When I read George Orwell’s piece of 1946 captioned ‘Why I Write’, I asked myself “why do I write really”. I discovered most of us may not be able to deeply express our innermost thoughts if we do not put pen to paper. I for one am more comfortable with writing out thoughts which is much better than speaking. Even those who speak thoughts have to write out first or else they make a messy speech.
‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you’ – that story you want the world to know – that story you may not be there to tell next generations – we can’t keep saying a particular story verbatim over and over by ourselves. Saying your stories in written form and letting others tell your stories to other people for you should be a relief.
I do not agree with Stephen King’s view that if one doesn’t have time to read, then one doesn’t have the time to write. For sure, reading moulds one’s writing prowess (because one has to watch and learn like an apprentice, how others do theirs) but the passion for writing cannot be underestimated. That is where the problem lies. No one wants to read, we all want to write!
There are several persons who read like machines, they buy books of all sorts but they may not be able to write for others to read. The point is that I envy these guys. We all have individual differences here; some read more than they write while others write more than they read. There are times when I would be on the road, I remember something, I go crazy when I forget it later on. I now use my phone notepad to quickly jot down. This piece you are reading is one of such write-ups. Thanks to technology!
There are reasons ‘why I write’. I am more of a realist than an idealist. There are several anomalies in the society where I come from and the world over. Sometimes I wish to be in that position where I can make certain changes in the society owing to my background and training as a change agent. However, because I derive joy in critical thinking and analyses, I enjoy it when I place political actors on hot seat. I smile when I bring up controversial issues of public discuss. This starts off arguments, makes people funnily lambast one another but ends up teaching everyone in that discussion a lot.
I write basically to show the knowledge I have on the things I write about. Not just the knowledge per se but also the experience I have garnered over time. This means that I have to let the world know my experiments in ‘search for reality’. I appreciate the fantasy I create when I write things in tandem with reality. It’s my way of understanding the ontological approach and the cosmos. Most of my writings are not far from the conventional functions of the media: to inform, educate, entertain etc. I write to help correct a negative impression in retrospect and to predict the future we expect.
I do not write to compete or probably because a friend has written. I write to spur your mind to think about what you have not thought of! It keeps me alive when I do it. When I write, it gives me a sense of fulfillment because I know it has registered my name on your mind. I write to shake away sorrow and fear. With this, my courage is reborn.
Life is meaningless when we cannot find the meaning of things and then interpret them to a lay man. Thus I write to explore meanings. I also write about something when I decide that I want to read about something but I can’t find any article on it. Like Toni Morrison would say, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
Do not ask me anymore about why I write. I want to ask us all, “why do we all write?” especially in the face of limited attention given to our piece no matter how we promote the piece we’ve written. Not that most of us make money out of it anyway. Even through the social media which have large patronage from our target audience, these write-ups are often ignored. For the Uses and Gratification Theory, I would categorically state that most people read what they read because of how such piece concerns their being and how it satisfies their wants.
In most countries around the world, the reading culture of young people has been bastardized. This may never be retrieved because of the nature of what I tag ‘technological imperialism’. The advent of not just the social media but also the internet as a whole has taken away that culture of reading. Libraries are deserted because Google is there to answer everything with just a click.
We are now faced with the issue of what to write when we think everything has been over flogged. Few young people try to read any political, motivational, academic or religious write-ups. They prefer mostly soccer, entertainment, gossip and all of that. Even when you are to write on these aspects which you feel would appeal to them, you think of what angle to take to sound different from others. It means that one has to be trendy to follow trends in order to beat the traffic and generate more traffic for oneself.
Why do you write what you write? Who do you write for? What makes you think someone somewhere will read what you have written? These are questions we keep asking and when we don’t find answers, we feel like backing out. Do not give up… let’s live and breathe words because for us to stand up and live, we have to sit down and write.