Why We Write

There’s a growing desire for self-expression.  We all use writing in different ways to
achieve it.  In a recent workshop,
participants aimed to use their writing to: 1) capture a life story for adult children; 2) to include stories in a
family scrapbook; 3) to use letters to recapture
the family spirit; and 4) to anchor symbols that pop in intuitively.   I believe most all of us want to write as a
means of communicating something about ourselves and our lives on a deep heart
felt level.  And perhaps at the deepest
level we seek to understand and to be understood.

In Natalie Goldberg’s workshop last year at the
Sophia Institute, she gave prompts to get people writing.  "Write about your mother’s hands," she said
and fifty pens began to scratch at notebooks.  She guides people to
discover the wild mind and run with its chattering.  Grasp the details. Stories come to life through snippets of
unrealized truth that pop out when given an opportunity.  People are drawn to the magic of her workshops
because they yearn not only for self-expression, but also for the nuggets of
self-comprehension that emerge.

Something about human nature not only wants to tell
stories, we want to tell our personal stories and be the hero or heroine.   Several years ago when I told people I
was a writer they almost inevitably responded with, "I have a great life
story.  You’ll want to write about
me.  Let me tell you…"  If I was sitting in a plane I usually
received as much of their life story as the flight allowed.  Now, instead of hearing people tell their
stories to someone else, many want to author them.  The democratization of publishing through
blogs, e-books, and Twitter make this option readily available to anyone
willing to invest time, energy and money. 
To many people it doesn’t matter how many people going through the process is reward enough. 

Does it matter if it gets read?  Publisher’s
Lunch, Feb. 25, 2010 reported a "tidbit" that Arsen Kashkashian at the Boulder Bookstore posted on a Tweet about
book sales:  "Self published books
are now accounting for over 1% of our sales. Many
look like bks from major houses…. We have three, four, five authors coming in
almost everyday to get their bks on our shelves. We charge a fee, still they

Ultimately we seek acceptance and
understanding from others.  And this is
perhaps why we invest so much in getting the writing out there through
self-publishing and blogging.  If ten or
a hundred people read an author’s work, especially if it’s a memoir,
the personal becomes universal and even legendary.  Who doesn’t have
some small yearning to be a

I loved to
hear from some of you who are choosing the self-publishing option and why you
made the choice.

Copyright: Debra Moffitt Leslie, March 2010.  http://www.debramoffitt.com


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