Why I Write

I once was told in a comment to a blog post,

“Sometimes…when I read your words…I feel like I’m existing in your soul for just a moment in time.

I like it.”

For years, the thought scared me. Someone could see inside me, just because I wrote something down. The vulnerability of it was frightening.

But as I continued writing, I began to understand that I was practicing an art. Too often, we’re taught that writing is just another skill that we all must possess, on the same plane as balancing a checkbook or washing the dishes. And sometimes, that is where writing resides. But when we constantly believe that, the beauty of writing disappears.

Writing is an art, and art is often soul baring, pure vulnerability.

That’s why the post about FFA convention ricocheted in my head for two days until finally, at 10:30 at night, I sat down at my computer, opened Evernote and forced myself to write it. It scared me to post it.

Then, a lot of people saw it, and they responded to it overwhelmingly. It was a humbling experience.

I began writing this post at 12:15 on a Sunday morning. I had been on the computer for several hours before beginning to write. I just needed to write something. I had been reading updates from friends whose son was in the NICU, reading old blog posts, capturing new ideas and saving interesting articles. It all finally resulted in me wanting to type words. Just words.

In elementary school, we’re taught, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Tell that to a child who only heard negativity growing up. Tell that to someone who was called a racially-charged name. Tell that to a girl who heard, “I love you,” from a boy, only to be left behind.

Words have tremendous power, and we must speak and write them with care. This does not mean shying away from tough subjects, but it does mean being cognizant of that power.

When I shot clay discs for the first time, the power of the rifle awed me. If I handled it wrong, there would be serious consequences. But when I held the gun correctly, I absorbed the kick of it on my shoulder, and nearly hit the disc, missing by mere millimeters. Power emanated from the rifle.

Power emanates from words.

Yes, writers are cognizant of this. But it is not why I write.

I write because there are words that can heal. I write because I want to show what it’s like to live and work on a farm. I write because there are stories bouncing around in my head that need to live.

I write because I can’t not write.

Vulnerability is not an attribute we readily seek. But for that vulnerable moment where I’m letting readers in, it’s worth it.

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