Why the hell are you a writer?

Who inspired you to write, to dabble into the crazy, uncertain, beautiful world of the writer? For some of you maybe it was an inspirational quote,  a poem or a novel you were forced to read in elementary school. For some, it may have been a painting or a writer in their lives.

I know that for me it was a teacher I had for Gr. 11 English. That was probably one of the most essential courses I had taken in not only high school but in my education as a writer. We read King Lear, Death of a Salesman, Of Mice and Men and Lord of the Flies. She made the writing of dead men come to life. I hadn’t been exposed to writing the way I was in that class. I had never felt so much emotion while reading a literary work as I did while reading King Lear. So thank you Ms Solet- Louis for the gift I will never return but hopefully always re-gift.

Enough of me. Find what made you write so whenever you feel like it isn’t worth it you can return to that text, person or place and regain that wonder of writing. Writing is a journey, we’re always trying to move forward with our tales, venturing into unexplored places, but don’t fear the venture backwards. Don’t fear the backwords journey.

What, who, or where makes you write, paint, sculpt, compose and read?



14 thoughts on “Why the hell are you a writer?

  1. I love Of Mice and Men and Death of a Salesman. They’re some of my favorite literary works of all time.

    I was never really the type to write until the middle of high school. I started sitting in quiet, scenic areas like the beach or the park and just write. It’s those types of places that give me inspiration.

    • Likewise y inspiration comes from quiet, peaceful places. Though I don’t boast going to any beaches (I’d love to though) I enjoy going for walks or to the coffee shop.

  2. I started writing before I could read. I scribbled and my dad ‘read’ back to me what I had ‘written.’ I guess he was a good story-teller. My parents also loved books and poetry and the sounds of words. I always did, too. No one inspired me to “become” a writer. I think it was something that I was born with. I practiced writing for a long time before I ever had a story to tell. By then I thought I was ready, but I wasn’t. Until I actually WROTE that story and learned to be its servant, I didn’t understand what it really means to be a writer. The list of works you read in 11th grade is close to the same I had back in 1968/69. One difference was Macbeth instead of Lear. I didn’t like any of those readings at all. Another book we read was Heart of Darkness which I also hated. I think what I took away from that was that I might read many things that my teachers don’t. That year I, on my own, read Fanny Hill, Moll Flanders and lots of poetry. It’s also when I started writing poetry, the result of disappointed first love, I think. What keeps me writing is that it is who I am. And, you know, I had a really crappy day in the classroom. Your post switched that all around. Thank you so much. 🙂

    • Hahaha, hey to each her own. I guess that is true, but I didn’t discover writing as a passion until high school. I was told my writing was good by teachers, but I didn’t venture into the creative until quite recently.

      Also, I find that how poetry and art are taught in school, at least the ones I attended, is flawed. You’re supposed to guess what artist means. Everything is presented as a test, a deceptive obstacle which takes away from the enjoyment of art.

      • I know it feels like that to students. The reason it’s taught like that is to help students develop the skills of critical thinking (questioning) and analysis (search for meaning). I remember reading a poem by Yeats in grad school, a seminar. There is an image in that poem of a man on horseback, but all Yeats writes is something about seeing a thigh. That’s the only allusion to standing on the sidewalk watching men ride by on horses. My professor asked, “What’s Yeats saying here?” My classmates sat there like the disaffected mutes they were. I was not sure of myself in grad school at all, but I finally spoke up, “The men are on horseback.” It really helps understand the poem if you pick up on that little point and it’s not deep or spiritual or anything. It’s purely mechanical and Yeats in his time would have assumed his readers already had that reality in mind since it’s what they lived all the time. We don’t so it really was necessary to look for the “hidden meaning” — the meaning wasn’t hidden in the poem. It was lost in time. I don’t know if that makes sense or not but it’s another reason “they” (meaning “we” I guess) compel you to look beneath the surface. There’s often a whole world in there.

      • Oh I agree, when you fail to look critically at a text you risk missing meaning in a text. However, I don’t think that that is the only thing that should be emphasized.

        You’ve hit a really important point! I (I am by no means an educator) think that what’s missing sometimes isn’t a critical eye but a historic knowledge. So many works would be better understood if they were considered in their historical contexts. I try to keep that in mind when I’m reading dated works. A difficult text becomes so much more enjoyable when you place it in the time of the author.

      • Absolutely. It comes alive! Literature is the only reliable time machine we have (I include films in that).

  3. What actually inspired me to pursue all things literature and writing was actually my grade 9 English teacher, lol. She was the most difficult, by-the-book, frustrating teacher I had ever (EVER) come across, and being in her class only made me want to try harder. I was that little nerd who’d stay after class just so she could look at my work. She allowed me to take risks, opened my eyes to a new style of reading and writing. As much as I dreaded the challenges in that class, it was definitely worth it.

    Great post 🙂

  4. I always loved to read, but I didn’t always love to write. I still struggle with having confidence in my ability. I think maybe I love reading and writing so much because I was never able to hear right (possibly an auditory processing disorder.) I was terified of creative writing in high school. I could write reports based on concrete facts but creative writing was a challenge. In community college I had a professor that used my work as sample for her classes. She really helped me see how I could improve my writing, and yet encouraged me along without undermining my confidence. I loved the poetry you mentioned in the comments above, and I also loved almost all of the classics I have read. I guess you could say I write because I have something to say, and I want to say it right (put some thought into it before I blurt it out – lol.)

    • I understand where you are coming from. I never had a problem with writing academic papers, but creative pieces are more difficult for me. With academics you don’t need a distinctive voice, you need to be argumentative and persuasive. So when I started writing creatively it was weird, because you needed to find your own voice.

      I’m happy you found your writing voice, and I feel that we all write because we have something to say. I have a novel in mind that I want to write, though I feel that I’m not ready to write it yet. It doesn’t make sense, to me at least, but I feel like I need to read and write more before I can say what I want to say how I want to say it.

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