Why We Write

I hear my name murmured from across the room, but I ignore it. My class is doing a writing workshop, and there are two drafts being read—mine, and one other. The right half of the room reads one draft; the left side reads mine.

I’m doing quite well keeping my mind on the draft in front of me, until someone begins reading my piece aloud. Her spoken words lilt over the quiet classroom, worming their way into my ears. No one else speaks. I’m supposed to be reading my classmate’s draft, and though my eyes are still tracing the words, my mind has been hijacked. It’s as if she is telling a story about me that only I could know, and she’s got every detail right, impossibly and completely right. It’s like my psyche has invaded hers.

That’s the magic of writing.

I was embarrassed of this piece when I submitted it to the workshop. I considered it barely edited, because I knew there were problems that I hadn’t fixed. But for more than one student that day, this piece—my piece—achieved the most noble thing a story can do—it transported the readers out of their own worlds and into mine. (I only know because they told me.) And that is something that only stories can do.

That’s why we write. That’s why I write, anyway. Writing takes thought, as pure as can be, and moves it from one conscious mind into another.

Always be a poet, even in prose. –Charles Baudelaire

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2 thoughts on “Why We Write

  1. sleephotography

    fiatlux1am –

    You beautifully illustrated the power of the written word here. Personally, I find this concept to be true when reading scripture. When I read something and even though it happened so long ago, I’m able to put myself right in their shoes and imagine how I would behave in their situation. Since I’m religious myself, I obviously like to make the tie-in and test myself if I would truly choose to follow God’s way in certain situations. When I see examples of that in the stories I read, it gives me confidence to follow in their footsteps and make similar decisions. Have you personally had any experiences like that, particularly with scripture? I appreciated your post! Thank you!

    – Sam

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    1. writer292 Post author

      Sam-

      Thank you. I can certainly relate with taking inspiration from stories. That’s the power of characters (whether fictitious or not). I think most of us (and I’m included) have had experiences of empathising with a certain character or hero and wondering if we’d be strong enough to make the same tough decisions. Optimally, scripture and story can influence readers to make choices that better their lives.

      Thanks for your thoughts! Have a good one.
      -fiatlux1am

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