Why I write

I’ve seen so many blog entries by this title that I feel it’s almost impossible to write anything original. But then, it’s not supposed to be original, but rather…true. I can do true, and I may even have a different answer than most. The truth is that I don’t write because I want to be published someday. I do want that, some days more than others, but it’s not enough to motivate me to do the work that it takes to write a novel. Or in my case, several novels.

I write because I have to.

Well, maybe I don’t actually have to write. But I do have to create. My mind is going to do it whether or not I keep a record, so I might as well write it down. My husband often looks at me and says, “I can see the wheels turning in your head. What are you thinking about?” Every single time, I’m creating. You might call it daydreaming, but I see it as the same thing. I’ve always been a daydreamer, and now I simply write it down.

Okay, not simply. That’s ridiculous. Simple would be keeping a journal of my daydreams, and I would hate to narrow what I do down to that. I do keep a record, but it’s more like I’m shaping those dreams into a story that I can share with others. That’s not to say that I write for the enjoyment of others, either. I love the idea of sharing what I write, but I would do it even if I knew I’d never be published. You have to love something to put so much effort into it, knowing that you may never be recognized for it.

Why is it that writing does so much for me when other things, for which I’ve been complimented all my life, do so little for me? I actually know the answer for once! It’s because writing is the only thing that truly feels like it’s all mine. When I sing, it’s a song someone else has written. When I shoot, I’m taking pictures of something I didn’t create. When I teach, I’m passing on someone else’s knowledge. But when I write, it all comes from me. Sure, I take inspiration from the world and people around me, but I make it what it is in my own way, and it belongs to me.

I’ve probably made it clear in other posts that I sometimes feel like I’m disappearing. It’s the curse of being a housewife/stay-at-home-mom. And many of my readers have added that they feel the same way. Maybe that’s why so many of us end up turning to writing or creating in other ways. We feel pride in our spouses’ achievements, knowing that we’ve provided support, and we feel even more pride in our children’s achievements. They came from us, after all, and we’ve helped to teach them and shape them. But so often we wonder where we fit into it all at the end of the day. I know I do.

I catch myself wondering what I do that someone else couldn’t do just as well. How replaceable am I? Could a team of experts even outdo me? A maid, a chef, a chauffeur, a nanny…

In my most rational moments I know that they could not. But I’m a woman, and let’s face it. We’re just not always rational. So I create. Maybe no one besides my family will ever read my books, and maybe my blog will disappear the way my own dreams did, but I will have done something that belonged to me.

So there it is in a nutshell. I write and love it because it’s mine. Such a greedy idea, and yet I’m not ashamed to admit it.


~ by Rachel McMahon on January 12, 2011.

4 Responses to “Why I write”

  1. I’ve often wondered about that.

  2. Ha! Well, now you know! And were you quoting “Far and Away” on purpose?

  3. That’s not greedy at all, in my opinion. Frankly, we should write because we want too (translated: have to). Doing it for any other reason would be dishonest.

  4. That makes sense, too.

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