WHY I WRITE
by Stacey Baty Patterson
Why do I write? Why does anyone write? What need are we fulfilling when we write?
I can only convey my personal experience. I write because I love to read other people’s writings. When I was a child my favorite place to visit was the library. My mom and I would go to the library after she picked me up from school. I felt so grown-up having my own library card! There was a power in that library card. That library card had the power to open up worlds that I had only dreamed of. When I stood in front of the library and looked at the old building, I imagined there was a giant cocktail party of ancient sages, sharing their wisdom of the ages. They had all come from different paths and lived different lives, and had finally met in the old building to share their amazing journeys with one another and the rest of the world. It was as if these sages were holding a party just for me as I walked in the doors and marveled at the incredible amount of information standing before me, on shelf after shelf. It was magic to me. I felt that someone had gathered up all the riches in the world and placed them here for me, for my continual and lifelong enjoyment. That’s what the library meant to me as a child. All of their writing made me respect their journeys as well as realize that I have my own journey to share with the rest of the world. That’s why I write.
I have an amazing inner critic that blocks me with fear as I begin each writing piece. Every time I encountered that critic I’m astounded by the power that critic has over me. I need people who have written and overcome their inner critic, to encourage me to ignore the rantings and ravings of that crazy inner gatekeeper that tries to block my ideas from being shared. Writing is a scary and wonderful process which is cathartic and engaging, when I can focus my attention on my journey and not my shortcomings. I get great peace from writing. There’s nothing like finishing a paper and knowing it was a job well done. I love that feeling.
I still love the library. It’s still my favorite place to go. I can spend hours and hours cruising and perusing at the library, to the point that I may lose track of all space and time during my adventures there. But what a way to go! All the sages of my childhood remain at the library waiting for me to sit at their feet and listen and learn from their amazing journeys. I get joy from the library. What I hope is that I can begin to get the same joy from my writing as I do from others writing. That is my goal. That’s why I write.