Yesterday, a woman asked me what I did. I paused because I have always answered, “I’m a mental health counselor.” But, I am retired; I WAS a counselor. Therefore I replied, “I’m a writer.”
She said, “Oh, really, what do you write?” Again, I paused because I write about many things. I said, “I’m an author of a book about my client’s stories and what I learned from them, I write a weekly newspaper column called, ‘Mental Matters,’ I write rural women stories, and I blog. I post them on my website. I’m also in the process of writing a picture book for a forgotten population–senior women my age.”
On my way home, I said to myself, “I’m a writer. Yep, I’m a writer.”
This morning I received an email from the leader of one of my writing groups challenging us to write about, “WHY I write.” I accepted.
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I have been writing out of necessity for a long time. I have Ph.D., and that doesn’t happen without a lot of time at the keyboard. My dissertation, on the topic of women raised with no brothers, was 156 pages of research, qualitative study, and conclusions. I also wrote clinical notes for years and professional papers.
The newspaper column gives me a weekly deadline, so I have the automatic motivation to write several hours each week. But I mainly write to help people. When I had my counseling office, I could collaborate face-to-face with clients to help them improve and change. Once I retired, I lost and missed the ability to offer people different ways of thinking. Writing is one way I continue to contribute.
I also write for myself. It gives me an assertive voice and helps put the pieces of my thoughts in order. I observe the world through external logic and reason, verses internal emotion, and writing connects the dots, so to speak, to create a dimensional picture and make sense of what I perceive.
This morning a woman said, “I love your articles. They are the first thing I turn to when I pick up the paper.” I thanked her and little did she know how comments like hers keep me writing. When I envision someone’s face and hear their kind words, I write for them.
In one sentence; I write to help others and myself.