Why you write

I can say with complete honesty that I fear never writing again more than I fear death. A fellow writer once asked me what I would do if I was told I could never write again. I told her I would explode. Simple as that. Just the thought of it alone made me short of breath. You see, nothing in my mind makes sense until I can see it written out in front of me, and it has been that way for as long as I can remember. Even when it comes to fiction, characters form in my head who will not leave me alone until they are written into literature. That might sound crazy, but that is exactly why I write: to maintain some sort of sanity. I write because I have to. I think if I could never write again and the explosion doesn’t occur, I would develop some level of schizophrenia, or become an actress.

I started writing when I first learned how to write. I was six. My mom bought me a diary for Hanukkah and although I spent the first few years writing “dear dairy,” I still kept at it year after year. I’d come home from school and run up to my room to document the days events before I would forget them. In the seventh grade when my english teacher asked the class if anyone had ever jotted down a poem when they were feeling particularly emotional about something, I was the only one who raised my hand. That’s when I first realized that writing had become a part of me.

During high school, although short stories were my means of procrastination, it was the poems that kept me sane. If something dramatic was happening, a constant occurrence for most girl ages fourteen through seventeen, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night until my thoughts were written out in rhymes and rhythms. (Yes, I had a Tumblr.) Although I’ve slowed down on the poetry these days, when something major in my life does happen, I can’t help but to break it down into stanzas.

When I told my senior year english teacher that I was applying to be a journalism major, he told me I should think about reconsidering because my writing was not very strong. Although it had improved since I first entered his class, he did not feel I was ready for the world of journalism. This came as a bit of a shock because it had never occurred to me that my level of talent would stop me from doing what I loved to do. I just knew I wanted to write for the rest of my life and getting paid to do so seemed logical. Not being good enough had never crossed my mind. I was going to write and that was the end of it. I took his comment with an I’ll-show-you attitude and got accepted into the school of journalism at Ithaca College.

To be fair, Mr. Forrest was one of the best teachers I have ever had to date. His enthusiasm and dedication to all of his students kept me inspired to continue writing. Even when I thought senioritis would be the death of me, I still managed to bang out some decent essays and score a 3 on the AP test. In fact, all of my high school English teachers have left their mark on me one way or another. It was Mrs. Stoia who took off two points every time we used passive voice and although no other teacher after that has done so, the habit is still well ingrained. It was Mr. Farley who showed me how to carefully read a book for both the story aspect and writing style. I remember having to underline my favorite lines in each chapter of The Great Gatsby. Now, I judge the greatness of a book not by the plot but by how many times I say, “wow, that was a great line.” Mrs. Robinson encouraged me to add a little of my own voice into every piece of writing, no matter what the assignment. Perhaps if my math teachers had been as stellar and inspiring as my English teachers, I might have reconsidered a major in journalism…although who am I kidding? calculus was the worst.

My roommate last year called me insane when I told her I enjoy writing essays. She couldn’t relate to the thrill I got every time I figured out how to slip a pun into an essay or the intimate relationship I have with my thesaurus.

I write because every time I sit down to do it, I feel like I’m being exactly who I’m supposed to be. When people tell me to describe myself, I tell them I’m a writer. That’s all. I write. I started this blog because writing prompts are fun and I needed a well-organized online portfolio. When people follow this blog or tell me they like it, I’m genuinely appreciative because it wasn’t started to show off my work. I did it for me as a way to strengthen my voice as a writer.

In the future, I would like to get paid to write but if that doesn’t work out, if I end up bartending or answering the phone at my Dad’s store, I’ll still be writing every day because without it, I wouldn’t be me. I would explode.

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