Slice #21: Why do I Write?

Johannes Vermeer, Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid

It’s a rare Saturday. Urgencies quiet, I treat myself to a slow start, waking only when my eyes decide to open – a luxury. Following my second cup of tea, a lovely breakfast and meaningful conversation, I settle down to write today’s post.  Suddenly, my slow start speeds up as I begin wondering, mixed with slight panic, about what to write today.

Writing every day is challenging. Writing every day publicly, is nearly insurmountable. Throughout the Slice of Life challenge, I have lamented, with those willing to listen, about my struggles over coming up with a topic that is worthy of reading. During a conversation the other day with a good friend and colleague, bemoaning the fact that 98% of my posts aren’t even read, she asked me two simple, but very provocative questions.

“Why do you write?”

“Do you write to be read, or do you write because the process is gratifying?”

And so the ruminations began rumbling…

I am not a writer.

A writer is someone that shares his/her talents with a broad audience – understanding that once their words are released, they belong to the reader. Days are spent observing life – pondering its significance; searching for stories that lurk in the every day and sharing their discoveries in words.

And although writers write for themselves, they do have aspirations of becoming published – their message, hopes, and dreams for the world sent out through their fingertips. They want their words read and considered.

I am a teacher of writing.

Each day, I share my passion of words and what little I know about the craft of writing with the young minds that sit before me. I am happy to stumble around with the students working out how to best plan for and tackle a piece of writing – how to persevere through the messiness and challenges of revision – how to maintain confidence throughout the process of writing.

I read to appreciate the art of writing – admiring an author’s ability to capture the nuances of life in words. My appreciation evident in the comments and dog-eared pages that litter my books. I read to learn the craft of writing – the “how tos” from the greats to help me improve my own writing and that of the students. I read to appreciate the simple beauty of words – singular or paired.

So why do I write? I write to celebrate the craft. I write to learn. I write to reflect. Hopefully, I write to share my passion.

 

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38 thoughts on “Slice #21: Why do I Write?

  1. You are an eloquent writer and I appreciate the way you have crafted this piece. You have excellent word choice which makes your writing so interesting. I appreciate your entire thought process on paper about why you write. Thank you for writing and sharing, writing friend!

  2. I resonate with so much in your post – from wishing I could sleep until my eyes choose to open (rather than being nudged awake by my daughter) to enjoying leisurely tea to reflecting on ‘being a writer’. I agree, we are teachers of writing, but I would ask you to reflect on if you are a writer or not. Do you consider your kids writers? Even when they don’t think of themselves that way? What is the standard you use to consider them writers? My guess is you are a writer, too.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment Kristi. Your questions are excellent ones and have given me much to think about. It is interesting that I see my students as writers but not myself. I need to reflect on the standards you mentioned and why I consider them different for students and adults.

  3. I fall back on the ethos of the National Writing Project here — teachers who write understand best how to teach writing to others. I remember having many teachers and never seeing any of their writing, ever. Were they writers? If not, how could they expect me to be a writer? But that doesn’t mean there aren’t struggles for us, as teachers as writers. It just reminds us of the struggles of our students.
    I write to understand myself and to understand the world. I suspect you do, too.
    Thanks for sharing
    Kevin

    • Excellent point that our struggles help keep us aware of the struggles our students experience. It is important to stay grounded. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. You have given me much to think about.

  4. Your reasons to write are solid and admirable. I believe that many bloggers/slicers keep asking your question over and over and over.

  5. I am not a writer, either, but I write for the same reason you do (I suspect). I write. because it reminds me how to teach writing. I write to model the art, the craft and the power of words. I write because putting words together helps make sense of my crazy world. I suspect you write for some of the same reasons.
    While we are not making our fortunes with words, we are, at least in my opinion, writers. You are, at least in my opinion, a wonderful writer with a gift for words!

    • Thank you Anita. You have provided me with even more reasons to write – my realization being that writing is personal and the reasons do not matter, except to the one who is writing. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  6. So why do I write? I write to celebrate the craft. I write to learn. I write to reflect. Hopefully, I write to share my passion.
    I agree!!!! I have become a better writer from just writing, building my writer’s muscle. You say it all!!!!

  7. Ah, but as you (should) know, you are a writer! You were a writer before this challenge and I am sure you will be a writer afterwards as well. Even though I do not often comment, I am reading your writing and appreciate the ideas you have for writing with students!

  8. You are indeed a writer! And because you are, you are the best kind of writing teacher. There are so many reasons to write. Thank you for sharing yours!

  9. So enjoyed your opening to this piece. Warming up to the writing day is so important and a necessary part of the process. Can’t think of better way to do it than with a few cups of tea …
    Darla & Jen

  10. When the words don’t flow for me, instead of doubting my identity as a wrotee I write anyway, just like you did today, knowing that sometimes the focus is found in the writing. That this writing makes space for new ideas. We live the writers life long before we have an audience for the written word.

  11. As I read the opening of your slice, I was amazed to read this: “I am not a writer.” I was amazed because I disagree! Your thoughtful posts are beautifully crafted. I think we all struggle with what to write and whether or not our words are worth reading. And I think we all “write to celebrate the craft…to learn…to reflect… to share” our passions. Well said!

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