Jump Start Your Brain: Why We Write

JumpstartHappy Saturday, Modern Philosophers!

Sorry for the late start with the Jump Start post, but we’re expecting a big snowstorm today (what’s new???), so I decided to jump start my day and run some errands before Snow Miser unleashed his wrath.

Now that I’m home at The House on the Hill, I can finally sit down and write.  Let’s get your brains humming on this gray, wintry Saturday.  I’ve got 1000 Volts of Deep Thoughts here that should do the trick.

I am, however, going to change it up this week.  Rather bombard your brain with dozens of questions, I’m going to pose one and then share my answer.

Hopefully, this will set off an exchange of Deep Thoughts that gets every brain purring.

My question is simple: Why do you write?

Writing has always been an escape for me.  The only thing that’s changes over the years, is that from which I’m trying to escape.

When I was a wee Modern Philosopher, I was scrawny, nerdy, the smartest kid in the class, and had very few friends.  I could disappear into my stories and become the brave hero,  who everyone loved, and who was free from an Evil Step Mother who only wanted him to study and become even more of an anti-social weirdo.

Movies played a very important part in the process.  Once I saw Star Wars, I knew that I wanted to be a writer.  I wanted to take myself and my readers on the adventures that George Lucas had taken me.

My entrance essay for NYU Film School detailed how I’d decided to write screenplays only after my Evil Step Mother would not allow me to run away to join the Rebel Alliance and help destroy the Empire.

I have very distinct memories of seeing Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Clearly, George Lucas had a powerful hold on me.

I saw Raiders right before baseball practice.  ESM had sent me to the movies to kill time before practice so that she didn’t have to worry about me being home alone while she was at work.  I had very little focus on the diamond that day, as my thoughts were back in the 1940s where I’d traded in my baseball glove and cap for a bullwhip and a fedora.  The opposing team was now the Nazis, and all I cared about was keeping them from finding lost religious artifacts.  Fielding grounders at third base was just going to have to wait.

In high school, writing was my escape from how afraid I was to speak in girls. In my stories, I always knew exactly what to say and the young ladies were fighting over me.

In reality, I did know what to say to the members of the opposite sex.  That part of being a writer never failed me.  However, I could never get up the courage to walk over to a girl on whom I had a crush to utter the perfect lines that were right on the tip of my tongue.

At NYU, writing was my escape from a future in the Rat Race.  Writing was going to be the career that saved me from a life chained to a desk.  It was going to allow me to follow in the footsteps of George Lucas, and inspire other awkward young boys in search of an escape from a rough life.

After NYU, writing was my escape from the fact that I had to figure out how to pay the bills and maintain a relationship now that school was done.  I never stopped writing, even when I took “real jobs”.  Writing was still my escape, and it was going to save me from ever having those real jobs turn into a career.

After my divorce, writing was an escape from my failures as a husband.  In my stories, I was the hero, the girl chose me, and we always lived happily ever after.

When The Girl Who Owns My Heart moved away, writing was my escape from the broken heart from which I’ve still yet to recover.  Writing this blog every day has given me a distraction and a focus at a time when I really need such things.

Writing has always been there for me whenever I needed to get away from my troubles.  I know you supposedly can’t run from your problems, but you can certainly write yourself into a place where they can’t bother you for a while.

So what about you, Modern Philosophers, Why do you write?

About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
This entry was posted in Humor, Philosophy, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to Jump Start Your Brain: Why We Write

  1. hollie says:

    I write about stories from the past because it is much cheaper than therapy. The observational stuff I write because it makes people laugh and sometimes I just have things to say. 🙂

  2. jensmithry says:

    Writing and storytelling is such an empowering way to not only tell stories, but also your own ideals and values. I recently saw a page with interviews that portrayed the happiness and sadness everyone experiences. Check it out here: http://www.facebook.com/eyesofchapelhill

  3. sandydunne says:

    I write because it feels good. I use writing to clarify my feelings and ideas, – which usually leads to something I need to find out more about. I like it best when people read what I’m writing and comment. 🙂

  4. Reblogged this on The Platypus Directive and commented:
    Writing is definitely a form of escape for us who are writers. “So what about you, Modern Philosophers, Why do you write?” This is a good question, but it can only be answered with painful and bloody answers.

  5. Writing, for me and for many, is a form of therapy! And like Hollie said above – much cheaper! I agree, it’s also an escape…like jumping into another world 🙂 I hope the snow storm isn’t too bad. Have you got your rations, and enough logs for the fire?

  6. I never thought writing was an escape, but I do enjoy living with my characters and sorting them out or them sorting me out. I like to see what happens after the first word lands on the page. 🙂

  7. AC says:

    I write to change the world. So you have me to blame for the sorry state of affairs it’s in.

  8. suddenlysonder says:

    I’m not much of a sharer of feelings and stuff so I write stories to get rid of the things I haven’t said out loud. It makes me feel better even if I never show them to anyone. And sometimes it’s just to put my ideas down on paper, even if they’re not personal.

  9. List of X says:

    Who says I write? I just type up the jokes and number them.

  10. Gene'O says:

    It’s a bit of a compulsion for me. I feel bad when I don’t write enough. And doesn’t really matter what it is. Just words. Must produce the words.

    Lately, it seems as though I am doing an awful lot of writing to communicate with people and offer them chances to do stuff together on the Internet.

  11. D. Parker says:

    I don’t know why I write, I’ve just always written, although I may have missed a couple of years of what could have been unmitigated creativity as a baby and toddler, but after that, it was full steam ahead. It’s just part of me…that I sometimes share. 😉

    • Austin says:

      I find the sharing part to be very helpful. Not many people get to read my screenplays, but it has been a joy to share my blog posts with so many wonderful people. I just love the feedback.

  12. I always saw writing as an escape, although lately it’s been more of that free therapy. I ramble on about what’s in my mind (past,present,future) it’s also a little self discovery. I need to find the creative escape writer within, gotta go dig around and find her.

  13. E.L. Wicker says:

    I think we both write for much the same reasons – escapism. It’s something I like to do, and like an old friend – it’s always there. I couldn’t cope with a life without writing. I need to be able to live in different places, even if they exist solely in my head 🙂

  14. adamjasonp says:

    I’ve written to force myself into actually looking at situations, what-ifs, enacting truths and raw emotions. Sort of the power there, aiming at getting the reader to feel it. It really is therapeutic, plotting out the courses for realistic characters, as they relate to the writer. All sorts of discoveries and self-discoveries are made.

  15. What an interesting question — never really gave it much thought. I write (1) to share life stories about experiences with other people — because I’ve already shared them with my family and friends! (2) to try to help other people — with tips and things I’ve learned (many times the hard way) (3) to encourage people to see the humor in life, instead of focusing on the irritating/boring/mundane things. As adamjasonp said very well above, it is also therapeutic and it does result in all sorts of discoveries!

  16. NotAPunkRocker says:

    It’s cheaper than therapy, and it distracts me from succumbing to behavior/habits I need to avoid.

    Cheerful, right? :-\

  17. jenpiercedwonderings says:

    I write to make sense of my world. I know no better way to untangle my thoughts about what is happening, how I feel, & what I want to do than by writing.

  18. Pamela Edwards says:

    Because in my writing sometimes the most amazing things come thru, where as in speaking them it isn’t quite the same . ☺

  19. markbialczak says:

    I loved to read from the time my parents and grandparents started reading me kiddie books as a toddler. Then as soon as I learned letters in kindergarten I loved to write words like they read to me. And sentences. And paragraphs. Then I started reading the newspaper and fell in love with finding out about sports and movies and music and people every day, and I started to write like that in classes. And my teachers in school told me I was good at it.
    I was on a roll and never stopped.
    I write because I love to write, I guess has always been at the bottom of it, Austin.

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