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Why I Write

Why I Write

Tomorrow will be 1,000 posts in 1,000 days. Why?

If life is writing, then writing must be play.

If life is writing, then writing must be play. A T-shirt I didn’t buy. [Rhodes, Greece]

As I work on my 1,000 Posts in 1,000 Days post for tomorrow, it occurred to me to ask why I’m doing this. I was noting bullet point after bullet point of benefits of the challenge, but if you look at it from a different perspective, it’s almost a little, well, odd or strange. Or is it? Is it all perspective? If there’s anything I’ve learned after 1,000 posts, it’s almost all perspective.

A few questions one might ask, since for these past 2 + something years, it’s been:

  • Unpaid
  • Unnoticed
  • Time away from my day job
  • Time away from whatever else I might have done with that time: work, play, read, sleep! Sleep was a biggie for those end-of-day posts.
  • Crazy?

All of the above and more. But why do it? Why write? It’s taken me 1,000 posts to figure it out, but the answer that comes out of my mouth (or fingers, really), the natural response is simply:

I write because I’m a writer.

It’s just so simple for me. If you ask why that coyote ate your Jack Russell, it’s because he’s a coyote, he’s hungry, it’s what he does, it’s who he is.

1,000 posts ago, I wasn’t a writer. I wanted to be a writer, I liked the idea of being a writer. I didn’t quite think it would take 1,000 posts to convince me, to get my thick-and-molasses brain to figure it out, but I can’t not write.

Writing is the way I express my soul. Writing isn’t something that I do. Writing is something that I am and therefore it just comes out. I have to write. — Dr. Wayne Dyer

I write because I can’t not write.

I went on a 10-day silent meditation retreat. No talking, no eye contact, not even hand signals. It was brutal. The thing I missed the most? Writing about my experiences. For 4 days, I tried to improve my memory. I thought of those prisoners who played games of chess in their heads. I got through 4 or 5 days and then things started getting mixed up. I even created something of a “Evernote of the Brain” complete with Notebooks and bullet points. But it got messy. I need to write. I finally broke down and stole a pen from the kitchen area, locked myself in the bathroom and wrote on toilet paper.

I write because I have to.

I don’t know what happens in my life if I don’t write about it. I’m not even sure things actually happen unless I write about them. Did I go on a train trip to Santa Barbara with my son? Did my other son actually apply something he heard me say (you mean, he actually listened?) to something else that we were talking about a month later?

I write to learn what I’m thinking.

If I don’t know what happened, I don’t know what I was thinking or how something turned out, I just need to start writing about it. When you start writing, things unravel, puzzles get put together, pieces fall into place. It’s therapy, it’s healing, it’s practically medicine.

But it’s also play. It’s fun. Even when it’s not fun, it becomes fun. Even when it’s a struggle to find the fun, it’s still a lot like jogging: it’s at least fun after you’re done.

This might seem like something of an exaggeration, but:

The person I am doesn’t exist without the written word.

This whole thing, this entire experiment might seem like an exaggeration, like a big show, even a put-on, unless you get it. I can imagine that addicts get it, I don’t know, maybe fanatics get it, people deeply involved or passionate or maybe in love might get it, but otherwise, I can’t explain it.

Tomorrow will be 1,000 posts. People ask, “Wow. So how do you feel? Are you just so glad that it’s over?”

“No,” I say, “I feel like I’m just getting warmed up. I feel like that was the 5k family run and now I’m ready for the marathon.”

So what now? What’s going to change? How will the next 1,000 be different? What did I learn? More on that in tomorrow’s post: 1,000 Posts in 1,000 Days.

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