Some answers to the question “Why do we write?”

September 5, 2010 at 2:22 am 4 comments

“Everybody is talented, original, and has something important to say.” Brenda Ueland

“Writers need to write because, simply put, it makes us happy. Writing feels good.” Julia Cameron

“I think [writing is] a way for a certain type of person with a certain temperament to stay sane, or sane-ish. I don’t think it’s entirely voluntary. It’s an inner compulsion.” Yahia Labadibi

“…exact expression is the goal of writing.” Robert Wolf

“Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it.” Jack Kerouac

“The secret wish of poetry is to stop time.” Charles Simic

“I think writing is, by definition, an optimistic act.” Michael Cunningham

“Writing is the act of opening the eye to the absolute beauty of ordinary things.” Julia Cameron

“There is a door we all want to walk through and writing can help you find it and open it.” Anne Lamott

“Why do I write? Why does the sun shine? Because I am a writer. Because I want to discover the patterns in the chaos of time.” Margaret Atwood

“The only reason for being a professional writer is that you can’t help it.” Leo Rosten

“Writing is considered a profession, and I don’t think it is a profession. I think that everyone who does not need to be a writer, who thinks he can do something else, ought to do something else. Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness. I don’t think an artist can ever be happy.” Georges Simenon

“All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique.” James Baldwin

“Each man has his own vocation; his talent is his call.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I write for the same reason I breathe–because if didn’t, I would die.” Isaac Asimov

“If you ask me what I came into this world to do…I will answer you. ‘I am here to live out loud.'” Emile Zola

Janet Hulstrand is a writer, editor and teacher of writing and literature based in Silver Spring, Maryland.  She teaches literature courses in Paris and Hawaii for the Education Abroad program at Queens College, CUNY, and twice a year she offers Writing from the Heart workshops in a beautiful little village in the Champagne region of France.

Entry filed under: About Writers and their Work, About Writing from the Heart. Tags: , , , .

Some of my favorite quotes about literature Ten Rules of the Road for Writing from the Heart

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Azima A.  |  September 28, 2010 at 12:22 am

    i write to give the voiceless a voice, the hopeless hope and to become invisible but still provocative….well at least for now…by invisible i mean let the words speak for themselves, the words should not be reflected to a writer to be stereotyped, at least in my case, multi ethnic, cultural and nationality!!!

  • 2. Lata Jain  |  November 10, 2010 at 5:41 am

    I like your post and certainly this comes from the heart. It is some what I like to learn. Do you have some material to share or technique to use in writing from heart. The reason I am asking for that I like to teach my students the process of reflecting and think critical. If reflection doesn’t come from the heartfelt feelings about the experience , they can’t think or visualize the bigger picture working with most vulnerable population. I am looking for your help.

    • 3. Janet Hulstrand  |  November 13, 2010 at 1:40 pm

      Hi Lata,

      Thank you for writing, and I am glad you liked my post!

      I use three very good books with my students that maybe you will like. They are “If You Want to Write” by Brenda Ueland, “The Right to Write,” by Julia Cameron, and “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott. All of these books are very encouraging to writers, especially those who may not feel empowered or who may not be confident that their feelings and life experiences are important enough to write about. The Julia Cameron book also includes a lot of good exercises for writers that could be helpful for you and your students.

      Janet Hulstrand

  • 4. Pat Ferryman  |  April 4, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    I teach my students to write to give themselves a voice. They learn to express themselves and say word and thoughts their mouths can’t form.


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