This past Wednesday I had my first workshop as a writer. For those who are unfamiliar, a writer’s workshop is a critique session. Certain writers are selected in advance to have their stories “workshopped”. The week before, the participants are given the stories to be workshopped. They read the stories and prepare feedback for the author.
I had been dreading my workshop because I still wrestle with self-worth issues. Nevertheless, it was a great experience. I was given some good suggestions for my story, although most of the feedback was positive. (What a relief!) In fact, I have already incorporated the suggestions in my rewrite (to view my short stories, please see the “Writing” page on this blog).
During the workshop the writer is not allowed to speak. He or she can only take notes. Afterwards the participants can ask questions of the writer and/or the writer can ask questions of the participants. One question in particular that I received from one of my classmates has been haunting me for the past few days.
He asked me “Why do you write?” I was completely taken aback as I had no idea this question was coming. No one had asked this question of anyone else so far, and we have been doing these workshops for several weeks. I don’t remember what I said, but I can assure you it was idiotic.
So, now that I have had time to think about it, this is why I write:
I write because having a story inside of you is like feeling a sneeze or a yawn coming on. If, for some reason, the sneeze or the yawn doesn’t come, it is very frustrating. For years, I was in this condition – having stories come to me but not having the confidence to write them down.
I write because in my stories I can communicate my feelings in a safe way. I did not grow up in a “safe” home, where feelings could be expressed freely and received with love. So I learned to stifle and suppress most of who I am to avoid screaming fights, bullying, and even violence. In my stories I can say and do (through my characters) whatever I want. And if I don’t want anyone to read what I’ve written, I don’t have to show it to anyone.
I write because it comes naturally to me. I have read a large number of books and articles because I am an introvert. I don’t consciously copy any author in particular, but because I have read so many authors, I have somewhat of a sense of what makes a story interesting.
I write because I like the feeling of having something tangible that I created.
I write because I can’t NOT write.
Incidentally, these are also the reasons why I make art. My wish for all of you is that you find the thing in life that you can’t not do – and do it to the fullest.
Peace and love, and – follow your bliss!