Why Do You Write?

by Kimberly A. Cook                        (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

Before first grade I wanted to read; very badly. I didn’t know the words so I made up stories about the pictures in the books. At the ripe old age of six, I earned a spot on the Reading Train engine because I read 100 books in first grade.

I’ve never stopped reading. Then at the ancient age of ten, I knew I was a writer. It just happened. Since that was the same year I had a six-inch growth spurt, my vision went to crap and my hormones took off, seems like it was a good anchor in turbulent times.

Stints on the school newspapers in junior and senior high, yearbook staff and a great English Department in my high school led me to study writing in college when I graduated early from high school. That lasted one semester.  College and I were not ready for each other yet and I joined the Army.  But I knew I would write about it so I had my folks keep all my letters.

College degrees and jobs followed after the Army with newspaper journalist, photographer, public affairs officer, trainer, writing instructor, video production coordinator, author and speaker added to my resume.  So a few decades since high school graduation, why do I still write?

 The easy answer is I write to educate and entertain, both with my non-fiction and fiction writing. Now I lean more towards entertainment and making folks laugh. It’s fun and it beats what’s in the news. I’ve used writing for catharsis and to heal, to communicate with family and friends and to say goodbye to dying former students.  Writing works for all kinds of situations, just like Silly Putty.

“You’re not happy when you’re not writing,” my Mom told me once. Mom’s do know best. I write because I have to, it’s a compulsion, a need. My name is Kim and I’m addicted to words. 

A quote I keep on my desk explains my brain. “You see, some of us have grasshopper minds. We want to be fascinated by a subject only for a certain time, and then move on,” said J.A. Maxtone Graham. A perfect description of a writer, especially a former journalist.

I’m also a big rabbit fan and my interests hop from subject to subject.  The rabbit agility course shown in Denmark on the Amazing Race Sunday night thrilled me no end; bunnies and obstacle courses. Now all I have to do is get them into Army fatigues. 

But perhaps the best thing about writing is the adventures I have read in a book which have enticed me to take trips to places around the world and in my own backyard. I am a writing adventuress. In a former life I’m sure I was a pirate.

 So when we get too wound up in the business side of writing – social media, agent getting, ebook formatting, and the career planning frenzy – let’s think about why we write. It’s different for each of us and one size does not fit all. Take the time to reflect on why you write while looking out the window with a cup of cocoa.  Unleash the grasshoppers!

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