Why I Do What I Do Part 2: Writing

by Jennifer Haynie @JenniferHaynie1

“Why do you write?”

We writers get this question a lot.  And it’s a good one to think about.  I’ve heard lots of answers over the years, and they can be as varied as the writers themselves.

Last week, I mentioned that when I was in high school, I took some career testing.  It was fun, and in the end, two things stood out: a writer and a petroleum engineer, essentially meaning I had both creative and technical sides to me.

As I recently went through training related to my work, this spurred some conversation with those who were in my workgroup.  I firmly believe everyone, no matter how technical they may be in terms of occupation, has a creative side to them. 

I’ve seen it a lot in my coworkers.  My former section chief is a very technical engineer.  He also plays ten different instruments, has written songs, and has even produced his own music.  My husband is an engineer and exercises his creativity through woodworking and yardwork.  Still another engineer, who was in my workgroup, is restoring an old house.  This can lead to two conclusions.  I know a lot of engineers, and all of them have various ways of expressing creativity.

Other creative outlets can include cooking, painting, sculpting, gardening, and writing of any form, from poetry to songs to non-fiction to fiction.

So back to the question.  Why do I write?

I want to honor God with my gift.  Being a successful writer requires a gift.  Yes, technique can be learned—has to be learned even with the gift—but to remain persistent, especially in the realm of fiction, requires a tenacity that comes only from having a gift of writing.  I’ve heard many a serious writer counsel those who are either thinking about writing or simply dabbling in writing: “If you can do anything else but write, do it.”  This may seem counterintuitive, but these wise souls know the price that comes with utilizing the gift God gave us.  Loneliness.  Discouragement.  Spiritual attack.  Criticism.  It can make even the hardiest soul want to quit.  I know.  I’ve been there.  But those who know they have the gift are willing to make those sacrifices.

I have a very vivid imagination.  Anyone who writes fiction, be it prose or poetry, has to have a very vivid imagination.  There’s just no way around it.  Our characters aren’t just people on a page.  In some ways, they wind up living with us.  To the non-writer, this sounds strange, but to the writer, it’s the way we make our characters leap off the page and engage the reader.  As one of my writer friends likes to joke, the normal ship sailed without us writers on it.

I can’t not write.  This links very closely into the above two.  For me, writing is a stress release as much as exercise can be.  Keep me away from writing, even if it’s only in my journal, for more than a few days, and I can become a very unhappy camper.  Just ask my husband.  It’s like I have this well in me that’s full to overflowing, and I want to exercise my gifts.

So why do writers write?  Why do I write?  It’s who we are, part of the essence of our being no matter what our background is.  As for me?  I’ll continue that gift no matter what.

Everyone, no matter how technical they may be in terms of occupation, has a creative side. #authenticity #encouragement #amwriting #writerslife Click To Tweet

Question:  Everyone has a creative side to them.  What is yours?

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