“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” – Flannery O’Connor
Yesterday, I read Stevie Turner’s post for the Open Book Blog Hop and the topic really struck a chord, as did the accompanying quote, which I copied above. The question Stevie poses for this week’s hop is why we write what we write.
I mostly write personal essays, journal entries and other works of autobiographical nonfiction. It may surprise you that I didn’t start out this way. As a child, I wrote fiction more than I wrote diaries. I wasn’t too imaginative, but I tried my best and my parents and teachers were pretty impressed. I always wanted to be a writer.
I started writing a regular diary when I was thirteen. About nine months later, I read Anne Frank’s diary and pretty quickly decided I wanted my diaries published when I’d grow up. That never happened and isn’t going to happen either, not even here, since my crazy ramblings of the time are none of my current day readers’ business. It was 2000 at the time, so online diaries already existed, but I was unaware of their existence.
I continued to write some fiction on a semi-regular basis and aspire to get at least some pieces of fiction published at some point until my late teens or early twenties. Now, I don’t have any aspirations for getting any fiction published.
As for why I write what I write, there are two main reasons. The first is to express myself. I revived this specific blog in 2018 in an attempt to allow myself to write more from the heart than I was permitting myself to do on my old blog.
As an offshoot from the wish to express myself comes the wish to find likeminded individuals. I blog in English because the English-language blogosphere on WordPress and Blogger is much larger and by extension more diverse than the Dutch one, which consists primarily of wannabe “influencers”. Through my writing, I aim to connect to people who share similar experiences to mine.
With respect to my fiction, this has always been the goal of my writing, really, too. My fiction always had very strong autobiographical components and I was looking to diversify young adult fiction. I am sometimes surprised at how well-represented people in minority positions, including multiple minorities, are in fiction nowadays. As a teen, my goal was to be part of that movement. I guess by merely writing openly about my experiences online, even though I’m no longer engaged in activism, I may be doing this.