Why I Write

I write the words I want to read, the words I can’t find anywhere except in my own head.

Progress toward my goals:

  • Marathon: On Track. Icy sidewalks kept me from running for about half this week, but I ran yesterday and I’ll run this morning after I post this. I’m claiming the victory this week.
  • Two Square Yards of Earth: Behind Schedule. I have started on Chapter 1; by my plan, I should have finished Chapter 3 or 4 by now.
  • 100 Posts: Behind Schedule. This is my thirteenth post for the year. My plan was to have sixteen by this Sunday.

There are so many writers out there who write more beautifully, more succinctly, more prolifically than I do. Who do I think I am, I wonder sometimes, to try to share my words when so many others share theirs better? Why not just read their words and save myself the time, the effort, the frustration?

Why not sleep a little later instead of getting up to write?

Why not spend more time with my kids?

Why not give my wife more of my attention?

Why not watch TV, or surf the Internet, or play a computer game, or read a book?

Why not spend the time getting ahead at work?

All these questions plague me every time I sit down to write. They give me plenty of reasons not to develop a regular writing habit, plenty of reasons to find something more productive to do with my time. And by more productive, they mean pretty much anything else.

But the compulsion to share my words is still there.

Because none of those writers whose words are so much more beautiful than mine, so much more succinct, so much more prolific is writing the words I want to read. None of them is sharing the messages that rattle around inside my skull, making a ruckus that doesn’t let up until I turn on my computer and let them out. They write what they want to read, instead, the messages making a ruckus inside their skulls.

So courage, the kind of quiet everyday courage I like to celebrate, goes largely unspoken, largely uncelebrated, and nobody seems to miss it. Because those who don’t value it don’t care, and those who do are too busy living it to read about it.

In large part, writing about it is my way of learning to live it. When my own courage fails, I can write about it here and maybe figure out how to do better next time.

Maybe, from time to time, somebody will read my words, find wisdom in them, and teach them to somebody else. Or maybe not.

Either way, I’ll be here, sharing the words I want to read.

What about you? What do you feel compelled to do? Why?

I've been a soldier, a dreamer, a working stiff, a leader. A husband, father, example (good and otherwise), and now a survivor. I write about courage, because courage is what enables us to accomplish the impossible. If you draw breath, I love you. If you love in whatever way seems best to you and want others to love in whatever way seems best to them, I am your ally. If you believe someone is less than you because they do not love the way you do, I oppose you. If you see someone as a threat to be abused or destroyed merely because they do not look like you, or love like you, or worship like you, I am your enemy. I am a joyful and courageous man. And I stand with you who love.
  • This rings true to the depths of me – I get it! Writing is like the final step in gaining clarity for me. New thoughts stay just a little muddled until they are defined with letters on a page. Sharing about times your courage fails you might just be very courage you are searching for. Interesting thought. Thanks for sharing so honestly!

    • Alyson, I can’t remember who said it, but I heard someone say recently “I write to find out what I think.” That’s definitely true for me–but I don’t often feel courageous for posting here. Thanks for your comment!

  • Jim Borden

    Great post; I have the same thoughts many times. I came across this quote from Seth Godin that seems relevant: “if you are blogging for other people you are going to be disappointed…even if no one would read it, I would still blog…this is a great chance for me to clear my thoughts and put them into the world, what an opportunity.”

    • I agree, Jim, but sometimes I need reminding. I think that’s why I posted this–to remind myself.

      Thanks for your comment!