Fifty Reasons Why I Write

After attending and participating in the 2018 Kweli Color of Children’s Literature conference and reflecting on my time there in this blog post, I found my biggest takeaway was hearing why writers—published and unpublished—feel compelled to write. Anyone can do it, in the sense that you don’t need a degree to buy a notebook, find a pen, and start writing. And while there are strong similarities across the writing, editing, and publication processes, the reasons behind why a writer writes are as numerous and varied as the writers themselves.

On my way home from the event, I started making a list of the reasons why I’m compelled to write—in less than 30 minutes I had nearly 40 answers! After some further reflection, I compiled a list of 50 reasons why I write that are not related to making money. The list is a combination of quotes, lyrics, and reasons that range from the universal to the specific. Please enjoy!

  1. “Without struggle there is no progress” Frederick Douglass
  2. For my mom and dad—the people who have given me everything
  3. For the kid I was and the kid I am
  4. It’s an unparalleled feeling
  5. No one’s gonna tell my stories or my story like I will
  6. To thank friends and family in my dedications
  7. To become a better composer—writing is writing, it feeds itself.
  8. “The best way to get ahead, is to get started”
  9. To see my name in print on a cover of my book!
  10. For the dual book launch with my good friend and fellow WNDB intern, Julie
  11. To not disappoint the people who know I want to do this and are patiently waiting for me to finally do it
  12. To give my mom bragging ammo
  13. To let the inner demons walk around a bit
  14. To be like Lin Manuel Miranda
  15. To be heard
  16. For the reader I am
  17. To be remembered
  18. “You are living in a poem” “[Writing] is an act that preserves you, energizes you…[writing] is an immediate experience” -Naomi Shihab Nye
  19. Because it’s difficult
  20. To become a stronger writer
  21. Because I can do it!
  22. Because I love characters
  23. Because I love language and words
  24. To give all of the notebooks and pens I buy a purpose
  25. Because it’s easier to struggle through it, than it is to give up
  26. “Don’t let the world change your mind” –Be Ever Wonderful, Earth Wind & Fire
  27. I’d be great at school visits
  28. To inspire and be inspired
  29. To meet new people
  30. It doesn’t cost me anything
  31. To share what I love with others
  32. Because I owe friends books of mine
  33. Because even when it’s the hardest thing to do, I enjoy it
  34. so when people ask how’s the writing thing going, I’ll have an answer
  35. To make myself laugh
  36. To connect with others
  37. “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep” I found this quote on the title page of  In Her Hands, LEE & LOW BOOKS
  38. Because making stuff up is fun
  39. To give shape to my many thoughts and emotions
  40. Because when I’m productive in my writing, I treat myself to life’s treasures: pens, journals, books, and almond croissants.
  41. To keep record of everything that matters to me
  42. “A goal is a dream with a deadline” -random journal
  43. To get invited to book-related events
  44. So that I don’t have to commute to/from Manhattan for the rest of my life
  45. To go to the Oscars! (Long shot, but you never know…)
  46. to wear pajamas while I work
  47. to escape
  48. Because I enjoy the physical act of writing
  49. Because it employs my strengths and challenges my weaknesses
  50. “There are no limits, there are only plateaus. But you must not stay there. You must go beyond them.” Bruce Lee

 So those days when I don’t feel like writing or doubt why I do it, I read through this list until one or all of these reasons helps be overcome the Resistance, and reminds me why I do this.

What are some of the reasons you write? Feel free to share in the comments below!

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