Michelle Wittle On Why We Write?


I’ve been in a bit of a funk. I keep getting rejection letter after rejection letter and it’s killing my spirit to write.

I know, logically, the rejection letters are great because it means my work is out there doing its job.

But emotionally, I’m a wreck.

I want to figure out why I keep doing this to myself. Why do I keep setting myself up for all this rejection?

I started asking other writers why they write thinking maybe that would help me see why I write.

Here’s some of the responses:

Michael Pfister: I write because I have to. Writing is my affirmation, my anchor to the world around me and my meager attempts to make sense of it all. I cannot stop the earth from turning, but I can write to create my personal space, where the world slows down and I can feel independent, creative, and simply alive.

Tracy R. Franklin: I write poetry to converse with others; when I craft a poem well, neither I nor the reader is alone. I write essays to educate and advocate. (Most of my essays deal with the challenges faced by those with invisible illnesses.)

Merry Deedee Jones: No choice. If I don’t write, I get increasingly crazy.

Courtney K. Bambrick: i don’t have to write. it is very easy to shut the mechanism down. but i like the mechanism and i like what it makes. i have found a great deal of solace in books, stories, poems, song lyrics, etc. and i aspire to offer something like that to other readers. does that make me sound like an asshole?

And then there’s me. Why do I write? I used to think it was because I felt compelled to do it. That was before getting my MFA. Now, after MFA, I feel like I write because I have a story to tell. Sometimes I write the life I wish I have been given. Other times I write to explore a question or a problem that’s bothering me. I also write because, it’s fun. Even with all the rejection that comes along with writing, there is something so wonderful and down right magical about creating a story.

What about you? Why do you write?