why do authors write books

Why write?

why do authors write booksAs I sit here writing my upcoming blog on how the trauma of World War II is impacting me seventy plus years after the fact, I ponder the question of why I am writing on this subject.

And why am I writing at all? I don’t have to do this. I could be outside right now working on my tan, instead of sitting here and making my brain think.

A few months ago I would have taken the option to work on my vitamin D absorption (that sounds like a beginning of a great rap song).

Today I cannot. My brain hurts, yet here I am about to share with the world some of the unpleasantness of my path.

Why do I feel compelled to write? And who am I writing for?

This article I’m working on, is about Epigenetics and the effect of war on subsequent generations. It is already 1500 words long, far too long for the recommended 500-700 words for a blog.

Do I care? Should I care?

Will more people read my article if it is 500-700 words? Would the overall impact be greater? Does it matter?

No one is paying me to write. I do this of my own free will. I choose to give up this sunny afternoon in favor of banging on the keys of my laptop in a specific order, producing words, sentences and paragraphs.

In college I took a class with Elie Weisel – author, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor. Throughout the entire semester we tried to figure out why writers write what they write. It was one of the most impactful classes of my life in part because Elie Weisel was my teacher but mainly because the other students were the most intelligent, critical thinkers I have ever had the pleasure to spend time with.

After reading over a dozen books by some of the world’s greatest writers we came to the conclusion that writers write because they cannot help it. They write because that is their path in life and to do otherwise would kill their spirit.

Having come to such conclusion, I realized that I am definitely not a writer because I, personally, could happily live without writing a single word.

My spirit did not need to write. I did not need to write.

What I needed then was money. Lots of it.  Kind of like what George Carlin said in his speech on religion and God: “He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money!”

Like God, I needed money, unlike God, I was good with cash.

So I switched my major to something more financially alluring.

Really alluring.

I mean, I went from attending English classes in a smelly basement of an old building to living it up in a brand new six-story structure fully pimped up with fancy new desks, cushy chairs and the latest technology. We even had our own Starbucks inside the building! Starbucks for God’s sake! Was there ever even a choice?

Seriously though, it was a good decision, one that I am thankful for to this day.

But as the saying goes, something happened on the way to heaven.

That something awoke my inner writer. Now my spirit needs to write.

Exactly what it needs to write is somewhat irrelevant, at this time it just needs to express itself.

I need to express myself. In a solid, permanent and continuous way.

And so, here I am, just inches away from the great outdoors… pounding away…

Check out my next week’s blog to read about how trauma, specifically from war, impacts future generations and how we can heal it.

In the meantime, ask your spirit: what does it want? Is there something you have been on the brink of doing but have been putting off for whatever reason?

To quote George Carlin again: “Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.”

I’ve mastered it well, but I’m proud to say that each day I am getting worse and worse at it.

How about you?

 

 

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