Why We Do It

The current Poets & Writers issue is all about inspiration. My favorite article, “On Not Writing” by Gabriel Cohen, answers some questions about why we write.

He’s funny too. Makes good points, like “The world doesn’t need us to be writers, and it doesn’t fall apart if we stop.” So yeah, we don’t write to keep the world turning.

We write, Cohen says, and I believe him, I think this is just genius, because “A huge part of writing is rewriting, and you can’t push yourself to keep doing that unless you’re the kind of person who is truly bothered by ungainly combinations of words.”

Never heard it put exactly that way before, but it’s true. All those love notes I’ve been writing to the WIP? They all have to do with finessing the first three chapters. I am just obsessed with getting the words (and the plot) right.

To help move myself along with the project, I bought a new notebook yesterday. I am going to be pushing ahead very soon from just meandering morning pages to chapter four and five and six.


  1. That is an interesting concept. Perhaps since I don’t write as a primary vocation, I haven’t had the occasion (probably since college) to perform massive re-writes. The idea of writing a novel or full length work is daunting and it is probably exactly as stated above. If the words don’t work, it’s not right and so on. At this point, I write to practice and bring some perspective for myself. Clearly I’m being selfish but it works for the moment! Thanks for sharing the link as well.


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