Why We Write

“I write because it’s really hard to yell at everyone in person.” –Me, every time someone asks why I blog.

Six months ago I began writing at Teen Skepchick. Prior to that, I’d had an anonymous blog with a handful of readers, a fact I hadn’t even shared with my friends. Now, I write at five different locations (Hi there, Friendly Atheist, Heresy Club, Foundation Beyond Belief, and In Our Words!), and I tend to have at least three posts outlined at any given time.

The catch is, I really don’t enjoy writing.

Don’t get me wrong–I love being part of Teen Skepchick. (Mindy? Best Blog Mum in the history of blogging, bar none.) I think the results of writing are pretty neat–I was once recognized as “Kate from the Internet”, and it made my week. I like getting people enthusiastic about space or social justice or skepticism, and I like discovering brilliant or insightful commenters and writers.

But actually writing stuff for it’s own sake? Nope. The idea of writing a book is about as appealing to me as going skinny-dipping in the Arctic. If I didn’t have things I thought other people should hear about, if I didn’t think words on the internet were the best way to reach an audience, I’d stop writing and never look back. But I do, and so I write.

The skeptic-atheosphere is populated with people who write, people who do it for little to no pay, in what tiny amounts of free time they manage to find. There are grad students and geologists and math teachers and soldiers who do a mostly thankless task, all for the sake of getting news and opinions and causes out there. Why?

Being all skeptic-y, I asked them.

Reason One: Noise-making

“Because I want to be heard.”
Alex Gabriel, Heresy Club

 Because I think I have something really important to say.
Cassy Byrne, All My Stubborn Ounces

Because I have an enormous, fragile ego that must continually seek attention, much like a starving shark.*
Paul Fildago, Starving Shark at Center For Inquiry

Because I feel an obligation to contribute to the greater cultural megaphone that gives a much needed voice to the silenced and the oppressed.
Walker Bristol, Director of Communications at Foundation Beyond Belief

Reason Two: The Only Option

I write because I have no other choice. Because, to paraphrase Nathaniel Hawthorne in The House of Seven Gables, these things weigh upon me like a giant’s dead body; they must be liberated if I am to breathe. I am never without a way to write something down; my phone’s notepad feature currently has 59 inklings, waiting to become blog posts.
Dave Muscato, MU SASHA Blog

There are some thoughts that if I don’t share them, it eats away at me… Sometimes I feel like the child with their hand up who is about to explode because the teacher hasent called on them.
Ben Blanchard, The SweaterVest Chronicles

 I sometimes blog when something is eating at me and I need the words and feelings to get out of my head so I can move on. It’s an emotional release.
Bridget Gaudette,

I can’t imagine not doing it, it’s almost a compulsion.
Ashley F. Miller, Ashley F. Miller’s Blog

If you write, why? If you don’t, why no? Would you ever want to? What about?

* This is a joke. I just want to be clear. Sometimes the Internet is bad at telling jokes.

Featured image from here

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Kate Donovan

Kate Donovan

Kate is an outspoken atheist, feminist, demisexual, stigma-busting student in Chicago studying psychology and human development. She juggles occasionally, would knit you something warm if she knew you, and reads anything she can get her hands on. She was raised believing alternative medicine worked, and now spends her time making skeptical faces at it. You can find her on Twitter at @donovanable


  1. September 1, 2012 at 5:05 pm —

    I write for a combination of those people’s reasons. Sometimes I write because I have a random thought that I need to flesh out, sometimes it’s more like an interesting idea that I’d like to share. Overall, I write because it’s the only kind of activism I can really do right now.

    When I stop writing, it’s partially because it starts to seem pointless, what with the very low site traffic. Sometimes I just can’t make the ideas formulate properly and other times I just can’t make myself sit down and do it.

    But I try to be hopeful. =]

  2. September 4, 2012 at 7:57 am —

    Oh boy. How I would love to write. I have the thoughts and can certainly make the time but I have been stumped by the strangest of problems…What to call my blog or if I don’t have a blog where to write – how to apply etc etc.

    The sad thing is that my daughter writes for TS (Xe’nedra) and I realise I have had an impact on her ability to translate her thoughts into a sensible sentence on paper. How is it then that I am unable to scape together the courage to do so myself? Perhaps I feel it is too late, but then again this would be daft.

    I reiterate – Oh boy. How I would love to write.

  3. November 13, 2012 at 11:57 am —

    A combination of three things:

    – To keep myself on task in dealing with chronic pain/depression issues.
    – Because I think I have important things to say.
    – Because it is one of the most effective ways I know of defragmenting my brain drive.

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