Why I Write

Originally written on August 19, 1999 and revised on June 6, 2014

I love to write. I like to make lists so I can check them off after I do stuff. I like to make lists of characters and things that could happen to them and then write a story about them. I like writing about made-up stuff more than real stuff. If I write about something that really happened, I usually add fictional details to it. Sometimes I don’t though, and it helps me learn about myself and why things happen in my life. It gives me a vision of where I’ve been and maybe why I am where I am.

I like to write random thoughts, lists of words, lesson ideas, grocery lists, lists of stuff I want to buy and I try to prioritize them. I don’t usually show people my lists, but I like to show them my poems and stories. I like to read them aloud to people. I list my bills and how much I owe so I can see how much money I have to blow!

I write on the computer the best, but I often do too much correcting, and then I don’t get as much written. I make a lot of typos. I often carry a teeny tiny notebook around so I can jot stuff down. A writing class taught me to do that, but I even did it some before I took it. I love pens and pencils, so I don’t mind writing without the computer but my handwriting is awful!

I like to write and make up the characters in my mind. I used to want to create a T.V. show and have everybody know my characters like they know the Seinfeld sidekicks. It would be neat to see my characters really be real.

I try to write everyday. Sometimes I like to write as though I am writing to a friend and telling them how much fun I had or how much I admire or like them. I get personal. It’s easy because I’m writing to them in a way, but I am not planning on ever letting them see it. It helps me focus on our friendship and what it means to me.

I sometimes write as though I'm my dog, Lexy. I know, a little corny. She passed rainbow bridge back 2007. I imagine what she would say to me about my ridiculousness sometimes and how tired she is of me and my moods. Or, I have her write as though she is talking to someone I know.

Writing was modeled for me. My mom kept a five-year diary where she just wrote what was done that day--no big secrets or anything like that--but I do that too. It’s fun to look back and say, a year ago today I did such-n-such. It helps me see where I’ve been and where I’m going—I guess I already said that. Man, that must be it—the reason why I write! It just came to me! Wow. I’ve never thought of it that way. In the past I would have just simply said to express my feelings and vent, but now I see there is a deeper, almost spiritual reason to why I write.

I write prayer requests too, and then I list examples of answered prayers. I don’t do that often. It’s in a special notebook, and when I’ve waited two or three weeks and go back and look at it, it’s interesting to see what I was worried or concerned about in my prayer request. I also see how the Lord answered a prayer with yes, no, or wait. So, that’s important too.

See, if I had to pick, I’d pick writing over reading in a heartbeat! I love it. Reading to me is a leisure activity. Yes, I learn about myself through it, but I find it hard to have a purpose in reading unless I am going to discuss it with someone else or apply it to something I need to know.

I like to read medium or short length books. But the first book I ever felt a part of was East of Eden by John Steinbeck. After I’d crammed reading it into a weekend in college, I woke up on a Monday wondering what the characters would do today—but I was done with the book! I’d never experienced that before or anything quite like it since. Well, maybe a little bit with To Kill a Mockingbird, or the short story, “A Christmas Story” by Truman Capote, but not many others.

For years I only read because I wanted to find out something or to prepare for school. It was for learning, not for fun like writing was. I used to read magazines more than books. Man, I’m not a very good example to young readers, am I?

But hey, as of five years ago, I did begin reading a lot more. I thought after years of teaching, I deserved to have it be a hobby, so now I read stuff I never plan on teaching. Now I read a lot on my Kindle. I've made myself read faster too. To be a writer, one needs to be a reader, and I've finally realized that fact and put it into practice.

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