We write because we have to. That’s the short answer. But that isn’t a very useful answer. On a superficial layer I carry on writing because it would be embarrassing now to stop. I’ve told my family and friends that that’s what I do, so that’s what I do now. But there’s a lot of things at the moment trying to distract me from writing. Netflix, Twitter, Instagram, the News; thankfully, writing is the perfect antidote to these distractions. They can become consuming in a bad way sometimes. With any kind of art, you have to spend time on it. You can’t lazily make a painting, an essay, a story. Well, technically you can, but it won’t be very good. And after all, it’s only when you’ve read really bad writing that you can truly cherish good writing.
Writing primarily is communication. Whether it’s with yourself, someone, or anyone. Communication of thoughts, feelings, stuff you need to get out of your head or it will eat you alive, or stuff you think someone needs to hear. Writing is easy and difficult at the same time. Getting words on to a page is simple enough, but making the words good, making them flow, making them wonderful is a different thing. Of course, words give us a helping hand, being wondrous enough already. Writing becomes difficult in a whole knew way when you think about it; “You need a certain amount of nerve to be a writer,” says Margaret Atwood, “an almost physical nerve, the kind you need to walk a log across a river.” Writing takes nerve because it’s a terrifying that important things will get lost in translation – that the image in your head won’t get on to paper and won’t make sense when it eventually ends up there. And it’s hard to eloquently employ a currency that everyone knows how to use – words. Those pesky things. How 26 letters, perfectly arranged, can make one experience a whole host of different things. But also, writing takes nerve because we meet people in writing. The characters often take us in unpredictable places, and the essays we write can unfurl something we didn’t realise we already knew. We meet ideas, plans. Yes we meet ourselves, too, but sometimes best of all, we meet our demons and without realising greet them as friends. Ultimately, we write for empathy. Empathy being the most important quality of all. It’s the point of all this *gestures to the fields, rivers, woods, cities, oceans, houses, and roads*. Without empathy, we fail. Empathy gives us the wisdom to know that we are nothing but become everything when we love. And when we love, we write; we come up with silly metaphors and try to describe everything we feel.
I think I’m almost always writing. There’s always something churning away in my head, even if it’s unusable drivel. There’s always something to be poked at, pondered, played with. Even if it never comes into fruition, I’ll remain, always writing.