Why We Write

Why do I write? Because I can’t stop writing. It’s simply part of me.

Like many of us, creativity and self-expression are fundamental to who we are — we’ve been listening to and telling stories from way back. In my case, since I was in kindergarten.

We aren’t the only ones who sees a story as essential. Freud saw it as central to human experience and as the means of healing wounded psyches.

Jung saw it as a way of dipping into the collective unconscious, the stream of experience that underlies all of history and humanity.

So, if creativity is so fundamental to our being, what makes it so hard sometimes to write what we see in our minds?

Sometimes life gets in the way. And sometimes we get in our own way by not understanding that there are stages to the process, which, like any other natural stages, cannot be hurried or one put before the other.

I understand both ways of slowing down the process. I have also learned about the way writing works: It’s an organic process that resembles the stages of butterfly development.

The way I think about this now is a ‘model.’ In the cycle of change model, people go through predictable stages of change much like a butterfly does.

Our natural tendency when writing is to push when we should be resting and to resist the difficulty when the process calls for discipline.

I find when I’m writing I forget to eat I’m so focused on what I’m writing. I forget to get something to drink. I forget everything, mainly because writing requires concentration. Without focus or concentration, you’ll be distracted by your spouse, your kids, your job or just the fact that you haven’t made dinner or cleaned the bathroom.

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Sue Powers has an array of publishing credits, among them Saturday Evening Post, New Millennium Writings and Another Chicago Story. She’s the recipient of a fellowship & grant from the Illinois Arts Council in Prose and two of her stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She works part-time for the Association of Legal Administrators.

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