Stumbled upon a subtly opinionated video about “Why so Many People Want to Be Writers” which really got me thinking.
The gist is this: we write because we don’t talk. We feel like we have ideas that aren’t being heard by loved ones, so we write them down, hoping someone, somewhere, will respond.
…Not too sure what to think about it.
I found the comments interesting. Some, in agreement:
I feel incredibly called out
this hit home hard.
Some, in disagreement:
I don’t agree with this video, but it is an interesting theory. I write precisely because it helps me think.
Very poetical and is in the theme of a lot of your videos, although I I do not agree. ““I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”
I really liked this last comment. I’ve always found I come to understand a topic better when I write about it. Likewise, I often discover the limits of my knowledge when I try to explain it to someone else.
I’m thinking this video is purposefully a bit controversial and over-simplistic. Not everyone who writes does so just because no one will listen to them. But I think it’s true that you write to spread your ideas beyond the circle of people you talk to. Be it into the future (ie, because you want to preserve those ideas), or around the world (because you want to affect the world).
Another reason I write is to solicit feedback on my ideas. A conversation can do that too, but then you have a much narrower pool of reviewers.
on the flip side, I think there are elements of truth to this message. I think sometimes we post to Facebook (or a blog like this) because of a lack of face-to-face conversations. Admittedly, that might be a reason I blog: beyond my wife and two kids, I don’t get out a ton, or have many conversations. (Starting a WordPress meetup is also a response to this, I think).
Lastly, for myself personally, I find I’m very poor at explaining things in person, or having light chit-chat. Whereas in writing I’m able to develop ideas further. (But maybe that’s because in writing I’m just not aware when people have zoned out, whereas in conversation it’s more obvious).
I’m interested to hear further thoughts on what propels us to write.