Sophia Colby

I’ll be honest with you. I thought this essay was going to be easy. I thought it would be one of those projects where the words just flow out of your brain and through the keyboard and into the computer, and the angels sing and the heavens align and the muse speaks to you and the English language becomes your best friend because you’re loving the project so much- one of those projects where you look up and realize it’s one in the morning all of a sudden and your wrists feel totally dead but you don’t really care because damn you got some good work done. (Don’t pretend you haven’t been there.)

Unfortunately, the muse seems to have gone off somewhere and this essay is proving more tedious than expected.

Why do I write? That’s easy. I mean, I write all the time. It’s the very fiber of my being, my passion for this craft.

So how come I can’t quite put my finger on why I enjoy this so much?

Saying I write because it’s fun doesn’t do my feelings justice. Writing is not exactly fun. Actually, it’s sort of painful most of the time. Moments of absolute inspiration are few and far apart, and the drudgery of forcing yourself to sit, write, and improve your skill even when you don’t want to, even when you feel like it’s not going anywhere, is hard. Really hard. When a lot of your fulfillment in life comes from expressing yourself through the medium of language, and suddenly that fulfillment is snatched from under your feet, but you keep creating anyways- that takes thick skin. Props to all the writers just being writers, just keeping at it. You are all awesome.

What’s making this essay difficult is insecurity that has been plaguing me since draft one: How can I weigh in on all this writerly discourse if I’m not one myself? I’m far from published, far from professional. Does making up little stories on my own, for my personal enjoyment, really qualify as capital W Writing?

Do I even write at all?

Well, of course. Of course I write. By engaging with this prompt, by typing words into this terrifying, repugnant spawn of satan known as a blank google document, I am writing.

Does that make me a writer, though? Or just someone trying to be, hoping to someday join that elusive club once I am older and cleverer, more public, more practiced?

I don’t know the answer to that, and I don’t think I really care.

I write because I need to write.

I need to show people what I’m thinking, and I need to show them in this particular way, with words on a page. I write because people need to know they’re not alone. I write because those who are forced into silence need to be heard, and I can be their voice.

I write for people like me- I write for readers and I write for writers.