Why We Write

By: Alyssa Gagnon, Regular Contributor

Why do I write? Why do we write? Why do I sit down each week and wrack my brain for a topic? And then why do I work to come up with something of substance to type out onto the blank white space filling up my screen? I got to thinking about this task that each of us writers set out to do daily, weekly, monthly… whatever, because instead of the “why” in my question being an inquisitive one, it was a defeatist one. It was a “why” that said “what’s the point.” 

The point is that our voices matter. There is this vast virtual space of internet with content covering all that you can and cannot imagine, and when we ad our voices to that landscape, we are creating a presence, no matter how small.


We are combatting the monolithic voices telling us that we are not good enough or that we need to be somehow different to be “perfect.” 

We are combatting the voices calling over from the wrong side of history telling us that our bodies our not actually our own. 

We are combatting a deluge of negativity. We raise our voices against slut shaming, against domestic violence, against photoshop, against unrealistic expectation, against expectation at all.

But here’s the real kicker: We raise our voices.

If not for someone, somewhere, choosing to share their thoughts and feelings in writing, the tiny voices combatting the large ones wouldn’t exist. But when many of those tiny voices join together, they begin to be heard. Why wouldn’t I want to be a voice? Why wouldn’t I want to share for what I believe to be the common good? 

I will leave you with this trite question: If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? The same can be applied to our thoughts and feelings and behaviors.

Of course the tree makes a sound; of course we still think and feel and be if we don’t write about it. But when there is an audience, our impact is multiplied: our readers will go out and tell others about the booming rush that the tree made as it fell through the growth around it.

When our experiences are recorded, we take up space. When we record our experiences ourselves, we claim space: we are unapologetic about who we are here, now and we give others— perhaps others with even smaller voices than our own— the permission and courage to do the same.

Let's Chat! 

Maybe you're not a writer. How do you share your voice? How do you assert your worth and presence? 

About Alyssa

alyssa_G.jpgAlyssa grew up on a diet of grilled cheese, books, and ice cream with books predominating. She recently graduated with a Master’s degree in English and lives in her favorite place with her favorite husband (she only has one). Post-graduation, her plans are to start a new women’s magazine that leaves women feeling GREAT about who they are, and to open a publishing house for untapped talent.

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  • commented 2015-01-23 09:04:49 -0800
    Great article. I love to write too. I loved writing papers in college and I journal every day and it’s relaxing. I think it’s great you are planning to start a women’s magazine that will help women feel great about who they are. I’ve certainly struggled with how i feel about myself since i was in jr. high. Good luck with starting the magazine and opening a publishing house

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