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Why Writers Write

I recently saw an Apple commercial that reminded me of one of my favorite movies. As I watched the commercial, it made me think about why Writers write. This isn’t the first time I have thought about this question, but it was the first time I actually sat back and let my mind focus on it.

We don’t write because it is easy. Taking a year or two, or even longer, throwing all your energy into something that may never see the light of day, is not something one takes on lightly. I know writers that have invested over a dozen years, almost daily, pouring their heart out, and only have a drawer full of unpublished manuscripts to show for their efforts.

So why? Why go through all this effort?

Many writers will tell you that they have a story inside them that has to come out. There is something that they are passionate about, and if they don’t share it, even just writing it down for themselves and their family, they will explode.

Passion is a strong motivator. As I considered the role of passion in writing; I stumbled across a quote from Joss Whedon, the well-known author & screenwriter, film & television producer, and director of fantasy/science fiction:

Passion, it lies in all of us, sleeping… waiting… and though unwanted… unbidden… it will stir… open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us… guides us… passion rules us all, and we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love… the clarity of hatred… and the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion maybe we’d know some kind of peace… but we would be hollow… Empty rooms shuttered and dank. Without passion we’d be truly dead.

I think the simple answer is that we are human, and humans have passion. Writing is one means for us to share that passion. As a famous poet and essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson expressed what passion does for all those that write:

It is a fact often observed that men have written good verses under the inspiration of passion, who cannot write well under other circumstances.

We write because we have such passion that we have to write. Too simple an answer? Maybe, but that does not take away from the truth of the statement.

Back to the Apple commercial. Below is the commercial itself.

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