Michelle Wittle On Why We Write?

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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?

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5 thoughts on “Michelle Wittle On Why We Write?

    1. When I first read your reply, I got a very Dorothy Parker vibe from it. I’m sure you can both sing and dance, just maybe not well? Thanks so much for your comment. I appreciate your thoughts.

  1. Since I have turned much more to editing and trying to promote the work of writers with disabilities, I find that I write less for myself – the expression of my personal feelings – and more to see that certain writers are represented in the work that is read and that others know about their work.

  2. Argh, do I know this frustration right now! I’ve been making a special effort to submit more shorts than usual, telling myself it’s all in the numbers – well, maybe, maybe not! After rejection # [ha, no, I’m not owning it!], my thoughts are starting to be of the “what if it’s just my writing?” variety. I think I’m going to ask Santa for an acceptance this year.

    Love the post; great job. It’s nice to be reminded of everyone’s reasons when I’d rather just leave the computer off.

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