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Why Do You Write?

Woman Writing

Lately I’ve been thinking about how I can steer my three-year-old daughter toward a career in engineering. She has a knack for putting things together, and oh how much I’d rather she became an engineer like her father than a writer like her mother. (I read, by the way, that the way to do this is to encourage spacial skills like throwing, kicking, and catching balls; playing with construction toys; doing puzzles; etc. There’s a fantastic new toy designed for girls 6 and up called Roominate that I plan to buy for her when she’s a little older. ) This got me thinking about why I write and why I plan to continue to write instead of going back to school to study engineering or computer science, which, I have to say, sounds pretty tempting some days.

Back when I was modeling in the early 90s, I met a male model who was a former ballet dancer. He said he would not wish the life of a ballet dancer on anyone and that only those who “must” do it should. I feel that way about writing. I do it because I “must”—because I feel—as corny as it sounds—that it’s my calling. I love words, I love communicating with people, and I love writing stories that edify and entertain. Someday I hope to write a book that will make an impact on people. (My last name, Ward, originates from “Macenbard,” which means “home of the bards.” The bards were poet-singers in Ireland. They somehow failed to pass the singing gene down to me, so I’m stuck writing instead.)

What about you? Why do you write? Because it’s fun? Because you won all the creative writing contests as a kid, and your family and friends have always encouraged you to write? Or because, despite discouragement from family and friends, you feel a need to write? You feel that you “must”?

A Few Announcements

It’s not to late to get your tickets for Digi.Lit, Litquake’s first Digital Publishing Conference, here in San Francisco on June 29. I’ll be on the Author Branding and Market panel from 10-11:30. This is going to be a great conference. Don’t miss it!

Blogging for Beginners
I’ll be teaching Blogging for Beginners at the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto again this summer, August 7-28. Email me for more information or to enroll.

My YouTube channel
I now have a YouTube channel! To subscribe, click the red “Subscribe to My Videos on YouTube” button over there on the right. I’ll post this week’s video tomorrow, both here and on my YouTube channel.

The Killing
Are you watching The Killing? It started Sunday, so there’s time for you to catch up. It’s so good, and there are some great actors on the show this season (Peter Sarsgaard, the mechanic woman from Firefly, a cameo appearance by the grandmother from Big Love.)

25 comments to Why Do You Write?

  • Aditi Raychoudhury

    Looks like my daughter will be an engineer then – but she also loves to draw and make up stories – may be she will be an architect / oh no!!! OH NO!! – at the end of the day , you gotta do what you love to do… At least you know what u love yo do – most people struggle to find what it is they would rather do.

  • I could say that I write because it's fun, but this would be a lie. Writing is hard and challenging. This is why I love it. I've had other jobs, but writing is like breathing. I have to do it or I'm not fully alive.

  • thecontentangel

    Writing is the only thing that challenges my mind. The majority of the time I am riddled with anxiety and fear, but when I write, when I fully immerse myself in an article or book those voices in my head go away and it's only time I feel centered and calm.

  • I don't know why I write. I only know I can't seem to stop.

  • I wonder about this, too. I can sing–I have a great big voice, and I spent many years thinking that's what I would do. But somehow, while singing feels like pure pleasure, it's never felt as satisfying as writing or as challenging. So sometimes I think I write because I never take the easy route (and sometimes I wish I did!). I guess when people ask whether I "must" I think, well, no, there's _probably_ something else I could do. But then, I just keep coming back to it…

  • Nothing brings me greater joy than making sentences. That's why I write.

  • Kristan

    "Because you won all the creative writing contests as a kid, and your family and friends have always encouraged you to write?"

    Yup. And combined with my love of reading, that very quickly evolved into:

    "I love words, I love communicating with people, and I love writing stories that edify and entertain. Someday I hope to write a book that will make an impact on people."


  • treacycolbert

    It's Nana's fault. I wrote a godawful poem when I was 6. She praised it to the skies and framed it. It's all been downhill from there.

  • annerallen

    Gloria Steinem once said that writing was the only thing she could do that didn't make her feel guilty she wasn't doing something else. That totally resonated with me. That's how I feel too. But I wish it were otherwise. I'm fascinated by tech and I think if I'd got into it earlier in my life, I might have had a very different career.

  • lindseycrittenden

    I love this post, Meghan, not just for the prompt about why we write but for the question of how we can shape our children's career choices. I wonder how much we're helped (or hindered?) by our parents' (or grandparents', as Treacy attests) biases. I wonder if I'd gotten less encouragement, would I have still persevered in my writing? I remember feeling at times that my mother had a little too much stake in my writing–yes, proud of me, but as a teenager I wanted more separation. I always hid my writing from her then. I think of the many writers who grew up without a book in the house and still found their way. I realize, too, that there's a huge difference between supporting our kids' talents and proclivities and turning into Momma Rose!

  • My first post for Ladyiwrites, is called "Why Write?" my response…

    I have a love – hate relationship with writing. For the first time ever I am going to share the truth; that I love when my words come together and make sense but I really don’t like the process.

    So why I want to do it? Because once done right, the final product is worth the task and I have an unexplained fullfiment of creating literature that inspires and informs.

  • Sierra Godfrey

    I write because I must for sure, because it's the only way I know how to process what happens around me. And it's not just writing — it's story, which is enormously important to me and has always waylaid me all my life. I love a good story more than anything else.

  • theGIRL

    Two things…

    From a past blog post: I am a writer because stringing words into sentences and sentences into complete thoughts helps me discover truths that otherwise go undiscovered.

    Also, I'm sure you've heard of GoldiBlox by now, right? If not, check it out. I bought the toy for my 3 year old daughter, and she loves to play with it (with some help from me).

    Love your plaid…even though my roots are Scottish 😉

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