Why I Write

This is a guest post by author Cara Long. 

caralongI keep trying to make this article profound, but I don’t write for profound reasons. Since I learned to write, I have written. I’m fond of penning notes, from “I love you” to “I’m sorry,” from “thank you” to “I appreciate something you have done that touched me.” I have written papers for school, birthday notes, stories, poetry, silly songs, blog posts, reviews, social media updates, texts, résumés, business letters, letters of recommendation, and now picture books, novels, and query letters. I’ve placed notes and letters on pillows for people to find. I still send handwritten thank-you notes. I write for many little reasons that combine to make writing feel necessary.

Nothing pleases me more than when someone takes the time to genuinely write a note. I cherish handwritten letters from my parents and from people who have sent me notes. I save them all. I love to see the handwriting.  It marks the passing of time, from childlike scribbles to a teenage girl marking her i’s with hearts, from an adult personal handwriting style to the scratchy writing from the hand of a shaky, elderly relative, personalizing care and consideration.

Writing takes no special gift per se, which is what makes it so special. It allows people to uniquely express themselves and requires only paper and a writing instrument. I always carry a journal with a pen tucked inside because nothing gives me more pleasure than when ideas come faster than I can scribble them down. Others use cell phones and create in numbers of permitted characters or words. For business and storytelling, more often than not, many use a computer.

Writing allows me an artistic outlet while I raise my children at home. It gives me license to create characters and follow them to their darkest experiences and thoughts and to their best successes and how they found their way there. I love to see an empty page fill with words that mark my passing through this space and time.

Writing has given me the gift of being me—finding me and, I hope, leaving a memory of me. In the end, I write for me. I write because the words are there and need a home. I write because I love to write in whatever form that takes.

filthyfrannyCara Long completed her MFA in creative writing at Southern New Hampshire University. She loves learning about the art of writing. She is the author of three children’s picture books, has published poetry in Boston Literary Magazine and is currently working on a novel of realistic fiction.

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About Lu Ann McNabb

Lu Ann Maciulla McNabb is the Policy & Alliances Associate for the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). Lu Ann has long been an advocate for teachers, students and education. As Thomas Jefferson so eloquently said, "Education is the anvil upon which democracy is forged."

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