I Write Because I Must

Two questions I get a lot are, “How do you find the time to write so much?” and “How do you decide what to write about?”

Finding the time is not hard. No, not because I have nothing to do… I would venture that my schedule is as tight as anyone’s. The fact that you see an article every couple days on this site and a book every couple years makes it seem like I write every day.  While that is true of most weeks, it isn’t a daily thing. It is a thing I do in intense spurts when I have the time.

It was junior high school where I discovered writing. I learned that writing for me (and not a class assignment) was actually a lot of fun. It started with short stories – usually involving my classmates in some sort of a group and often involving some shootout with bad guys and always with adventure. When I shared these stories with my friends – they LOVED them. I was a hit!

I think that feedback loop is what sparked me to put more of my thoughts on paper then, and in digital format now.

In college, I made the switch to journaling. My church stresses the importance of keeping a journal for posterity, as much as a way to coalesce your own thoughts, and I jumped in. As you can see from the stack of 3-inch binders filled with handwritten loose-leaf paper, I wrote a lot! (Yes, the dating is odd – that is because one of them is a collection of printed out personal emails.)

These journals only occasionally contain spiritually thoughts, as I often go off on tangents that tie into what is happening in my life at the time. Yes, at times I do get very much “in the weeds” about spiritual topics but more often than not, this is the subtext rather than the main focus.

In the early 2000’s I started blogging. This opened a whole new world to me. It was so much easier to write and keep things organized – plus, I didn’t have to lug around binders of fading pages.

So what is all this writing about? Mostly, it is still about coalescing my own thoughts. It is about understanding what I feel and believe. I find that when I commit things to writing, I have to think about them. When I think about them, I have to decide my beliefs around a subject.

This takes me from being a consumer of opinion and ideas and transforms me into a creator of opinion and ideas. I’m not talking about shaping your opinion… I am just thinking of my own. This clarity helps me to know who I am and assists me in shaping (and often changing) those opinions.

Because of that, I write about everything. Yes, a lot of book reviews. Yes, the occasional introspective post (like this one.) And yes, comments on what is happening in the arenas that interest me. For me, it is akin to a regular therapy session. It helps me put things in perspective. It helps keep me grounded in what is really important.

My questions for you – do you write? What do you write? Why do you write? Where do you write? Please write a comment here and thanks for taking the time to share in my mind-space. 🙂

by Chris Doelle