This is a response to The Daily Post’s weekly Discover challenge Raison d’être. And my partner asked me; why I choose to spend my time creating/writing and, since she’s doing a post on it here, I decided to write one myself. So why do I write, in my diary, on my book projects, on the blog series? What is my raison d’être? I don’t make a living out of it (yet), so it’s not about that. It took me a while to pin it down, as there isn’t a singular reason to my writing, but a multitude of interconnected and complicated reasons, many of which have only emerged over time, and through much deliberation. So let’s boil it down to five themes.
Building worlds and telling stories – I write stories. I like telling them. Whether it’s epic action sequences in aliens worlds, or three people chatting about the latest in-world politics, I love the creativity involved. Planning out the text, choosing what to embellish and what to cast aside, picking a viewpoint, tweaking it so it’s just perfect, etc. Whether it’s a short story challenge, a piece of nano fiction, working on my blog series, or my continual attempts at long-form writing, it’s all part of the course.
Dealing with life – Life can be grim. Disease, death, sexual abuse, etc. all exist and whether you like it or not, you will probably have to deal with it. I started using writing for dealing trauma initially when my parents divorced, then dealing with the loss of a family member, and later when I was a victim of abuse and violence. By writing it down I externalise it, then analyse the motivations to try and find out what went right or wrong (which is very much a stream of consciousness kind of thing), which has helped me cope with these experiences.
Thinking through a problem – Taking notes started as an attempt to distil the essence of an argument or a problem and then source verifiable data to prove or disprove it. I spent hours at university doing deep dives on various topics mostly for classes, but essentially for anything that tickled my fancy. This allowed me to form a defensible position on any subject. Too often people pick and choose their opinions without giving it sufficient thought. Part of my writing is figuring out what my position is and whether I can/want/choose to defend it.
Playing with words – This is often a matter of personal pride and satisfaction. Wordplay, puns, obscure references allows me to take delight in seeing a reader having ‘aha’ moments, a quiet snicker at something I created with my brain. That’s something powerful, something great, and should be appreciated.
Clearing my mind – Some people use yoga, others use mind-altering substances or use music to soothe their inner turmoil. I write. I write about my thoughts and ideas, I write stories and shorts, I write silly jokes and I write and I write and I write, and at some point my head goes quiet enough that my metaphorical demons can’t find me. And then I feel ok and can deal with the rest of my existence.
Or, if I have to put it succinctly: I write because I cannot not write.
Why do you choose write or paint or sculpt or whatever is your thing? Why do you choose to create rather than not create? Let me know.