Raison D’être: The Compulsion to Write

I discovered the internet as a means of self-expression at the tender age of 8, long before the onset of Blogger and WordPress, in the days when Freewebs and Geocities reigned supreme. Since then I have had a grand total of 18 unsuccessful attempts to run a blog, my desire for self-expression eventually falling prey to the feeling that blogging is presumptuous. To write something for oneself is one thing, but to publish something with the expectation that people would care to read your thoughts seems to me to ring of both presumptuousness and a shameful desire for self-validation. I don’t believe that anything I have to say is of particular significance, nor do I feel the need to be told otherwise, my thoughts are just that, they are incoherent, sometimes irrational, sometimes melodramatic, but they are mine. I do not care much for what people have to say of them, for I know every emotion, every incident that has lead to the existence of that thought far better than they ever will, so their validation or criticism holds no value to me.

Yet why then, do I feel a compelling desire to write?

Writing is an incredibly intimate act, and to be allowed to view someone’s writing is a privilege. A desire to write can easily be fulfilled by writing in a journal, to me displaying my writing to the world is like being stripped bare, my words are precious, they are personal, their inadequacies are my inadequacies, and allowing someone else to read them requires me to summon much of my courage.  Many of the blogs I have read remind me of the insincerity of the written word, how in attempts to make their writing more enthralling, to paraphrase C.S. Lewis, the truth is lost when words like infinite are used when very would have sufficed.

That brings me back to my initial question, if I desire no validation, nor do I believe that my thoughts will be sought out, why then do I feel a need to expose myself and the intimacy of my mind to the harshness of the world? Perhaps because I have finally begun to realise something that writers have known for eons, there is a beauty in language that cannot be captured anywhere else, beauty in the way a carefully crafted sentence can bring about just as visceral a reaction as any tangible occurrence, and perhaps most importantly, I have begun to realise that there is both beauty and extraordinary courage required to shed your armour and walk on to the battlefield, fearlessly embracing your vulnerability. Or perhaps I write, because I hope that in the act of writing, I may find my own Raison D’être.


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