Pencil to Paper

The Daily Life of a Compulsive Writer

Why Do We Write? December 27, 2010

Filed under: Writing — katblogger @ 9:47 AM

From a small child acting out adventures with her toys to an old man repeating to his friends “Remember when… one time…”, humanity seems to have an innate desire to tell stories. To recount, embellish, or invent. I read that 81% of Americans feel that they have a novel inside them to be written. So why do so many feel this way? Why is storytelling so important in our culture?

Long ago, before we had the written word, people handed down history through stories. The history of their family, the dangers they faced… all of this was passed down in story form.

Stories were also used to explain the unexplainable. Various mythologies gave magical reasons for the weather, the turning of the seasons, our own existence, and more.

Now, however, we have history books. Most of nature’s phenomena is explained. So why do many of us still have an urge to tell stories?

I’m sure there are theories out there by much more educated people than me, but this is just my two cents.

Humanity tells stories to stave off the dark of the unknown. We like creating a world where we are in control, where we know everyone, know what will happen, and are finally pulling the strings. We like to engineer a happy ending, if we can’t bring around one of our own. We like having a better place to hide in – or at least a place messed up in simpler ways. Stories give us a chance to create idealized versions of ourselves, do exactly the right thing at exactly the right time.

I don’t  really know why I write stories. I just seem to come up with them, and would feel bad if I never did anything with them. That’s my reason – what’s yours?


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