Today is the National Day on Writing, an opportunity for writers all over the world to share why they write. And today is also the first day I’ve missed my morning writing time in weeks. Now that I’m home, our schedule is completely messed up… I’ve let myself sleep 30 minutes later, thinking it will make a difference, and it has. But not a positive one. I find I’m a little behind all day, trying to catch up on the baby’s schedule and still get us to wherever we need to be. How did I do all this when I worked 60 hours a week? I know that this week will be an adjustment, and that next will be better because we will have settled into a routine. But I also look at this as a time to make sure that routine really works for both of our needs and worry that if we get too far off track this week, we’ll be starting a pattern that will cause problems later.
So back to the theme of the day. Why do I write?
I write because I must.
It’s a form of therapy. One that doesn’t cost money, although it is not cheap. Writing costs time, and as a very busy mom, time is a luxury that is always scarce. However, I find that if I start my day with some quiet time — time to just write and work through whatever is on my mind — I am much more focused and relaxed throughout the day. If I miss my writing time, I tend to feel frazzled and stretched too thin.
But to me writing is more than just a therapeutic tool. It’s a compulsion. It’s a record of my life — of who I am. I could no more stop writing than stop breathing. If you look in my storage boxes in the attic, you’ll find they’re full of notebooks, index cards, church bulletins filled with notes, scraps of paper with poems and scribbles… my collected bits of writing from the past 25 years.
And ultimately, I write because it’s a legacy to leave for my children. Not just the notebooks filled with thoughts and dreams — the actual practice itself. Both of my children have been writers since they were very young, and both consider writing a possible future career choice. If I pass on one habit to my kids, I hope it’s a lifetime of daily writing. That alone is worth giving up that extra half hour of sleep in the mornings.
What about you? Why do you write?