Why write?

11 Jul

I’m relatively new to WordPress, and one of my favourite things about blogging has been comments. I love to read, write and answer them. Recently, we were awarded a Liebster (not incredibly prestigious but still sent shivers through me when I saw Sue Blake’s comment). So we did the whole Q&A and nominated some bloggers we liked. One of my nominees was a girl whose blog I had just recently started to visit regularly, the amazing SJ Paige. During the ensuing comment chit-chat, she briefly mentioned her motivations for blogging. This seemingly casual remark caused a surprisingly big reaction within my brain. Why do I blog? Why do I spend countless hours in front of my PC screen telling stories of mages, secret agents, and spaceships?

Rationality gave me the answer. “You accepted your friend’s invitation and challenge to join the SpeakEasy” it declared, “after which you realised you could learn how to write better from these people.” Yes, but why do I feel this urge to write more? Why am I addicted to all sorts of feedback, comments especially?

Analytics then spoke up. “It’s a form of human interaction. You’re a human being (a bloody teenager at that). Evolution has wired you to pursue social interaction. It’s how you’re gonna meet a mate to further ensure the continuation of the human race.” Ok, but then why are the most satisfying comments tips, advice, constructive criticism etc… Why am I so proud when I put the final period on a post, one that outshines the tingle of satisfaction I feel when I hit “publish”? Why do I feel like a kid in a candy store while surfing through WordPress?

Dead silence from Analytics and Rationality. Well Ramble, it’s just you and me.

The way I see it, two possibilities stand out. Either I’m a lot more of an attention seeker than I originally thought I was, or this is what artists feel when they create a piece of art, or at least something that goes beyond the status of words on a piece of paper (Don’t have the pride or notoriety necessary to call myself an artist… in public… yet).

I feel like we all have an inner need for attention. We all need some sort of proof that we exist, that we are more than the sum of our actions, that we transcend the status of mere animated physical body. Maybe that is how Evolution makes us pursue human interactions: by making us addicted to them, being the most efficient and visible testimony to our existence (how it affects the life of others). Maybe it’s just a quirk produced by our overly complex brain. Maybe the machine in our heads has a desperate need to verify the reality perceived by our senses, to make sure it has a place in it.

Then again, this inner need for attention wouldn’t answer the whole question. It might justify the glee I feel when I see the high five comments on the SpeakEasy posts, and even part of the immense satisfaction caused by the comments with reactions in them (every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Here is a reaction caused by my action. My action is capable of causing a reaction, therefore it is real, and therefore I’m real). It doesn’t, however, explain the sheer pride I feel when surfing around on WordPress, knowing I’m part of that big machine. It doesn’t explain the satisfaction of finishing a post, or even that of having a good idea for a post.

That’s when the whole “artist’s pride” theory comes in. Again, I’m not calling myself an artist. I’m a teenager who happens to know how to use a keyboard. I have no qualification as a writer other than an unfinished high school education. Except quality doesn’t matter in this equation. The point is that it’s a creation, something my brain made from a set of electric impulses. Somehow, that simple fact makes us proud. Proud that we have created something. It doesn’t matter that it won’t make us rich or famous, what matters is that it is a contribution to a community (WordPress), and to a culture (the internet’s blogosphere). And that is a beautiful thing.

This pride does explain my urge to come up with new ideas, new stories, and new worlds. It explains my fascination for this community and my happiness to find my humble posts contribute to it. Is this artistic drive within all of us? Is it only due to yet another brain quirk? I have no idea. Do you?

Which one of these is the fuel my brain feeds off of when writing? A mix of the two probably. Which one is dominant? Are they fundamentally linked, and thus, impossible to separate? Am I an attention whore or Picasso?

Here is another question: Was Picasso an attention whore?


Posted by on 11 July 2014 in Dragonspark


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12 responses to “Why write?

  1. imab00kworm

    12 July 2014 at 05:02

    It seems no one wants to answer ^^’
    Knowing you I disregard the swearing though I find it unpleasant, I know what you mean and I’m not quite sure how I landed here (I got lucky and found some interesting trifecta posts out of the blue in tumblr) but I know what made me stay and find a new challenge one trifecta died: I love writing, I think, more than you do but I also like the social side, the constructive comments. As a teenager I need to know there’s at least one thing I can do well and that’s writing. I’m always glad to get feedback even if it’s just a like because I know that someone reads what I write. I feel like I can do something right and this gives me confidence for a lot of things. I also like this corner of blogging because no one asks who you are and you get treated equally even though some of the people have kids your age but they don’t know that. You can be anyone you want and that’s a dangerous privilege. Of course I choose to be myself an I trust the people “around me” to do the same. *rambles away*

    • DragonSpark

      12 July 2014 at 14:52

      It is ironic that, considering half the post is about how I love comments (and that normally we all do), nobody bothers to. As for the swearing, if you find a better expression that gets the point across, I’ll edit it out…. maybe. You’re right to say you love writing more than I do. If anything, I don’t really like the thing. I do, however, like to tell stories. To me, writing is but a tool, a means to an end. Here, it’s the tool I use to satisfy this need for creativity, this “artistic drive” I talk about, fulfilling my human need for attention in the process. The idea of anonymity, however partial, on the internet is one I will probs write about soon. Maybe for next week’s moonshine, or an eventual Summer Yeahwrite grid…

      • imab00kworm

        12 July 2014 at 17:26

        I’d say you could just use attention seeker. I don’t know if I’ll do any summer stuff yet, I’m afraid I may not have the time 😦

  2. glasgowdragonfly

    12 July 2014 at 08:21

    I’m completely with you on this and guess I will have to join you in the attention whore club! I love writing but spent many years not having the confidence, time or online savvy to find an outlet. When I found wordpress I became totally addicted. I think there’s also something to be said for being in the comfort of strangers. Why would they comment if what you had written didn’t strike a chord – mission accomplished! Great post, thanks for sharing.

    • DragonSpark

      12 July 2014 at 15:01

      It was my pleasure, oh flying cousin (dem puns!). I guess I never knew I liked to write, or rather to use writing as a tool to create. I always assumed drawing would be the one and only tool I would ever use. That is until the owner of this fine blog invited me to join her in her craft. I’m liking it so far! As far as being in the comfort of strangers, I don’t see how WordPress is any different from walking in the street, or taking part in a public debate. Then again, I see why many like to keep their identity completely secret. It’s normal to put only your feet in the water if you know sharks swim within. How much actually goes in the water depends how frequent you think those sharks are.
      Ah and welcome to the club! 😉

  3. Natalie DeYoung

    12 July 2014 at 16:22

    Ooooh yes, it is addicting, that urge to create. I’m glad you keep coming back!

    • DragonSpark

      12 July 2014 at 16:38

      Haha right? Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad you agree with me.
      PS: Coming back to what/where?

      • Natalie DeYoung

        12 July 2014 at 17:03

        To the writing, of course! 😉

  4. thewizardsword

    12 July 2014 at 21:28

    I think you are an artist already, like it or not. Not sure about Picasso, being an erstwhile attention whore, but He probably had quite the ego. 🙂

  5. thewizardsword

    12 July 2014 at 21:29

    I didn’t mean to capitalize “he” in the above comment. 😛

    • DragonSpark

      12 July 2014 at 21:33

      Haha, you just created Picassoism! Thanks for stopping by and reacting.


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