The Write Purpose

Everyone writes something. Whether professionals are typing an email, lawyers are drafting legal documents, or an online influencer is building a daily blog, writing is an integral part of every human’s life.

People read news stories. Televisions broadcast closed-captioning so that those hearing impaired can enjoy a show and grasp the story line. Foreign films ticker subtitles.

Words are everywhere. Much as is anything that is constantly in our sight or that by which we are surrounded, words and writing almost always get taken for granted.

Just because they’re everywhere doesn’t mean that they add up to anything…unless we intend or permit them to do so.

Those who enjoy, thrive upon, relish in, and love words understand the importance of not only the words themselves but of their meanings and origins.

Any novelist, journalist, writer worth their salt ponder frequently why they write. They hunt high and low for a greater and deeper understanding of the tools that are the very foundation of their trade.

Merely knowing a word is of little value. Comprehending the meanings of words is better. Appreciating the varying contexts in which a word can be used is good. Researching a word’s origin is great.

Knowing when, where, and how to apply a group of words in any given situation is absolutely priceless.

I am constantly thinking about…well…everything. It is my blessing, it is my curse. With a significant milestone birthday on my horizon, I find myself reminiscing about who I used to be and how far I have come. I apply my reflections to the world I live in now and how I fit into it.

Call it arrogance or entitlement, but I have earned my own right to be critical of younger generations…because I was once there myself. I was young and dumb, I’ll be the first to admit that. I think we have all been. Anyone who denies that is now old and still dumb.

It is entirely possible that, at the time, I knew full well how obnoxious and defiant I was. I didn’t care. It could still be argued that I’m obnoxious and defiant but the years that have passed have given me ample opportunity to refine that rogue behavior.

And I have taken full advantage of that fact. No opportunity should be a missed one.

I remember people I have encountered throughout my life who have belittled, berated, corrected, scolded, and advised me. Some of those instances stung me badly and those are the ones most vivid in my memory. Those encounters never end. They are to be recognized from cradle to grave.

The most profound instances of change, learning, and growth do not come from being congratulated for doing something right or good. True advancement comes from emotional, physical, and sometimes financial challenges or conflicts. Heartaches. Losses. Mistakes.

This is where a younger generation has missed the mark in nurturing their own children – no participation trophy will ever result in anyone striving for anything better than mediocrity.

And as I experience frequent frustration with these younger generations, I trust more and more in my ability to pay forward to them the lessons – tough as they may often be – to those whom I believe can and will benefit from them, much as I have.

In doing so, I am fully aware that just because I lead a horse to water does not mean that I will be able to make it drink.

Regardless of what or whom I impact on some level with my writings, here are a few reasons why I will continue to put my words to text and where possible, in speech:

I enjoy it. There is no other feeling in the world compared to lying in bed at night, unable to sleep, pondering a topic, and constructing a story to go with it. It is intoxicating. There is a profound sense of self-satisfaction that comes from expressing thoughts and viewpoints of any subject and in turn:

It makes me think. About everything – why I wrote what I did, what it means to me, how can I say it better or differently, what am I trying to convey, and does it make sense. A great deal of consideration goes into what I write and I edit my pieces to ad nauseum. And because I have, it has:

Taught me patience. I have learned to pause and take conscious inventory of any given situation, and consider very carefully what words I will apply.

It irritates people. Yes, you read that correctly. I take no issue with pissing people off. In fact, it seems as though a great deal of my life has been devoted to accomplishing that without even trying. It is human nature to raise one’s hackles when challenged. Saying something that makes people mad will rally them to think – even if it is in anger – about what was said. And they’ll spend a long time afterward thinking about what they should have said. Tell me you’ve never done that. Yet, conversely and understanding that there is equal balance in the world, I also like to use my writing for:

Humor. Warped, twisted, dark, edgy, or high-brow as it may be, I love to make ridiculous puns and pose hilarious anecdotes for people to contemplate.

To educate. That’s a given. If there is just one person I reach that turns to a dictionary to learn the meaning of a word I’ve used or if there is someone who is compelled to ask “why?” to something I’ve written, there is the potential for learning more. About anything.

It’s ventilation. Think of an over-inflated balloon. Sooner or later, it will pop. The more I fill with thoughts, the greater frustration will build up within me. See also: keeping sanity of me and those around me.

There is great curiosity to be satisfied. Seeing my own words laid out in front of me gives a visual life to words. Stories turn into pictures and give me a whole new vantage point in addition to that which I see only in my head. Topics I write about encourage me to look up words, historical events, and other books, too.

Shock value. Why not? Most of what is blogged or posted in today’s media is displayed with as much audacity as possible in order to gain some sort of attraction.

Encouragement. Writing gives me purpose to think further, explore more, and convince others that they can write, too.

It’s an exercise. Idle hands are the devil’s tools, and it gives me something to do.

Historical value. Though I have no delusions of ever reaching the celebrity level of a Stephen King or a J.K. Rowling, I love to believe that my words will somewhere, somehow be available for a long time to come. That my novels’ ISB registration numbers will forever be in the Library of Congress is a fact in which I take great pride.

There are a great many more reasons justifying why I write; this list is not exhaustive by a long shot. It has the fluidity to change on any given day.

You’ll notice that two reasons not finding their way into that list and those are, “To prove I’m right” and “To prove I’m wrong”.

Those states of being are not for me to decide, nor should they be for any writer or any human.

What is right or wrong to any of us is that which we choose, open to discussion, and that which contains many gray areas. One of the greatest elements of words is their subjectivity. There are no rules or laws that govern them…at least, in this context.

Curate your own list. Define your own desire. That – even if you hesitate as to whether you should write or what you should write – constitutes – wait for it…

Writing. There. You’ve started. Keep going.