Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Why I write...

(If you're here for the poem  - it's at the bottom. If you're interested in why I write - read on!)

I've been observing lots of blog posts and articles recently about why people write. So I thought maybe I'd try and write my own...but it turns out it's a lot harder (without sounding arrogant or condescending, anyway!) than it looks.

See, I thought there'd be one reason I write, and one alone - i.e. I can't help it! Poetry seems to flow from me whether I want it to or not. And that's a noble-sounding reason, right?! But the more I receive comments and feedback on my work and the more I engage with my audience, the more I realise, there are other (more conceited!) reasons I write.

I'm a selfish artist - I write to satisfy my own desire to do so, and alongside that, I'm a narcissist who also writes (or keeps writing) because people read/enjoy my work. Would I write anyway, even if nobody read it? Of course - because I couldn't stop myself (the poems would just keep coming!) - but that doesn't mean I enjoy the feedback any less! I think, if we're honest, all writers revel in feedback - good or bad! We lap up the good, and we use the bad to improve...attention is attention, after all - but it's not all about us, is it? In fact, the selfish fulfilling of the compulsion to write and the joy of feedback, on examination, are smaller reasons for my writing than I thought they'd be...

You see, over and above everything else, I have a desire to comment on lives and emotions and situations - I'm an observer, a thinker, but mostly a feeler - and that's my biggest reason to write - because I want to make my audience feel. I want to affect you. I want to make you feel better or worse, feel love, hate or joy, repulsion, desire, fear...I want to make you blush, gasp, smile, cry...and all of it only with words. That's the joy of writing poetry... Every so often, a person will read a poem and be affected by it - they'll experience a moment they'll never forget. I know...because I've had that moment. Then they'll go back to that poem and re-read it, over and over - because they want to feel like that again. For some people, someday, that poem will be one of mine...and that's spellbinding. That's why I write.

And after all that prose, still the true poet, I think I can say it better in verse:

Poet, Heal Everyone Else

They know me as
a love poet,
a dreamer,
pain eater,
But I
have a nasty habit
of publicising
as a healer.
I don't always
to entice,
to get it so right,
with minimal effort,
without foresight
to tempt them to my side.
But I am a glutton
for one who needs me,
worse still for one who
leads me to lie down
and ache with them.
Bitter or sweet
lend me
your agonies and your yearnings
for what are my
I have seen you
through the

So...I'll get my coat then...if my head will fit through the door! :-)


  1. Nice poem. The stuff above is pretty good, too. Feelings! That's what I'm missing. Once I find some feeling, I'll give poetry another try. :)

    Might be seeing a few of these 'why I write' things. There's an essay contest at a forum, saw others mentioning it. It prompted me to write mine. No contest for me, just posted in the event someone might be interested in my madness.
    -David G Shrock
    looking for feelings.

  2. Very raw and honest - writers we are!

  3. Thanks for reading, guys!

    No contest for me either - as you say, David, just for the ones interested in my madness! :)

    Oh, & the feelings? Don't hunt them...it makes them hide. Stand in the open and wait quietly, they'll flock to you, I promise. :P

  4. i love a good honest post about why people write! i think most writers will say the same thing, even if it isn't published they want to get those words out there. They want to connect with the tradition of writing :)