Writing is a superpower

Every semester, on the day of finals, I ask my feature writing students to write a note explaining “Why I write.” I do it because they should know their motivations for writing. And every year, they bowl me over.

Interestingly, there are a lot more “I write because I can’t say it out loud” than I normally see. I’m not sure what that’s about, but I have my suspicions.

Some samples:

“I see writing as a way to snap the world into a specific focus–whether it helps a reader see someone/something in a new light, evokes a feeling, or gives them a story to carry with them. Stories matter. They can change someone’s mood or change their mind.

“And finally, I write because I cannot help it.”

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“When I’m writing, I feel like when I’m writing something new, I’m carving my own unique voice, sharing a pastime that the greatest writers and storytellers that have ever lived have done. When I write the first word of a story, there’s no difference between me and Hemingway or Twain or Joyce. Writing offers limitless potential.”

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“I write music because there are songs that need to come out. I write fiction because I create stories that want to be told. I write poetry because there are words inside me that want to be heard. I write nonfiction because the lives of people around me desire to be shared. I write because what spills out cannot be wasted on passing ears. I write because I am an artist and art will come out whichever way it pleases that day.”

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“I write because I want to uncover stories that often go untold and overshadowed. I believe my purpose is to help others see the value in telling their stories.”

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“I write to be able to take a moment in time and keep it forever.”

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“It’s also something really satisfying in creating or telling a story and once you’re done writing it, you read over it and you’re like ‘dang, I wrote that.'”

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“My favorite films always rebel against established narrative arcs. They are moody and contemplative with no action to speak of. That’s the kind of writer I was trying to be, but really I needed to learn the rules before I could try to break them.”

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“Writing has the power to inspire a lot of good and change in the world, big and small.  I chose to become a writer honestly because I think it’s the best way I can use my passions to do some good in the world.”

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“I write because representation is important, and I come from a little niche of life that I think most people don’t understand or are afraid of. I write to show people my worldview, and the stories that are so big to me that others might never be aware of.”

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“I write because it’s powerful. Words can make people laugh and cry. They make people change their minds about things they’ve held as solid beliefs. It really is a superpower, and I hope to make the most of it.”