offended our hosts but because every night in this hotel the generator failed. The lights went out. The elevator stopped. My husband would go to the event of the evening and make excuses for me and I would stay alone in this hotel room, in the dark. I remember standing at the window trying to call Bogotá (the telephone seemed to work on the same principle as the generator) and watching the night wind come up and wondering what I was doing eleven degrees off the equator with a fever of 103. The view from that window definitely figures in A Book of Common Prayer , as does the burning 707, and yet none of these pictures told me the story I needed.

The picture that did, the picture that shimmered and made these other images coalesce, was of the Panama airport at 6 am. I was in this airport only once, on a plane to Bogotá that stopped for an hour to refuel, but the way it looked that morning remained superimposed on everything I saw until the day I finished A Book of Common Prayer . I lived in that airport for several years. I can still feel the hot air when I step off the plane, can see the heat already rising off the tarmac at 6:00 a.m. I can feel the skirt damp and wrinkled on my legs. I can feel the asphalt stick to my sandals. I remember the big tail of a Pan American plane floating motionless down at the end of the tarmac. I remember the sound of a slot machine in the waiting room. I could tell you that I remember a particular woman in the airport, an American woman, a norteamericana , a thin norteamericana about forty who wore a big square emerald in lieu of a wedding ring, but there was no such woman there.

I put this woman in the airport later. I made this woman up, just as I later made up a country to put the airport in, and a family to run the country. This woman in the airport is neither catching a plane nor meeting one. She is ordering tea in the airport coffee shop. In fact she is not simply “ordering” tea but insisting that the water be boiled, in front of her, for twenty minutes. Why is this woman in this airport? Why is she going nowhere, where has she been? Where did she get that big emerald? What derangement, or disassociation, makes her believe that her will to see the water boiled can possibly prevail?

She had been going to one airport or another for four months, one could see it, looking at the visas on her passport. All those airports where Charlotte Douglas’s passport had been stamped would have looked alike. Sometimes the sign on the tower would say “BIENVENIDOS” and sometimes the sign on the tower would say “BIENVENUE,” some places were wet and hot and others were dry and hot, but at each of these airports the pastel concrete walls would rust and stain and the swamp off the runway would be littered with the fuselages of cannibalized Fairchild F-227s and the water would need boiling.

I knew why Charlotte went to the airport even if Victor did not. I knew about airports.

These lines appear about halfway through A Book of Common Prayer , but I wrote them during the second week I worked on the book, long before I had any idea where Charlotte Douglas had been or why she went to airports. Until I wrote these lines I had no character called Victor in mind: the necessity for mentioning a name, and the name Victor, occurred to me as I wrote the sentence. I knew why Charlotte went to the airport sounded incomplete. I knew why Charlotte went to the airport even if Victor did not carried a little more narrative drive. Most important of all, until I wrote these lines I did not know who “I” was, who was telling the story. I had intended until that moment that the “I” be no more than the voice of the author, a nineteenth-century omniscient narrator. But there it was:

“I knew why Charlotte went to the airport even if Victor did not.”

“I knew about airports.”

This “I” was the voice of no author in my house. This “I” was someone who not only knew why Charlotte went to the airport but also knew someone called Victor. Who was Victor? Who was this narrator? Why was this narrator telling me this story? Let me tell you one thing about why writers write: had I known the answer to any of these questions I would never have needed to write a novel.

__________________________________

why i love writing essays

Excerpted from Let Me Tell You What I Mean by Joan Didion. Copyright © 2021 by Joan Didion. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Why I Write

This material remains under copyright in some jurisdictions, including the US, and is reproduced here with the kind permission of  the Orwell Estate . The Orwell Foundation is an independent charity – please consider making a donation or becoming a Friend of the Foundation to help us maintain these resources for readers everywhere. 

From a very early age, perhaps the age of five or six, I knew that when I grew up I should be a writer. Between the ages of about seventeen and twenty-four I tried to abandon this idea, but I did so with the consciousness that I was outraging my true nature and that sooner or later I should have to settle down and write books.

I was the middle child of three, but there was a gap of five years on either side, and I barely saw my father before I was eight. For this and other reasons I was somewhat lonely, and I soon developed disagreeable mannerisms which made me unpopular throughout my schooldays. I had the lonely child’s habit of making up stories and holding conversations with imaginary persons, and I think from the very start my literary ambitions were mixed up with the feeling of being isolated and undervalued. I knew that I had a facility with words and a power of facing unpleasant facts, and I felt that this created a sort of private world in which I could get my own back for my failure in everyday life. Nevertheless the volume of serious – i.e. seriously intended ­– writing which I produced all through my childhood and boyhood would not amount to half a dozen pages. I wrote my first poem at the age of four or five, my mother taking it down to dictation. I cannot remember anything about it except that it was about a tiger and the tiger had ‘chair-like teeth’ – a good enough phrase, but I fancy the poem was a plagiarism of Blake’s ‘Tiger, Tiger’. At eleven, when the war or 1914-18 broke out, I wrote a patriotic poem which was printed in the local newspaper, as was another, two years later, on the death of Kitchener. From time to time, when I was a bit older, I wrote bad and usually unfinished ‘nature poems’ in the Georgian style. I also, about twice, attempted a short story which was a ghastly failure. That was the total of the would-be serious work that I actually set down on paper during all those years.

However, throughout this time I did in a sense engage in literary activities. To begin with there was the made-to-order stuff which I produced quickly, easily and without much pleasure to myself. Apart from school work, I wrote vers d’occasion , semi-comic poems which I could turn out at what now seems to me astonishing speed – at fourteen I wrote a whole rhyming play, in imitation of Aristophanes, in about a week – and helped to edit school magazines, both printed and in manuscript. These magazines were the most pitiful burlesque stuff that you could imagine, and I took far less trouble with them than I now would with the cheapest journalism. But side by side with all this, for fifteen years or more, I was carrying out a literary exercise of a quite different kind: this was the making up of a continuous “story” about myself, a sort of diary existing only in the mind. I believe this is a common habit of children and adolescents. As a very small child I used to imagine that I was, say, Robin Hood, and picture myself as the hero of thrilling adventures, but quite soon my “story” ceased to be narcissistic in a crude way and became more and more a mere description of what I was doing and the things I saw. For minutes at a time this kind of thing would be running through my head: ‘He pushed the door open and entered the room. A yellow beam of sunlight, filtering through the muslin curtains, slanted on to the table, where a matchbox, half-open, lay beside the inkpot. With his right hand in his pocket he moved across to the window. Down in the street a tortoiseshell cat was chasing a dead leaf,’ etc., etc. This habit continued until I was about twenty-five, right through my non-literary years. Although I had to search, and did search, for the right words, I seemed to be making this descriptive effort almost against my will, under a kind of compulsion from outside. The ‘story’ must, I suppose, have reflected the styles of the various writers I admired at different ages, but so far as I remember it always had the same meticulous descriptive quality.

When I was about sixteen I suddenly discovered the joy of mere words, i.e. the sounds and associations of words. The lines from Paradise Lost –

So hee with difficulty and labour hard Moved on: with difficulty and labour hee,

which do not now seem to me so very wonderful, sent shivers down my backbone; and the spelling ‘hee’ for ‘he’ was an added pleasure. As for the need to describe things, I knew all about it already. So it is clear what kind of books I wanted to write, in so far as I could be said to want to write books at that time. I wanted to write enormous naturalistic novels with unhappy endings, full of detailed descriptions and arresting similes, and also full of purple passages in which words were used partly for the sake of their sound. And in fact my first completed novel, Burmese Days , which I wrote when I was thirty but projected much earlier, is rather that kind of book.

I give all this background information because I do not think one can assess a writer’s motives without knowing something of his early development. His subject-matter will be determined by the age he lives in ­– at least this is true in tumultuous, revolutionary ages like our own – but before he ever begins to write he will have acquired an emotional attitude from which he will never completely escape. It is his job, no doubt, to discipline his temperament and avoid getting stuck at some immature stage, or in some perverse mood: but if he escapes from his early influences altogether, he will have killed his impulse to write. Putting aside the need to earn a living, I think there are four great motives for writing, at any rate for writing prose. They exist in different degrees in every writer, and in any one writer the proportions will vary from time to time, according to the atmosphere in which he is living. They are:

(i) Sheer egoism. Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood, etc., etc. It is humbug to pretend this is not a motive, and a strong one. Writers share this characteristic with scientists, artists, politicians, lawyers, soldiers, successful business men – in short, with the whole top crust of humanity. The great mass of human beings are not acutely selfish. After the age of about thirty they abandon individual ambition – in many cases, indeed, they almost abandon the sense of being individuals at all – and live chiefly for others, or are simply smothered under drudgery. But there is also the minority of gifted, willful people who are determined to live their own lives to the end, and writers belong in this class. Serious writers, I should say, are on the whole more vain and self-centered than journalists, though less interested in money.

(ii) Aesthetic enthusiasm. Perception of beauty in the external world, or, on the other hand, in words and their right arrangement. Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story. Desire to share an experience which one feels is valuable and ought not to be missed. The aesthetic motive is very feeble in a lot of writers, but even a pamphleteer or writer of textbooks will have pet words and phrases which appeal to him for non-utilitarian reasons; or he may feel strongly about typography, width of margins, etc. Above the level of a railway guide, no book is quite free from aesthetic considerations.

(iii) Historical impulse. Desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity.

(iv) Political purpose – using the word ‘political’ in the widest possible sense. Desire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other people’s idea of the kind of society that they should strive after. Once again, no book is genuinely free from political bias. The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.

It can be seen how these various impulses must war against one another, and how they must fluctuate from person to person and from time to time. By nature – taking your ‘nature’ to be the state you have attained when you are first adult – I am a person in whom the first three motives would outweigh the fourth. In a peaceful age I might have written ornate or merely descriptive books, and might have remained almost unaware of my political loyalties. As it is I have been forced into becoming a sort of pamphleteer. First I spent five years in an unsuitable profession (the Indian Imperial Police, in Burma), and then I underwent poverty and the sense of failure. This increased my natural hatred of authority and made me for the first time fully aware of the existence of the working classes, and the job in Burma had given me some understanding of the nature of imperialism: but these experiences were not enough to give me an accurate political orientation. Then came Hitler, the Spanish Civil War, etc. By the end of 1935 I had still failed to reach a firm decision. I remember a little poem that I wrote at that date, expressing my dilemma:

A happy vicar I might have been Two hundred years ago, To preach upon eternal doom And watch my walnuts grow But born, alas, in an evil time, I missed that pleasant haven, For the hair has grown on my upper lip And the clergy are all clean-shaven. And later still the times were good, We were so easy to please, We rocked our troubled thoughts to sleep On the bosoms of the trees. All ignorant we dared to own The joys we now dissemble; The greenfinch on the apple bough Could make my enemies tremble. But girls’ bellies and apricots, Roach in a shaded stream, Horses, ducks in flight at dawn, All these are a dream. It is forbidden to dream again; We maim our joys or hide them; Horses are made of chromium steel And little fat men shall ride them. I am the worm who never turned, The eunuch without a harem; Between the priest and the commissar I walk like Eugene Aram; And the commissar is telling my fortune While the radio plays, But the priest has promised an Austin Seven, For Duggie always pays. I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls, And woke to find it true; I wasn’t born for an age like this; Was Smith? Was Jones? Were you?

The Spanish war and other events in 1936-37 turned the scale and thereafter I knew where I stood. Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it. It seems to me nonsense, in a period like our own, to think that one can avoid writing of such subjects. Everyone writes of them in one guise or another. It is simply a question of which side one takes and what approach one follows. And the more one is conscious of one’s political bias, the more chance one has of acting politically without sacrificing one’s aesthetic and intellectual integrity.

What I have most wanted to do throughout the past ten years is to make political writing into an art. My starting point is always a feeling of partisanship, a sense of injustice. When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art’. I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing. But I could not do the work of writing a book, or even a long magazine article, if it were not also an aesthetic experience. Anyone who cares to examine my work will see that even when it is downright propaganda it contains much that a full-time politician would consider irrelevant. I am not able, and do not want, completely to abandon the world view that I acquired in childhood. So long as I remain alive and well I shall continue to feel strongly about prose style, to love the surface of the earth, and to take a pleasure in solid objects and scraps of useless information. It is no use trying to suppress that side of myself. The job is to reconcile my ingrained likes and dislikes with the essentially public, non-individual activities that this age forces on all of us.

It is not easy. It raises problems of construction and of language, and it raises in a new way the problem of truthfulness. Let me give just one example of the cruder kind of difficulty that arises. My book about the Spanish civil war, Homage to Catalonia , is of course a frankly political book, but in the main it is written with a certain detachment and regard for form. I did try very hard in it to tell the whole truth without violating my literary instincts. But among other things it contains a long chapter, full of newspaper quotations and the like, defending the Trotskyists who were accused of plotting with Franco. Clearly such a chapter, which after a year or two would lose its interest for any ordinary reader, must ruin the book. A critic whom I respect read me a lecture about it. ‘Why did you put in all that stuff?’ he said. ‘You’ve turned what might have been a good book into journalism.’ What he said was true, but I could not have done otherwise. I happened to know, what very few people in England had been allowed to know, that innocent men were being falsely accused. If I had not been angry about that I should never have written the book.

In one form or another this problem comes up again. The problem of language is subtler and would take too long to discuss. I will only say that of late years I have tried to write less picturesquely and more exactly. In any case I find that by the time you have perfected any style of writing, you have always outgrown it. Animal Farm was the first book in which I tried, with full consciousness of what I was doing, to fuse political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole. I have not written a novel for seven years, but I hope to write another fairly soon. It is bound to be a failure, every book is a failure, but I do know with some clarity what kind of book I want to write.

Looking back through the last page or two, I see that I have made it appear as though my motives in writing were wholly public-spirited. I don’t want to leave that as the final impression. All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist or understand. For all one knows that demon is simply the same instinct that makes a baby squall for attention. And yet it is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one’s own personality. Good prose is like a windowpane. I cannot say with certainty which of my motives are the strongest, but I know which of them deserve to be followed. And looking back through my work, I see that it is invariably where I lacked a political purpose that I wrote lifeless books and was betrayed into purple passages, sentences without meaning, decorative adjectives and humbug generally.

Gangrel , No. 4, Summer 1946

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Interesting Literature

A Summary and Analysis of George Orwell’s ‘Why I Write’

By Dr Oliver Tearle (Loughborough University)

‘Why I Write’ is an essay by George Orwell, published in 1946 after the publication of his novella Animal Farm and before he wrote his final novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four . The essay is an insightful piece of memoir about Orwell’s early years and how he developed as a writer, from harbouring ambitions to write self-consciously literary works to developing, in the 1930s, into the author of sharp political commentary in both fiction and non-fiction.

You can read ‘Why I Write’ here before proceeding to our summary and analysis of Orwell’s essay below.

‘Why I Write’: summary

Orwell begins by observing that he knew he should be a writer from a very young age. Although in early adulthood he tried to ‘abandon’ the idea, he knew it was his true calling and that he would eventually ‘settle down and write books’.

He tells us that he was a lonely child who would make up stories and hold conversations with imaginary people, and that his own desire to write is linked to this childhood loneliness. During the First World War, when Orwell was still a child, he had two poems published in the local newspaper, and that was the beginning of his publishing career.

In his youth, he continued to think like a writer, making up a ‘continuous “story” about myself’, but never writing it down. When he was in his twenties, he had ambitions of writing ‘enormous naturalistic novels with unhappy endings, full of detailed descriptions and arresting similes, and also full of purple passages in which words were used partly for the sake of their sound’. Orwell calls his first novel, Burmese Days (1934), this kind of book.

Orwell then outlines what he sees as four chief motives for anyone becoming a writer: 1) egoism; 2) aesthetic enthusiasm; 3) historical impulse; and 4) political purpose.

Egoism is the desire to be thought clever, be talked about when alive, and remembered after death. Aesthetic enthusiasm is the perception of beauty in the world around the writer, as well as the beauty of language. The historical impulse is a desire to see things as they are and present the facts to readers. Political purpose is the urge to change people’s views of the kind of society they want to live in.

This last one is a matter of degree, because Orwell argues that every writer adopts some kind of political position: ‘Once again, no book is genuinely free from political bias. The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.’

Perhaps surprisingly given he is principally known for ‘political’ writing, Orwell confides that by nature he is someone for whom the first three motives would usually outweigh the fourth. But when the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, Orwell knew where he stood. As he famously declares: ‘Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it.’

Orwell concludes ‘Why I Write’ by stating that in the decade since 1936 he has tried to turn political writing ‘into an art’. Although he acknowledges that his impulse has not been entirely public-spirited but just as egoistic and ‘vain’ as it is in most writers, he knows that ‘one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one’s own personality.’ The political scene has helped Orwell to sharpen his own writing.

‘Why I Write’: analysis

Orwell’s essay is of interest as a piece of autobiography, but Orwell extrapolates from his own personal background and literary trajectory to make more universal statements about good writing, and the reasons why all writers choose to write for a living (if they’re indeed lucky enough to do it for a living: in his ‘ Confessions of a Book Reviewer ’, also from 1946, he brilliantly outlines the absurd and stressful existence of struggling writers surviving on hackwork for newspapers and magazines, just to pay that month’s rent).

One of the key insights in ‘Why I Write’ is the link Orwell makes between his own efforts to become a successful writer and the broader political scene in Europe (and beyond) at the time. The Spanish Civil War, and the rise of Nazism, fascism, and Stalinism, all gave him a clear sense of what he should write about. As he puts it, all of his serious work written since has been ‘ against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism’.

We find this even in an essay like ‘ Politics vs. Literature: An Examination of Gulliver’s Travels ’ (which, along with his analysis of Dickens’s art, shows what a fine and sensitive literary critic Orwell was), another 1946 essay, in which Orwell argues that in Book IV of Gulliver’s Travels , Jonathan Swift depicts what we would now call a totalitarian society. But because Gulliver (and, presumably, by extension, Swift himself) approves of the Houyhnhnms’ society, Swift admires the idea of a totalitarian state in which dissident opinion is unacceptable.

The point is that when he lacked a clear motivation for writing fiction, he churned out ‘lifeless’ work (much of which, such as his novel A Clergyman’s Daughter , a kind of Joycean work in many ways, he later disowned, calling it ‘tripe’).

But once he realised what his subject-matter should be, this new-found ‘political purpose’ sharpened his prose. In a sense, the fourth of Orwell’s listed motives brought the other three into a new perspective. His clearest and most detailed account of what constitutes good political writing is his essay ‘ Politics and the English Language ’ (also from 1946), which we have analysed here .

In 1976, Joan Didion wrote her own essay called ‘ Why I Write ’, in which she acknowledged that she had taken her title from George Orwell. She also drew attention to the triple-assonance in Orwell’s title, the long I sounds of ‘Why I Write’.

Even Orwell’s title is itself an example of the clear-minded simplicity which he identifies as the chief feature of good writing at the end of ‘Why I Write’: ‘Good prose is like a window pane.’ But as so often with Orwell’s work, he is not just writing about himself, but drawing attention to far more widespread truths about what motivates an author to devote their lives to writing.

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Why do we write?

Students talk about their writing lives.

Workshop

As our editors work on our 2016 Crossroads IV Anthology, we want to share what we are hearing from students who submit!

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  • I write to take my mind off of other things.
  • I really enjoy writing because unlike other subjects, where there is only one true answer, writing has no single answer! There are infinite interpretations to any subject matter, and you get to make what you write perfectly tailored to how you wish it to read.
  • I write to make sense of the thoughts in my head, to bring out parts of myself into something tangible.
  • I have grown attached to writing because it allows me to express my thoughts, and I am a very artistic guy, so making art, or stories, or anything that allows me to put out what I think in my mind.
  • I am a junior in high school and an aspiring writer. I work for my school newspaper and take a Creative Writing class at my high school in Charlottesville, Virginia. I mostly enjoy writing poetry and fiction.
  • Writing allows me space and time to express myself more authentically than I might in conversation. Not only is the process of writing challenging and exciting, when I am finished I have the reward of a story that I have brought to life. I feel that writing is a soothing exercise which helps me to make sense of the world by exploring my own written ones.
  • I like to write because it helps me get stuff off my chest.
  • Writing provides the best sort of release
  • Writing makes me feel better about all the sad things in my life. It’s a different form of expression other than sports for me.

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  • I’ve always loved writing because I think it’s the best medium of expression for me and it allows me to be completely honest.
  • I like to write because it is an amazing way to express yourself and your opinions.
  • I love to write because it allows my mind to go to anyplace it wants to with no restrictions.
  • Writing, I’ve found,is a way to express myself in ways I may not otherwise be comfortable doing.
  • I enjoy writing because I love being able to express myself and my own ideas.
  • I enjoy writing because it has so much freedom.
  • I like to write to express my feelings. Sometimes it is hard to get into words what you feel inside, but when it is just me and the paper I am able to translate everything into something meaningful.
  • I’m more of a guitarist than a writer, but it’s difficult to convey nihilism thru instrumentation.
  • I have always loved reading and writing, particularly stories about far off lands. My favorite part about writing is creating my own world within the real world, or completely apart from the real world.
  • I like to write because you can create anything; you can show yourself, or hide depending on what you want.
  • I find inspiration in dreams, stories, shapes in the cumuli, and peculiar happenings from everyday life.

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  • I like to write because it is a way to express my ideas.
  • I love to write, just for myself, as a way to release stress and express my feelings.
  • I like to write because I can put all of my feelings into words and share my thoughts with others.
  • I’ve always enjoyed writing because, quite simply, I find fiction so much more interesting than the real world.
  • I like to write because it lets me express my ideas in a different way.
  • I have loved writing since elementary school when I wrote stories about horses with arms coming out of their necks who could breathe fire (Disclaimer: this was a friend’s interpretation, not mine) even though I never really thought it was a big deal back then.
  • I wrote this poem as an assignment given to me by a student teacher from UVa Curry School in my AP English 11 class. The prompt was to write a vernacular piece. The phrase I chose was not exactly vernacular, but an old Southern phrase of advice. Having been born and raised in the South, phrases like these are central to both my vernacular and my identity.
  • Writing lets me express myself in ways that I can’t say out loud. This might sound cheesy but it helps me escape reality.
  • I enjoy writing because it allows me to express observations about nature, feelings, knowledge and reflect on life experiences that I have encountered in my life.
  • Writing is a way for me to contemplate the lives of others and find solace and vitality in my own.

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  • I began writing poetry a little over a year ago, and eventually started publishing it onto a few online sites. I love writing because it helps me cope with stress and others like to read my poetry.
  • I love to write and am often found jotting down notes in my little black notebook.
  • I love to write because it brings out one’s true words.
  • I like to write because it provides an opportunity for me to describe the world in ways we don’t usually see it.
  • I enjoy writing because I loved stories, making my own seemed to be a great way to tell my own as well as understand others. I also found writing to be a great way to express myself.
  • I like writing poetry because it allows me to express deep thoughts that I don’t verbally share with anyone.
  • I love to write because it helps me to cope with the whirlwind of high school.
  • I like to write because it helps me understand more about other people, and lets me add depth to memories that I have committed to paper.
  • I love to write because it clears out my mind.

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  • I love to creatively write, it helps me connect to my artistic side.
  • Writing provides an escape when reality becomes too complex.
  • I like to write because writing gives me the opportunity to express myself in ways that I couldn’t otherwise.
  • I like to write because it allows me to focus on something and helps me relieve stress.
  • I was born to dance, but I chose to write. That’s why I’m putting myself out there: I won’t lose to something I chose, especially when I knew full well when I chose it that I wasn’t born with it.I chose writing, and now I’m waiting for it to choose me.
  • I enjoy writing because literature is a good mode of expression for my feelings and beliefs.
  • I like to write to write to relieve stress.
  • I enjoy writing because you can write anything based on how you feel at the moment. Sad, happy, analytical: anything can become good writing.
  • I like to write because it is a way for me to express my thoughts.
  • Writing expresses feelings in a way that is only possible through the process of putting words on paper–and that is an irreplaceable experience.

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  • I think that poetry gives a unique way to express your thoughts and your ideas in a creative way.
  • This was originally a poem for my AP Lit class, but with the recent attacks, shootings and overall injustice witnessed nowadays, I thought it was appropriate to submit for a larger audience.
  • I just love words and writing, and I want to share this love with others.
  • Instead of muscles, my written words allow my lungs to expand and contract.

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Writing like a Boss

Writing like a Boss

From the desk of Samantha R. Uhrig

why i love writing essays

7 Reasons I LOVE to Write (and 2 Reasons You Should, Too)

Hello, writers, and happy Valentine’s Day! Today we’re going over one of my favorite topics of all time: loving your writing. I wrote about it in May 2017 , which is my most favorite post to date. (You can check out it out as a sequel to this one!)

But instead of some ways to love your writing, today I’m going to share some reasons why  I  love to write. Because it’s healthy to remind yourself why you do what you do! It keeps you focused, and helps you stay dedicated to your work. And at the bottom of this post, there will be two reasons why you,  too, should love your writing. The point of my list is to inspire your own, so you can finish your novel or screenplay ASAP!

Okay, let’s get on with it, shall we?

Note: point 3 has been edited in the written post, so the paragraph is said differently in the video.

An almost unnecessary little note: in this video, I wore bubblegum-pink jeans to make up for my black shirt. I’m kinda disappointed it wasn’t actually shown, so just pretend for me.

7 REASONS I LOVE TO WRITE

1. because i can create anything in my wildest imagination..

This is why I write fantasy as a means of relaxing, or even as a comfort when I’m feeling low. Suspension of disbelief is how fiction is possible!

Suspension of disbelief, otherwise  sacrifice of realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment , enables readers to leave behind what they’ve learned from the real world to lose themselves in a work of pure fiction. This is how you can watch Star Wars without saying, “But that’s impossible! There’s no such thing as the Force!”

Because suspension of disbelief exists, I as the writer have the freedom to put to page whatever my mind conjures, and someone can read it without thinking it unusual. A marvelous concept, isn’t it?

2. Because the words are a comfort.

When I’m feeling unwell, I write. It’s so natural, I didn’t even realize my unconscious habit till recently.

But I’m careful to write something separate from my main project , or else it just creates more stress and problems. I’ll look up some writing- or character-prompts online, and create a new story from there. It’s even more relaxing on paper. They’re rarely finished, but  so  helpful for when I need to chill!

3. Because I want to leave my mark on the world.

I don’t know what the world will know of me in a hundred years. I intend to write many books and manuscripts in my lifetime, but how much of an impact will they make? Will I be a bestselling classic? A local hero? A name passed through the family? All but forgotten to the public? Only God knows (which is quite a comfort!).

The way I see it, the more stories I write, and the more I improve with each one, the better I’ll be remembered for my dedication. And if it’s just my parents, grandparents, and siblings – as well as my husband, children, grandchildren, etc. – who are proud of me and know who I am, it’s enough! I’m so thrilled for my future family to read all the projects on which I will have worked so hard. That is the ultimate motivation for me.

4. Because I love to inspire others.

This is why I blog, specifically. I absolutely  adore  the idea of inspiring even just one person to follow his or her passion, writing or otherwise, and this is one of the biggest reasons why I write!

Namely, I want to inspire young writers out there. I’m fairly young myself, which I’m slow to admit, I’ll confess, but I think this gives me a particular advantage at this point in my life. Young writers will look at my blog, my books, my business, and everything I’m building every day, and they’ll say to themselves, “If she can do this, maybe I can, too!”

I won’t be young forever, but I don’t believe my advantage in this respect will go away because of it! All the feats of my young life are (or will be) on paper, and they’re not going anywhere. Perhaps, the older I grow, and the more I accomplish, the more I will inspire others. That’s the hope, writers!

5. Because I can use it to learn about topics that interest me.

About two years ago, I got very “into” the World War II era (1939-1945). I wanted to learn more, but there was only so much interesting information I could retain from books and Wikipedia pages. I took it a step further, and used my few findings as a base for a novel called “What I Wish I Said But Never Did.” That novel later became  The Girl Who Frosts the Cakes !

Not only do I love that project dearly, but I learned  so much  about that time and culture in the process . Now I can spit out all sorts of miscellaneous facts about the era, like the price of a loaf of bread, or when and why women’s trousers became “the thing” in America, or the value of a dollar in 1940 vs. 1945.

It’s wild to think that this novel, which I’ve been rewriting and cutting and shaping with care for what feels like forever, just started with plain curiosity. I can’t wait to find my next big interest!

6. Because I can use it to express my loves, opinions, and beliefs.

I love many things. Vanilla cake, coffee, weddings, skirts, curly hair, close-knit friendships, bookshops, the smell of old paper, small businesses, and red lipstick are just a few of my earthly loves, and every one of those things is deliberately featured in my novel.

What about my opinions and beliefs? I’m careful to weave those in my writing, too! As a Christian, I firmly believe Jesus is King, and I strive to live in a way that pleases Him. I very badly want this to be clear in all my writing; even in fiction.

And finally:

7. I’m simply in love with words.

I open up a book, and I feel at home. I love to wander through secondhand bookstores, running my fingers over the cracked spines and worn covers. Whenever I hear or read words I like, I’ll write them down as a reminder to use them more. As a kid, I would  beg  for a spelling test. I even love how inconsistent our grammar rules are, how nothing makes sense. English is beautiful nonsense.

In the English language, we only have twenty-six letters; but those twenty-six letters make up over  171,476 words.  How amazing is that? Think about it: 171,476 +  unique words! And now imagine how many words are in other  languages, including words and phrases we can’t even comprehend in English. Language is a mind-boggling miracle, and I’m in love with all of it!

2 SIMPLE REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD LOVE YOUR WRITING, TOO

1. you’re more likely to stick to your project..

You wouldn’t put all that work into a project if you didn’t like it. Unless you write purely for money. In which case, I seriously doubt you would make it through the whole article to this point.

Case in point: if you love to write, you’re more likely to stick with – and finish! – your novel/screenplay/etc. How exciting is that?

And lastly, our final point of the evening:

2. It shows in your writing.

Believe it or not, you can tell when a writer doesn’t like his or her writing. It’s hard to describe, really. The best way I can think to explain is, it’s clear when someone has put love, care, and dedication into their work; in the reverse, it’s also apparent when someone  doesn’t.

Loving your writing is so, so important. If you don’t love to write – why do you do it?

I suggest keeping your very own “why I love to write” list. Tape it to your bathroom mirror, or on the shelf with your favorite cereal bowl, and update it often, because we’re always changing (which is a good thing!). This will keep you from getting discouraged, and thereby, you’ll be more productive in your writing!

I hope you enjoyed this special post! Don’t forget to check out 5 Little Ways to Love Your Writing as a sequel, and laugh along with us in this blooper reel! Happy writing!

5 Little Ways to Love Your Writing (And Why it’s Important)

2 responses to “7 Reasons I LOVE to Write (and 2 Reasons You Should, Too)”

You have certainly inspired me! I often have trouble believing my writing is actually worth reading. I’m in the process of climbing out of that pit called “writer’s block,” and this post has given me some of the strength to do just that. Thanks!

I’m so glad to have helped, Paige! I struggle with the very same problems. I just like to remember: there is always at least one person who wants to read our writing. Happy writing!

Become a Writer Today

Essays About Love: 20 Intriguing Ideas for Students

Love can make a fascinating essay topic, but sometimes finding the perfect topic idea is challenging. Here are 20 of the best essays about love.

Writers have often explored the subject of love and what it means throughout history. In his book Essays in Love , Alain de Botton creates an in-depth essay on what love looks like, exploring a fictional couple’s relationship while highlighting many facts about love. This book shows how much there is to say about love as it beautifully merges non-fiction with fiction work.

The New York Times  published an entire column dedicated to essays on modern love, and many prize-winning reporters often contribute to the collection. With so many published works available, the subject of love has much to be explored.

If you are going to write an essay about love and its effects, you will need a winning topic idea. Here are the top 20 topic ideas for essays about love. These topics will give you plenty to think about and explore as you take a stab at the subject that has stumped philosophers, writers, and poets since the dawn of time.

For help with your essays, check out our round-up of the best essay checkers .

1. Outline the Definition of Love

2. describe your favorite love story, 3. what true love looks like, 4. discuss how human beings are hard-wired for love, 5. explore the different types of love, 6. determine the true meaning of love, 7. discuss the power of love, 8. do soul mates exist, 9. determine if all relationships should experience a break-up, 10. does love at first sight exist, 11. explore love between parents and children, 12. discuss the disadvantages of love, 13. ask if love is blind, 14. discuss the chemical changes that love causes, 15. outline the ethics of love, 16. the inevitability of heartbreak, 17. the role of love in a particular genre of literature, 18. is love freeing or oppressing, 19. does love make people do foolish things, 20. explore the theme of love from your favorite book or movie.

Essays About Love

Defining love may not be as easy as you think. While it seems simple, love is an abstract concept with multiple potential meanings. Exploring these meanings and then creating your own definition of love can make an engaging essay topic.

To do this, first, consider the various conventional definitions of love. Then, compare and contrast them until you come up with your own definition of love.

One essay about love you could tackle is describing and analyzing a favorite love story. This story could be from a fiction tale or real life. It could even be your love story.

As you analyze and explain the love story, talk about the highs and lows of love. Showcase the hard and great parts of this love story, then end the essay by talking about what real love looks like (outside the flowers and chocolates).

Essays About Love: What true love looks like?

This essay will explore what true love looks like. With this essay idea, you could contrast true love with the romantic love often shown in movies. This contrast would help the reader see how true love looks in real life.

An essay about what true love looks like could allow you to explore this kind of love in many different facets. It would allow you to discuss whether or not someone is, in fact, in true love. You could demonstrate why saying “I love you” is not enough through the essay.

There seems to be something ingrained in human nature to seek love. This fact could make an interesting essay on love and its meaning, allowing you to explore why this might be and how it plays out in human relationships.

Because humans seem to gravitate toward committed relationships, you could argue that we are hard-wired for love. But, again, this is an essay option that has room for growth as you develop your thoughts.

There are many different types of love. For example, while you can have romantic love between a couple, you may also have family love among family members and love between friends. Each of these types of love has a different expression, which could lend itself well to an interesting essay topic.

Writing an essay that compares and contrasts the different types of love would allow you to delve more deeply into the concept of love and what makes up a loving relationship.

What does love mean? This question is not as easy to answer as you might think. However, this essay topic could give you quite a bit of room to develop your ideas about love.

While exploring this essay topic, you may discover that love means different things to different people. For some, love is about how someone makes another person feel. To others, it is about actions performed. By exploring this in an essay, you can attempt to define love for your readers.

What can love make people do? This question could lend itself well to an essay topic. The power of love is quite intense, and it can make people do things they never thought they could or would do.

With this love essay, you could look at historical examples of love, fiction stories about love relationships, or your own life story and what love had the power to do. Then, at the end of your essay, you can determine how powerful love is.

The idea of a soul mate is someone who you are destined to be with and love above all others. This essay topic would allow you to explore whether or not each individual has a soul mate.

If you determine that they do, you could further discuss how you would identify that soul mate. How can you tell when you have found “the one” right for you? Expanding on this idea could create a very interesting and unique essay.

Essays About Love: Determine if all relationships should experience a break-up

Break-ups seem inevitable, and strong relationships often come back together afterward. Yet are break-ups truly inevitable? Or are they necessary to create a strong bond? This idea could turn into a fascinating essay topic if you look at both sides of the argument.

On the one hand, you could argue that the break-up experience shows you whether or not your relationship can weather difficult times. On the other hand, you could argue that breaking up damages the trust you’re working to build. Regardless of your conclusion, you can build a solid essay off of this topic idea.

Love, at first sight is a common theme in romance stories, but is it possible? Explore this idea in your essay. You will likely find that love, at first sight, is nothing more than infatuation, not genuine love.

Yet you may discover that sometimes, love, at first sight, does happen. So, determine in your essay how you can differentiate between love and infatuation if it happens to you. Then, conclude with your take on love at first sight and if you think it is possible.

The love between a parent and child is much different than the love between a pair of lovers. This type of love is one-sided, with care and self-sacrifice on the parent’s side. However, the child’s love is often unconditional.

Exploring this dynamic, especially when contrasting parental love with romantic love, provides a compelling essay topic. You would have the opportunity to define this type of love and explore what it looks like in day-to-day life.

Most people want to fall in love and enjoy a loving relationship, but does love have a downside? In an essay, you can explore the disadvantages of love and show how even one of life’s greatest gifts is not without its challenges.

This essay would require you to dig deep and find the potential downsides of love. However, if you give it a little thought, you should be able to discuss several. Finally, end the essay by telling the reader whether or not love is worth it despite the many challenges.

Love is blind is a popular phrase that indicates love allows someone not to see another person’s faults. But is love blind, or is it simply a metaphor that indicates the ability to overlook issues when love is at the helm.

If you think more deeply about this quote, you will probably determine that love is not blind. Rather, love for someone can overshadow their character flaws and shortcomings. When love is strong, these things fall by the wayside. Discuss this in your essay, and draw your own conclusion to decide if love is blind.

When someone falls in love, their body feels specific hormonal and chemical changes. These changes make it easier to want to spend time with the person. Yet they can be fascinating to study, and you could ask whether or not love is just chemical reactions or something more.

Grab a science book or two and see if you can explore these physiological changes from love. From the additional sweating to the flushing of the face, you will find quite a few chemical changes that happen when someone is in love.

Love feels like a positive emotion that does not have many ethical concerns, but this is not true. Several ethical questions come from the world of love. Exploring these would make for an interesting and thoughtful essay.

For example, you could discuss if it is ethically acceptable to love an object or even oneself or love other people. You could discuss if it is appropriate to enter into a physical relationship if there is no love present or if love needs to come first. There are many questions to explore with this love essay.

If you choose to love someone, is heartbreak inevitable? This question could create a lengthy essay. However, some would argue that it is because either your object of affection will eventually leave you through a break-up or death.

Yet do these actions have to cause heartbreak, or are they simply part of the process? Again, this question lends itself well to an essay because it has many aspects and opinions to explore.

Literature is full of stories of love. You could choose a genre, like mythology or science fiction, and explore the role of love in that particular genre. With this essay topic, you may find many instances where love is a vital central theme of the work.

Keep in mind that in some genres, like myths, love becomes a driving force in the plot, while in others, like historical fiction, it may simply be a background part of the story. Therefore, the type of literature you choose for this essay would significantly impact the way your essay develops.

Most people want to fall in love, but is love freeing or oppressing? The answer may depend on who your loved ones are. Love should free individuals to authentically be who they are, not tie them into something they are not.

Yet there is a side of love that can be viewed as oppressive, deepening on your viewpoint. For example, you should stay committed to just that individual when you are in a committed relationship with someone else. Is this freeing or oppressive? Gather opinions through research and compare the answers for a compelling essay.

You can easily find stories of people that did foolish things for love. These stories could translate into interesting and engaging essays. You could conclude the answer to whether or not love makes people do foolish things.

Your answer will depend on your research, but chances are you will find that, yes, love makes people foolish at times. Then you could use your essay to discuss whether or not it is still reasonable to think that falling in love is a good thing, although it makes people act foolishly at times.

Most fiction works have love in them in some way. This may not be romantic love, but you will likely find characters who love something or someone.

Use that fact to create an essay. Pick your favorite story, either through film or written works, and explore what love looks like in that work. Discuss the character development, storyline, and themes and show how love is used to create compelling storylines.

If you are interested in learning more, check out our essay writing tips !

why i love writing essays

Bryan Collins is the owner of Become a Writer Today. He's an author from Ireland who helps writers build authority and earn a living from their creative work. He's also a former Forbes columnist and his work has appeared in publications like Lifehacker and Fast Company.

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JK Rowling: Why I decided to stand up for women

In exclusive extracts from a new book the women who wouldn’t wheesht, the harry potter author, a broken-hearted mother and a former prison governor tell the inside story of their fight for rights.

JK Rowling: “Nobody who’s been through a tsunami of death and rape threats will claim it’s fun”

Challenge yourself with today’s puzzles.

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B y the standards of my world, I was a heretic. I’d come to believe that the socio-political movement insisting “trans women are women” was neither kind nor tolerant, but in fact profoundly misogynistic, regressive, dangerous in some of its objectives and nakedly authoritarian in its tactics. However, I kept my thoughts to myself in public, because people around me, including some I love, were begging me not to speak. So I watched from the sidelines as women with everything to lose rallied, in Scotland and across the UK, to defend their rights. My guilt that I wasn’t standing with them was with me daily, like a chronic pain.

What ultimately drove me to break cover were two separate legal events, both of which were happening

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JK Rowling: how Strike changed the way I write

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Stephen king's new story took him 45 years to write.

Mary Louise Kelly, photographed for NPR, 6 September 2022, in Washington DC. Photo by Mike Morgan for NPR.

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Stephen King says finishing one of his stories decades after he started it felt like

Stephen King says finishing one of his stories decades after he started it felt like "calling into a canyon of time." Francois Mori/AP hide caption

Stephen King says finishing one of his stories decades after he started it felt like "calling into a canyon of time."

Stephen King is out with a new collection of short stories.

As you might expect from the reigning King of Horror, some are terrifying. Some are creepy. Others are laugh-out-loud funny. And one of them took him 45 years to write.

The book is a collection of 12 stories, called You Like it Darker .

Stephen King's legacy of horror

Over the course of his decades-long career as a writer, King has learned there's no taking a story too far.

"I found out – to sort of my delight and sort of my horror – that you can't really gross out the American public," King told NPR.

He spoke with All Things Considered host Mary Louise Kelly about the book, destiny and getting older.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Mary Louise Kelly: I want to start by asking you about the story, The Answer Man . You began it when you were 30. You finished it when you were 75. What the heck happened?

Stephen King: Well, I lost it. What happens with me is I will write stories and they don't always get done. And the ones that don't get done go in a drawer and I forget all about them. And about five years ago, these people started to collect all the stuff that was finished and all this stuff that was unfinished and put it in an archive. They were going through everything – desk drawers, wastebaskets underneath the desk, every place. I'm not exactly a very organized person. My nephew John Leonard found this particular story, which was written in the U.N. Plaza Hotel back in the '70s, I think. And he said, "You know, this is pretty good. You really ought to finish this." And I read it and I said, "You know, I think I know how to finish it now." So I did.

Kelly: Well give people a taste. The first six or so pages that you had written back in the hotel, it becomes a 50-page story. What was it that you decided was worth returning to?

King: Well, I like the concept: This young man is driving along, and he's trying to figure out whether or not he should join his parents' white shoe law firm in Boston, or whether he should strike out on his own. And he finds this man on the road who calls himself the Answer Man. And he says, "I will answer three of your questions for $25, and you have 5 minutes to ask these questions." So I thought to myself, I'm going to write this story in three acts. One while the questioner is young, and one when he's middle aged, and one when he's old. The question that I ask myself is: "Do you want to know what happens in the future or not?"

Kelly: This story, like many of your stories, is about destiny – whether some things are meant to happen no matter what we do, no matter what choices we make. Do you believe that's true?

King: The answer is I don't know. When I write stories, I write to find out what I really think. And I don't think there's any real answer to that question.

'Carrie' turns 50! Here are the best Stephen King novels — chosen by you

Books You Love

'carrie' turns 50 here are the best stephen king novels — chosen by you.

Kelly: You do describe in the afterword of the book that going back in your seventies to complete a story you had begun as a young man gave you, and I'll quote your words, "The oddest sense of calling into a canyon of time." Can you explain what that means?

King: Well, you listen for the echo to come back. When I was a young man, I had a young man's ideas about The Answer Man . But now, as a man who has reached, let us say, a certain age, I'm forced to write from experience and just an idea of what it might be like to be an old man. So yeah, it felt to me like yelling and then waiting for the echo to come back all these years later.

Kelly: Are there subjects you shy away from, where you think about it and think, "You know what, that might be one step too creepy, too weird?"

King: I had one novel called Pet Cemetery that I wrote and put in a drawer because I thought, "Nobody will want to read this. This is just too awful." I wanted to write it to see what would happen, but I didn't think I would publish it. And I got into a contractual bind, and I needed to do a book with my old company. And so I did. And I found out – sort of to my delight and sort of to my horror – that you can't really gross out the American public. You can't go too far.

Kelly: It was a huge bestseller, as I recall.

King: Yeah, it's a bestseller and it was a movie. And yeah, the same thing is true with It , about the killer clown who preys on children

Kelly: Who still haunts my nightmares, I have to tell you. You've written how many books at this point?

King: I don't know.

King: Really? In our recent coverage of you, we've said everything from 50 to 70.

King: I think it's probably around 70, but I don't keep any count. I remember thinking as a kid that it would be a really fine lifetime to be able to write 100 novels.

Kelly: Oh my gosh. Well you sound like you're still having a lot of fun, so I hope you have quite a few more novels for us to come.

King: That'd be good.

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‘Godzilla Minus One’ Finally Stomps Its Way Onto Streaming

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The Big Picture

  • Godzilla Minus One , now streaming on Netflix, impressed both critics and audiences with its heartfelt story and powerful performances.
  • This intimate monster movie earned an impressive $115 million worldwide on a budget of $15 million, winning an Oscar for its special effects.
  • Godzilla Minus One offers a personal touch compared to typical monster movies, providing a compelling narrative on the platform now.

One of 2023's most delightful surprises has finally found its streaming home. Netflix officially revealed late Friday night/early Saturday morning that the Oscar-winning Godzilla Minus One is now streaming on the platform. This news comes on the heels of another monster movie, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, nearing the end of its theatrical run as one of the biggest movies of 2024 , grossing more than $560 million at the worldwide box office, including $371 million from international markets. Although Godzilla Minus One failed to reach the box office highs of Godzilla x Kong , the film still earned an impressive worldwide total of $115 million on an impressively low budget of $15 million.

Godzilla Minus One was one of the highest rated films to come out of 2023, boasting a nearly flawless 98% rating from both critics and audiences on the aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes . The movie has been subject to some interesting conversation in 2024 thus far, with many movie fans curious why it wasn't available on digital platforms or streaming once it left theaters. While Godzilla Minus One did have a physical release at the beginning of May, the Blu-ray version is only available in Japan and does not come with an option for English subtitles. In an era where movies like The Fall Guy hit digital platforms mere weeks after their theatrical release , passionate film fans have been anxious to watch Godzilla Minus One at home.

Why Do People Love ‘Godzilla Minus One’?

Most people don't go to the theater for a Godzilla movie, typically one set within the MonsterVerse, for a compelling and poignant human story ; they go for monster-smashing action brought to life with beautiful CGI. Godzilla x Kong has all the trappings of a big-budget blockbuster, but Godzilla Minus One provides a much more personal touch. The film tells an equally enthralling and heartfelt story for both its titular monster and the human characters. Godzilla Minus One was also praised upon its release for its powerful performances. In addition to said performances and enriching narrative, Godzilla Minus One was also lauded for its special effects, which won the film an Oscar. A Best Visual Effects win on a $15 million budget is impressive, considering the recent winner's budgets sit at $460 million ( Avatar: The Way of Water ), $165 million ( Dune: Part One ), and $205 million ( Tenet ).

Godzilla Minus One is officially available to stream on Netflix . Stay tuned to Collider for future streaming updates on all the biggest movies and TV shows of the year.

Godzilla Minus One

Post war Japan is at its lowest point when a new crisis emerges in the form of a giant monster, baptized in the horrific power of the atomic bomb.

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Jamie Raskin: How to Force Justices Alito and Thomas to Recuse Themselves in the Jan. 6 Cases

A white chain in the foreground, with the pillars of the Supreme Court Building in the background.

By Jamie Raskin

Mr. Raskin represents Maryland’s Eighth Congressional District in the House of Representatives. He taught constitutional law for more than 25 years and was the lead prosecutor in the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump.

Many people have gloomily accepted the conventional wisdom that because there is no binding Supreme Court ethics code, there is no way to force Associate Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas to recuse themselves from the Jan. 6 cases that are before the court.

Justices Alito and Thomas are probably making the same assumption.

But all of them are wrong.

It seems unfathomable that the two justices could get away with deciding for themselves whether they can be impartial in ruling on cases affecting Donald Trump’s liability for crimes he is accused of committing on Jan. 6. Justice Thomas’s wife, Ginni Thomas, was deeply involved in the Jan. 6 “stop the steal” movement. Above the Virginia home of Justice Alito and his wife, Martha-Ann Alito, flew an upside-down American flag — a strong political statement among the people who stormed the Capitol. Above the Alitos’ beach home in New Jersey flew another flag that has been adopted by groups opposed to President Biden.

Justices Alito and Thomas face a groundswell of appeals beseeching them not to participate in Trump v. United States , the case that will decide whether Mr. Trump enjoys absolute immunity from criminal prosecution, and Fischer v. United States , which will decide whether Jan. 6 insurrectionists — and Mr. Trump — can be charged under a statute that criminalizes “corruptly” obstructing an official proceeding. (Justice Alito said on Wednesday that he would not recuse himself from Jan. 6-related cases.)

Everyone assumes that nothing can be done about the recusal situation because the highest court in the land has the lowest ethical standards — no binding ethics code or process outside of personal reflection. Each justice decides for him- or herself whether he or she can be impartial.

Of course, Justices Alito and Thomas could choose to recuse themselves — wouldn’t that be nice? But begging them to do the right thing misses a far more effective course of action.

The U.S. Department of Justice — including the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, an appointed U.S. special counsel and the solicitor general, all of whom were involved in different ways in the criminal prosecutions underlying these cases and are opposing Mr. Trump’s constitutional and statutory claims — can petition the other seven justices to require Justices Alito and Thomas to recuse themselves not as a matter of grace but as a matter of law.

The Justice Department and Attorney General Merrick Garland can invoke two powerful textual authorities for this motion: the Constitution of the United States, specifically the due process clause, and the federal statute mandating judicial disqualification for questionable impartiality, 28 U.S.C. Section 455. The Constitution has come into play in several recent Supreme Court decisions striking down rulings by stubborn judges in lower courts whose political impartiality has been reasonably questioned but who threw caution to the wind to hear a case anyway. This statute requires potentially biased judges throughout the federal system to recuse themselves at the start of the process to avoid judicial unfairness and embarrassing controversies and reversals.

The constitutional and statutory standards apply to Supreme Court justices. The Constitution, and the federal laws under it, is the “ supreme law of the land ,” and the recusal statute explicitly treats Supreme Court justices as it does other judges: “Any justice, judge or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” The only justices in the federal judiciary are the ones on the Supreme Court.

This recusal statute, if triggered, is not a friendly suggestion. It is Congress’s command, binding on the justices, just as the due process clause is. The Supreme Court cannot disregard this law just because it directly affects one or two of its justices. Ignoring it would trespass on the constitutional separation of powers because the justices would essentially be saying that they have the power to override a congressional command.

When the arguments are properly before the court, Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Ketanji Brown Jackson, Elena Kagan, Brett Kavanaugh and Sonia Sotomayor will have both a constitutional obligation and a statutory obligation to enforce recusal standards.

Indeed, there is even a compelling argument based on case law that Chief Justice Roberts and the other unaffected justices should raise the matter of recusal on their own, or sua sponte. Numerous circuit courts have agreed with the Eighth Circuit that this is the right course of action when members of an appellate court are aware of “ overt acts ” of a judge reflecting personal bias. Cases like this stand for the idea that appellate jurists who see something should say something instead of placing all the burden on parties in a case who would have to risk angering a judge by bringing up the awkward matter of potential bias and favoritism on the bench.

But even if no member of the court raises the issue of recusal, the urgent need to deal with it persists. Once it is raised, the court would almost surely have to find that the due process clause and Section 455 compel Justices Alito and Thomas to recuse themselves. To arrive at that substantive conclusion, the justices need only read their court’s own recusal decisions.

In one key 5-to-3 Supreme Court case from 2016, Williams v. Pennsylvania, Justice Anthony Kennedy explained why judicial bias is a defect of constitutional magnitude and offered specific objective standards for identifying it. Significantly, Justices Alito and Thomas dissented from the majority’s ruling.

The case concerned the bias of the chief justice of Pennsylvania, who had been involved as a prosecutor on the state’s side in an appellate death penalty case that was before him. Justice Kennedy found that the judge’s refusal to recuse himself when asked to do so violated due process. Justice Kennedy’s authoritative opinion on recusal illuminates three critical aspects of the current controversy.

First, Justice Kennedy found that the standard for recusal must be objective because it is impossible to rely on the affected judge’s introspection and subjective interpretations. The court’s objective standard requires recusal when the likelihood of bias on the part of the judge “is too high to be constitutionally tolerable,” citing an earlier case. “This objective risk of bias,” according to Justice Kennedy, “is reflected in the due process maxim that ‘no man can be a judge in his own case.’” A judge or justice can be convinced of his or her own impartiality but also completely missing what other people are seeing.

Second, the Williams majority endorsed the American Bar Association’s Model Code of Judicial Conduct as an appropriate articulation of the Madisonian standard that “no man can be a judge in his own cause.” Model Code Rule 2.11 on judicial disqualification says that a judge “shall disqualify himself or herself in any proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” This includes, illustratively, cases in which the judge “has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party,” a married judge knows that “the judge’s spouse” is “a person who has more than a de minimis interest that could be substantially affected by the proceeding” or the judge “has made a public statement, other than in a court proceeding, judicial decision or opinion, that commits or appears to commit the judge to reach a particular result.” These model code illustrations ring a lot of bells at this moment.

Third and most important, Justice Kennedy found for the court that the failure of an objectively biased judge to recuse him- or herself is not “harmless error” just because the biased judge’s vote is not apparently determinative in the vote of a panel of judges. A biased judge contaminates the proceeding not just by the casting and tabulation of his or her own vote but by participating in the body’s collective deliberations and affecting, even subtly, other judges’ perceptions of the case.

Justice Kennedy was emphatic on this point : “It does not matter whether the disqualified judge’s vote was necessary to the disposition of the case. The fact that the interested judge’s vote was not dispositive may mean only that the judge was successful in persuading most members of the court to accept his or her position — an outcome that does not lessen the unfairness to the affected party.”

Courts generally have found that any reasonable doubts about a judge’s partiality must be resolved in favor of recusal. A judge “shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” While recognizing that the “challenged judge enjoys a margin of discretion,” the courts have repeatedly held that “doubts ordinarily ought to be resolved in favor of recusal.” After all, the reputation of the whole tribunal and public confidence in the judiciary are both on the line.

Judge David Tatel of the D.C. Circuit emphasized this fundamental principle in 2019 when his court issued a writ of mandamus to force recusal of a military judge who blithely ignored at least the appearance of a glaring conflict of interest. He stated : “Impartial adjudicators are the cornerstone of any system of justice worthy of the label. And because ‘deference to the judgments and rulings of courts depends upon public confidence in the integrity and independence of judges,’ jurists must avoid even the appearance of partiality.” He reminded us that to perform its high function in the best way, as Justice Felix Frankfurter stated, “justice must satisfy the appearance of justice.”

The Supreme Court has been especially disposed to favor recusal when partisan politics appear to be a prejudicial factor even when the judge’s impartiality has not been questioned. In Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co. , from 2009, the court held that a state supreme court justice was constitutionally disqualified from a case in which the president of a corporation appearing before him had helped to get him elected by spending $3 million promoting his campaign. The court, through Justice Kennedy, asked whether, quoting a 1975 decision, “under a realistic appraisal of psychological tendencies and human weakness,” the judge’s obvious political alignment with a party in a case “poses such a risk of actual bias or prejudgment that the practice must be forbidden if the guarantee of due process is to be adequately implemented.”

The federal statute on disqualification, Section 455(b) , also makes recusal analysis directly applicable to bias imputed to a spouse’s interest in the case. Ms. Thomas and Mrs. Alito (who, according to Justice Alito, is the one who put up the inverted flag outside their home) meet this standard. A judge must recuse him- or herself when a spouse “is known by the judge to have an interest in a case that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding.”

At his Senate confirmation hearing, Chief Justice Roberts assured America that “judges are like umpires.”

But professional baseball would never allow an umpire to continue to officiate the World Series after learning that the pennant of one of the two teams competing was flying in the front yard of the umpire’s home. Nor would an umpire be allowed to call balls and strikes in a World Series game after the umpire’s wife tried to get the official score of a prior game in the series overthrown and canceled out to benefit the losing team. If judges are like umpires, then they should be treated like umpires, not team owners, fans or players.

Justice Barrett has said she wants to convince people “that this court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks.” Justice Alito himself declared the importance of judicial objectivity in his opinion for the majority in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision overruling Roe v. Wade — a bit of self-praise that now rings especially hollow.

But the Constitution and Congress’s recusal statute provide the objective framework of analysis and remedy for cases of judicial bias that are apparent to the world, even if they may be invisible to the judges involved. This is not really optional for the justices.

I look forward to seeing seven members of the court act to defend the reputation and integrity of the institution.

Jamie Raskin, a Democrat, represents Maryland’s Eighth Congressional District in the House of Representatives. He taught constitutional law for more than 25 years and was the lead prosecutor in the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

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