You won't find the need to write specifically listed on Psychologist Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Need, but it's there. Maslow's theory is that humans are driven to satisfy needs, urgent survival-based physiological ones first, such as the need for air, water, food, shelter, sleep, and clothing. After these needs are met, we seek safety, love and belonging, esteem, and finally self-actualization.
Sometimes, the need to write transcends all other needs. The Diary of Anne Frank wasn't written for publication. Anne wrote to understand and to escape from the horror of hiding from Nazis. She documented evil as well as the kindness of her protectors and she left a legacy for generations of readers to understand her brief life.
Why do we write?
We need to. Whether we write to entertain, to enlighten, or to inform, we write because stories matter. Wilke Collins wrote The Woman in White to expose how English law deprived women of basic rights. The injustices he presented through compelling fiction led to changes in English law.
People write out of need. When we write what matters most to us, we often sacrifice other needs. We give up time with family and friends to research and compose stories. In the heat of first drafts, we skimp on food and sleep. Investigative journalists sacrifice personal safety to get the truth and report it, because they value the sharing of the truth higher than their comfort and safety. Authors also become so vested in creating their stories, they forgo time with friends and family.
My dear friend named Terri's story took decades to write. Like Anne Frank, my friend wrote because she had to. Her son committed suicide. At first, she wrote because people didn't talk with her when she needed to cope. Some didn't know what to say. Some didn't want to know more than the newspaper account of the tragedy. Terri was burdened with grief, doubts, questions, and the stigma of being the parent of a troubled teen who committed a social taboo.
Terri privately expressed her feelings in poetry and journaling while struggling to find a new normal life for her other two sons and herself. Her journey took decades because at different stages her perspective grew clearer, broader, and easier to grasp.
At first, she wrote because no one listened, no one spoke with her. She wrote to make sense of her loss, to document a life that might have been, to leave a record for her other sons. Now, from her decades-later perspective, she views her writings as a way to help others who have lost a loved one to suicide.
The courage to share her story comes from a source greater than self. She will soon publish the story in her life that matters most--The Write Way to Grieve: Journaling Through the Aftermath of a Suicide by Terri Johnson. She wants her story to be a light for others in the darkest time of their lives.
We write because we must. Even if we never meet our readers, we write. Like Robin Williams needed to make others laugh to stave off his personal pain, like a shipwrecked sailor tossing a message in a bottle into the tide, writing gives us hope and connects us to others.
We write because that hope, that connection matters.
NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS
A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.
We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!
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