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12April

Why We Write

-To earn passing grades: Let's face it, most of our early writing is not voluntary. I've wrestled enough research papers from hostile juniors and seniors to know that for many, the ONLY motivation – at least in the beginning – is to graduate from high school and be done with writing.

-To stay connected: Even though most of us don't hand-write long letters any more, we e-mail our friends and relatives and keep up with huge numbers of contacts through FB, Twitter, etc.

-To entertain: Whether it's a quick comment on FML or Texts from Last Night, or a detailed account of a crazy weekend in emails or on blogs, we all love a good story, and sites like reddit keep us in the loop.

-To remember: We write events of our lives in journals, memories from the past in letters to old friends, homework assignments in tiny notepads or on slips of paper that get lost, and To Do lists that don't get done. Writing is our cue to our future selves about important stuff.

-To make sense of tragedy: How many times have you heard someone tell the story of where they were on 9-11? Or when the big tornado hit? We cope with tragic events by retelling the stories.

-To organize our thoughts. We pull together large amounts of information to find common threads and relationships between ideas.

-To satisfy creative urges: Whether we're writing novels, poems, plays, music, speeches, legal briefs, or sermons, there's something immensely satisfying about matching what's in our heads with the hard-copy that will help other people understand our thoughts.

-To find our voice. How can we know what we think until we see what we say? Only you can express the particular thoughts that are in your unique head in your own personal style. Writing's a great journey in self discovery for those with the courage to experiment.

-To earn money: Just kidding. That doesn't happen. . . Well, not much.

Posted in April, 2010

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