Why I Write : 34 reasons

September 15, 2019
I’ve kept a daily writing practice for over five years, writing in tiny lined notebooks with cranberry-colored covers. This week, I started book #125. I’ve been writing about 25 books per year, writing five pages per day almost religiously. Over one million words of free-writing. So it seems like a good time to reflect:
Why Do I Write?
I write to honor myself — who I am —
and to find out more about who that is.
I write to remind myself that I am more
than the jobs I do, and that if I’m present
I can bring the best of myself to those jobs
and practice breathing throughout the day.
I write to heed Mary Oliver’s advice on writing:
“Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”
I write to listen to the instinct of my better angels,
what grounds me in whatever work I’m doing.
I write to connect to the visionary qualities
of my Red-tail Hawk Totem , to circle above
in the sky and see my life (and concerns) from
the perspective of three hundred feet up,
where I became a speck in an intertwined
forest of breathing creatures reaching
for the sun and the shade.
I write to take notes about what I’ve done,
what I could do better,
what I could do the next day and the day after.
I write to practice presence and gratitude,
realizing that every day is a gift.
I write to hope and dream and wish.
I write to pray for the people I love.
I write to vent my frustrations to myself
before I decide when, if, and how I
vent them to other parties; often realizing
that my frustrations are my own business,
that they tell me more about me than them.
I write to learn, to study myself and follow
the philosopher’s maxim to “know thyself.”
I write to record dreams, snippets of dreams,
and to guess what the symbols mean,
following the lead that our dreams
can be the greatest teachers of what lies
beneath the surface of our cognition.
I write to love myself, to affirm my choice
as an existential being who gets to
create the habits (and the lives) I ask for.
I write to meditate, to cultivate, to center
myself in a sense of equanimity, of acceptance
Of what comes and what has been, what is.
I write to cherish the passing of time and
the seasons — the way the leaves and the
light changes each day, and the way
my life changes along with them.
I write to affirm that I have the power
to create time, if I choose to — to wake
earlier and rush to the page instead of the feed.
To be mindful of my attention.
I write to optimize my daily routine —
to reflect what is working and what is not
with my consumption of food, drink,
drugs, and media, and my sleep schedule,
I write to marvel at the world, at the
possibility of something mysterious.
I write to hope that the best is yet to come
that the future is bright.
I write to embrace the mystery that I
don’t know what is best, to render myself
more humble and happy with that humility.
I write to make myself small
when I’m feeling too big,
I write to make myself big,
when I’m feeling too small.
I write to acknowledge the power of belief…
this was a big one at first,
to see how easy (relatively) it was
to proclaim and identify as a writer
who writes: I identify as someone
who makes time to write everyday,
and poof, Shazam! There I am!
I write to drink coffee slowly (or
do I drink coffee slowly to write?)
I write to pen letters to my friends and tell them
just what it is about them that I admire,
or that really pisses me off.
I write to see myself — to be more honest
and take more ownership of what it means
to be responsible for my views.
I write to exercise my mind and cultivate
the kinds of presences that help me in
the classroom and on the stage.
I write to remember lines that would
make good lyrics, overheard phrases
that seem just too-perfect to be true.
I write to follow the signs as they come,
to listen to the guidance I’m getting
about what to remember. What to do —
I write to feel more at home in my own
skin, my own body, to breathe into it.
I write to play-to start off my day
with play and give my inner child some room.
I write to be myself, a little each day.
I write to talk to myself, to have access
to a therapist who always listens, and
is free, (minus the cost of the pages)…
I write to begin the day as I would
want to begin my life: in ecstasy,
in Bliss, or at least the possibility of it!
“gratefulness is a portal
through which life gazes
at itself.”

-Tim Roberts