George Orwell’s essay Why I Write has been swimming around the bottom of my handbag for weeks. I have read snippets of it here and there, not that I really remember much. It has become more of a reflective exercise, where I am gently reminded each time I delve into the deep expanses of my bag to question myself why I write.
Writing has been a constant companion in my life. Most of the time we get along well. Occasionally we frustrate each other when the words and the thoughts are out of sync or someone disapproves of the concoction of words put on the page.
At times I doubt my writing ability – I write too formally, it doesn’t flow well, I have too much to say, I don’t have enough to say…I just can’t convey what I mean.
I have pages and pages of my handwritten and typed ramblings. Some have been published, some have never seen the light of day. Some never will. I think about the diary I wrote in every day, as a teenager. It was torn to pieces and discarded as I grew older and couldn’t bear to read over my juvenile thoughts. You don’t need to tell me what a mistake that was.
I started writing a book a few years ago exploring how people overcame adversity in their lives. I was making good progress until I decided to join a writing group. I was thrown in the deep end and pressured to be the first to read my prose, despite being the ‘newby’.
I felt an awkward silence grow as I read. I met the blank faces as I raised my head slowly upon finishing – they didn’t get it. They scrambled to ask insightful questions as they searched for encouraging comments. It was evident that the writing group experience was over before it began, how could I show my face there again.
So why do I write?
Well, for many reasons. It enables me to put my thoughts into words which gives them life. It helps me to understand myself and the world I live in. It is a cathartic process which helps me to work through any issues or problems I face. It helps me to communicate with others. It gives me a voice for the many thoughts and opinions that I don’t dare say out loud. It gives me fulfillment and a sense of purpose.
I realise writing is a chore for some, a means to an end. For me, writing is like dancing. If you can find the rhythm it will take you on a journey. You will be able to release your spirit to seek out new adventures and explore parts of yourself that you didn’t know existed.
When I’m writing, I could be flying an airplane where anyone can get on or off whenever they please. It doesn’t matter if I’m flying solo, I am free to soar amongst the clouds. But a journey shared means the thrill is amplified and the rewards compounded.
So as this little waltz comes to an end, thank you for joining me. We make quite a team you and I as we gently twirl around the dance floor. Feel free to join me anytime. I’ll be right here tapping along to the thoughts pulsing in my head.