What is writing, and why does it move us?


I’ve just recently returned from Chicago with my son. It was a father and son trip and I learned a lot about him and myself.

Before we left he gave me a wonderful Father’s Day card from him and his sister. It was something my wife printed and he wrote his “Top 10 Reasons Why I Love My Dad.”

I won’t tell you all of them but number 3 stood out. “I know my Dad is smart because he knows how to write.” With this one thing my son made me cry. It took my son telling me I’m a good writer to make me understand writing better.

What Is Writing?

Each of us write because we love to tell stories or we have an idea that we need to share with the world. But why do we do this? What makes us? What force pushes us to do this?

Writing in its purest form is words joined to make something meaningful. The words don’t matter as much as the message conveyed in the words.

Let’s take something from Buddhism: “I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.”Buddha

What do these words mean? To me they mean, If we don’t take action our life will not be what we want it to be. We must act on things, don’t sit idly by.

Writing should move the human soul. Here’s a Quote from something more recent:

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” – Dumbledore…from The Sorcerer’s Stone.

Writing isn’t only for entertainment. We learn from it. There a little lessons about perseverance and courage that we learn from Harry Potter. Or lessons about fear from Bram Stoker and H.P. Lovecraft.

Writing moves us because it’s the only thing that we believe we can do well. For some of us we have to work to get there, for others it comes naturally. But we all learn from the writing of others.

When I read A Farewell To Arms I learned about loss. The book touched me because I’d been through something similar. I loved the book, it’s in my Top Ten list.

The book The Road by Cormac McCarthy made me cry. Everything the boy and his father went through and the ending was heart wrenching.

All of these books I love because they moved me. We write to move our readers. To make them love our writing enough to come back for more.

In essence we write because we want to be moved. We want to write the stories that moved us.

What is writing to you? What story moved you the most? Answer in the comments.

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6 Responses to What is writing, and why does it move us?

  1. samanthaeden says:

    I think everyone writes for different reasons, but most of them come down to expressing some aspect of the human condition.

    I’m not sure what story or book moved me the most. It’s a really tough question and I have a hard time pin pointing exactly when and where I felt the most moved by a story. But, I have cried during many novels. I have read short stories that have made me uncomfortable. And I have also read stories and books which did not produce a physical affect on me, but which made me think about something in a different way. I think any of those mean that the book or story did its job.

    Great post. Thank you for sharing!

    • The human condition is something we all want to be a part of. I have a friend who lived in Italy for three years. He’s now married with two kids and still talks about his life there. I told him he should write about it. He asked, “Why, I’m just a nobody.” I told him, “people love to experience things they’ll probably never get to do. It doesn’t matter who you are, it matters what you’ve done.”

      All of us write to experience things that we’ll never get to do. Writing has always been my therapy, my way out of dark places.

      Thanks for your comments.

  2. Peter Combs says:

    I write because it’s the only thing that makes me feel like myself. I write because I love words and pages and books. I write because I wish to connect with others in the same way that I have connected with books and stories written by my favorite authors. I write because sometimes the moments we experience are too beautiful, too horrible, too unforgettable to ever be forgotten.

    The stories that moved me the most are the ones that I read as a boy. Stories of Narnia, and Oz. Those were the first stories that I felt truly transported and became completely lost inside the story. I think that’s why I love the Harry Potter books, because JK Rowling has managed to capture the magic of those stories, and for seven books, I was transported to another time and place. As an adult, it was an unexpected and welcome experience. I think that’s what it’s all about – creating a bridge with our words to another world, place or time for a few moments of total emersion. That’s the dream.

    • When a writer gets the immersion part right it’s the most amazing thing. As a writer that’s what I’m always striving for. I’ve read so many books that feel flat that when I read a book that I feel a connection with the main character, the story or even the antagonist it brings the story alive and I feel like the story was written for me.

      Great comment Peter.

  3. Writing is trying putting down in words the mystery of mankind and life. Trying to hold moonbeams and starshine.
    Kids get that. Writing is mysterious. It’s real.
    Books are marks left as guideposts by those who have gone ahead.
    Lifelong Readers who are writers never lose the awe of the writing.
    Clear? Clearly muddy? (Ah, that’s part of it)

  4. Pingback: How ten years of separation made me a writer. | The Bleeding Inkwell

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