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Know Jack #317 Why We Do It

Why do you write? People, even the most introverted of us, are natural storytellers. Our stories reveal who we are and how we view not only the world around us but the unseen things of the spirit. But not all storytellers are writers.

What makes a person a writer? What compels some people to stay up late and rise up early just to write their stories down?

People tell me, “I’ve always loved to write.” This is very probably true, I certainly am not one to question such statements, but I am given to wonder why so many who say that also tell me that they have no writing stashed away somewhere.

Now, it might be they do have a secret stash that they are too shy or too embarrassed to share. I can understand that. Putting your scribbling out there for anyone and everyone to read takes courage. Is simply opening your writing to the world what makes you a writer? Does singing in the shower or rocking out in your car make you a singer?

I suppose it depends on how loosely you wish to define a thing. And here is where we get to what makes a person a writer and why we do it. It is the old debate of nature versus nurture or, as it is more recently termed, genetics versus environment.

Sci-Fi fans of the movie Total Recall may remember Quato’s statement to the confused Quaid, “You are what you do.” Is that true? Could it be equally stated as truth that you do what you are? I think so. In fact, I come down heavy on the side of genetics.

It is okay to say that actions speak louder than words, but actions can be as maliciously false as words. By way of example, Jesus criticized the actions of the scribes, Pharisees and hypocrites because their hearts and thus motives were not pure. In other words what they did, at least in public and on the surface, did not reflect who they were.

I have an adopted daughter whom I love dearly. Growing up in my home has left its mark upon her, but there is no doubt she is her mother’s daughter, who was, in turn, her mother’s daughter.

I sing in the car at occasionally dare karaoke. I may enjoy singing, but I have no illusions that I am a singer.

I used the word “compelled” a bit ago when describing writers. That was intentional. I write because it is who I am. I have done other things in life, but I did those things in order to write (or speak).

I have said repeatedly here in the blog that—writers, write. They do so because they are compelled by something inside them. Take away their pen and paper or computer and they will write in their heads. It is like a fire shut up in their bones and they will eventually yield to it.

To misquote Descartes, I am, therefore, I write.


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