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    Friday
    Mar012013

    Why I write, why do you?

    I write this blog to ingrain ideas into my memory.  In the process of writing over 3,000 posts, I've learned a lot.  If I forget I can run a search on this blog. :-)

    I don't look at the comments for feedback which is why many say it is good to blog.  What I do find quite useful with my blog is it speeds up the conversations I have with my friends who regularly read what I post.  Olivier Sanche was a great example and others from his teams.  At first it would be confusing to me, but after awhile it was amazing what we could cover in 15 minutes as we bounced over 10 different topics.  Part of the problem is they would remember my posts better than I would as I would tend to write then flush the idea and move on.

    What is interesting to observe is why people write.  So many people think writing are facts.  Writing is simply words in a language.  You need to know the context of the author to know how to interpret their writing. George Orwell has an essay on "Why I write."

    In the beginning he tells his childhood story.

    NewImage

    I was the middle child of three, but there was a gap of five years on 
    either side, and I barely saw my father before I was eight. For this and 
    other reasons I was somewhat lonely, and I soon developed disagreeable 
    mannerisms which made me unpopular throughout my schooldays. I had the 
    lonely child's habit of making up stories and holding conversations with 
    imaginary persons, and I think from the very start my literary ambitions 
    were mixed up with the feeling of being isolated and undervalued.

    ...

    Then Orwell makes his point.

    I give all this background information because I do not think one can 
    assess a writer's motives without knowing something of his early 
    development.

    and the great observation.

    he will have acquired an emotional 
    attitude from which he will never completely escape.

    Which then flows into the 4 reasons to write besides money.  I am more of the 3rd category, historical impulse.

    Putting aside the need to earn a living, I think there are four great motives for 
    writing, at any rate for writing prose. They exist in different degrees 
    in every writer, and in any one writer the proportions will vary from 
    time to time, according to the atmosphere in which he is living. They 
    are: 

    (i) Sheer egoism. Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be 
    remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed 
    you in childhood, etc., etc. It is humbug to pretend this is not a 
    motive, and a strong one. Writers share this characteristic with 
    scientists, artists, politicians, lawyers, soldiers, successful 
    businessmen--in short, with the whole top crust of humanity. The great 
    mass of human beings are not acutely selfish. After the age of about 
    thirty they almost abandon the sense of being individuals at all--and 
    live chiefly for others, or are simply smothered under drudgery. But 
    there is also the minority of gifted, willful people who are determined 
    to live their own lives to the end, and writers belong in this class. 
    Serious writers, I should say, are on the whole more vain and 
    self-centered than journalists, though less interested in money. 

    (ii) Aesthetic enthusiasm. Perception of beauty in the external world, 
    or, on the other hand, in words and their right arrangement. Pleasure in 
    the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the 
    rhythm of a good story. Desire to share an experience which one feels is 
    valuable and ought not to be missed. The aesthetic motive is very feeble 
    in a lot of writers, but even a pamphleteer or writer of textbooks will 
    have pet words and phrases which appeal to him for non-utilitarian 
    reasons; or he may feel strongly about typography, width of margins, etc. 
    Above the level of a railway guide, no book is quite free from aesthetic 
    considerations. 

    (iii) Historical impulse. Desire to see things as they are, to find out 
    true facts and store them up for the use of posterity. 

    (iv) Political purpose.--Using the word 'political' in the widest 
    possible sense. Desire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter 
    other peoples' idea of the kind of society that they should strive after. 
    Once again, no book is genuinely free from political bias. The opinion 
    that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political 
    attitude. 

    Many of you who live in a corporate environment spend your time writing in #4, Political Purpose.

    One of the zingers is Orwell's comment on writers.

    All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a 
    mystery.

    But, keep in mind all of us write to some degree.  Your e-mails, tweets, Facebook posts are all writing.  Can you even say your instagram posts are a kind of visual writing?

    I think about why I write.  Why do you write?

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    Reader Comments (1)

    I suppose I'm a #4.
    March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKevin Timmons

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