Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

Giving a voice to this

I have been reading a lot of articles online lately about why we read and why we write. Entire books have been dedicated to collecting famous authors reasons for putting words to paper. I have some of them and have flipped through others, and in many cases the reasons that some very famous people have decided to write, mirror my own.

We write to capture our experience, to put into words a feeling or emotion. We write to leave a trace of who we are and who we were in this great big world. We write to e heard, to shout out loud in a world already full of noise. We write to leave a history of events. We write to escape. We write to be found. We write because we can’t not write.

My fellow blogger, Alisa, over on Write What You Know, posted about this as she read her grandmother’s memoir. She was finding that the gift of writing, both the talent and the urge, had been handed down to her from her ancestors. This is something that I share with her as my grandmother’s journal is very dear to me.

She quoted Anne Dillard as having said, “You were made and set here to give voice to this, your own astonishment.”

This is another reason still to write.

Writing has helped me and continues to help me find my voice, a voice that I have muffled over the years, burying it beneath layers of what-would-they-think-if-I-said-this-or-that, and what-if-I’m-wrong, and who-am-I-to-say-such-a-thing. In journals, I allow myself to lay it all out in the open, good and bad, and in doing so, I lift a weight from my shoulders. Little by little, I learn to allow my voice to be allowed to be heard in real life.

Even in writing fiction, I find my voice shining through the characters. When I first read through my YA manuscript, this came as a surprise to me. The amount of my real world that made its way into the details of my imaginary one was not something I planned. But I found bits of my family and friends in the characters, and bits of myself too. I found that writing fiction is the purest form of escape from the day-to-day stress and drudgery. I looked forward to sinking into my story every night, if only for an hour.

So yes, I write for all of those reasons, and more. I write to escape; I write to be found. I write to be heard and to hear my voice. Like Anne Dillard said, I am here to give voice to this world around me. I write to leave a trace.

Why do you write?


  1. Alisa Russell

    Cheryl, I find my voice shining through my fictional characters too. My writing seems more real to me when I add real-world elements. And all those other reasons you mentioned, I write because of them too. Thank you so much for the pingback earlier. You don’t know how much it encouraged me that what I said about my grandmother touched someone else. Have a great night!

    • I was amazed at the character quirks that came out in my writing subconsciously and reflected real people in my life. 🙂 just goes to show that our subconscious knows what to write. We just need to shut up and get out of the way!

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: