Tomorrow is the National Day on Writing, aka the most wonderful day of the year for those of us who love to write and share our love of writing with others. NCTE is encouraging people to use the hashtag #WhyIWrite to celebrate the occasion.
I write because it's the most difficult, most satisfying activity that I know how to do. Creating concrete words from my thoughts gives me power. It's never easy. It's always worth the time it takes to sit down and struggle with the page or screen.
Writing is something I learned as a child, the reason I was excited to go to school each day. It's an activity I maintained through adolescence and early adulthood (second adolescence) to keep my sanity. Even if the words are never shared with an audience, writing is the best therapy. I write to preserve my thoughts and emotions, my struggles and triumphs.
I write because there is no mastery. Endless drafts and starts, varying levels of satisfaction. Never perfect. Always perfecting. I will never be the best writer. I will never stop trying to be the best writer I am capable of being. My love for the activity is not dulled by my lack of ability or success.
I write, and I teach writing to teenagers, because it is the best way to share the truest version of ourselves with the world. If it's true that we read to know we are not alone, then we require the bravery of writers willing to create that connection. If none of us were brave enough to write, then all of us would be alone in our thoughts, never realizing there's a place where we belong, and people we belong with.
I write because there is too much happening in my head to keep it bottled inside. Writing frees the demons.
I write because when I don't write, it hangs over me, pounding at the back of my brain until I have to let it out.
I write because I'm scared every time I hit publish on a post. What if nobody likes it? What if my thoughts are nonsense? Or worse, boring? Writing is dangerous and scary, and it's necessary to face our fears.
I write because words are the most powerful form of communication humans can use.
And if I don't write my own story, then someone else controls the narrative.
I teach 7th and 8th grade English in rural Iowa and hope to reflect, connect, and share with other English teachers. Iowa Council of Teachers of English Executive Board member. Iowa Writing Project superfan. UNI MA:TESS graduate.