Why Do We Write? Faulkner, Angelou and White Said It Best

I don’t often stop to wonder why I love to write. And although my husband is very supportive of my writing habit, he doesn’t understand why anyone would want to do it. But I can’t seem to stop the stories from swirling in my mind, even when I’m half asleep. An overheard conversation in the grocery store can spark a completely new idea that I can’t shake off.

When people find out that I’m an author of children’s books, they often tell me that they have an idea for a children’s book and want to know how to get started. This has happened too many times to count. It’s also happened to my friend, Shirley Raye Redmond. It’s the reason we wrote our workbook, Write a Marketable Children’s Book in 7 Weeks. Why do so many of us write or want to write? I think the reasons people write are similar whether they write for children or adults.  William Faulkner was correct when he said, “If a story is in you, it has to come out.”

Maya Angelou put it more poetically: “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”

I decided to find out what other famous writers had to say about the frustrating, highly competitive, often disappointing, and delightful habit of writing.

“Story is the vehicle we use to make sense of our lives in a world that often defies logic.” ― Jim Trelease

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
― Anne Frank

“Why does one begin to write? Because she feels misunderstood, I guess. Because it never comes out clearly enough when she tries to speak. Because she wants to rephrase the world, to take it in and give it back again differently, so that everything is used and nothing is lost… ― Nicole Krauss

“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore the things I’m afraid of. ”― Joss Whedon

My favorite is what E.B. White wrote. “All that I hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world.”

I agree with Faulkner and Angelou. I have stories in me that I need to put on paper, whether they contain profound ideas or not.  Yet I agree even more with White. God’s wonderful creation is full of fascinating, challenging, perplexing, sometimes sad, more often happy, and lovely things. I think I write because I love life.

We’d like to hear from you. Why do you want to write? Why do you love it?


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