why i write

Perhaps it's ironic, perhaps it's appropriate, or perhaps it’s somewhere in between, but I'm writing this on a night when my motivation to write is low. And yet, here I am, doing the one thing that somehow or other I always come back to. 

At the elementary school I went to from 5 to 11, you could "publish" a story you wrote  — meaning a nice volunteer parent would print, cut, and roughly bind the pages. I had stacks of these, including my very first masterpiece "The Magical Bug" (written at the tender age of 6). When I was in high school, I documented my angst through horrifically embarrassing journals and iterations of teenage romance only found on TV. When I was in college and my mom was packing up my childhood room to move, she texted me that she was at her wit's end because of all the half-finished and barely-started notebooks she'd found. Throughout and since college, I've completed and abandoned countless projects, one of which I have come back to once again hoping to finally finish writing my first novel. (I still often help edit my friends' work and enjoy doing so; a friend actually reached out today for eyes on his law school personal statement).

All of this to say, I have always written. 

Since I was a child, I have always wanted to be a writer. Over the past year, I have taken to calling myself one, rather than saying I want to be one, even if the "validation" comes in the form of this self-published blog. 

Even if my words never travel farther than the half-full journals I still scribble in or the blogs I've written over the years or the novel that never sees the light of day, I know I will continue to write. 

It would be remiss to say I write only for myself. What I write, whether fiction or nonfiction — and recently I've had quite the proclivity for the latter — does originate from the desire to tell a story I am interested in, it also comes from a place of wanting to connect. Once I've written my way through that catalyst to something coherent, I have the desire to share it. Maybe someday in someway my words will resonate with another in the same way so many novels, poems, and personal essays have impacted me. And to me, that is worth something. There is something so specific about feeling a kinship with someone you’ve never met; it is disorienting as much as it is hopeful to know that someone else gets it, whatever it is. 

The last few months have been particularly difficult, and throughout it all I’ve written. I’ve taken to carrying a notebook around that I can quickly jot thoughts down into. And writing has helped, even if much of it seems straightforward, even if some of it goes in circles, and even if most of it will never be read by another person.

I write because I do. Because it helps me make some sense of how I feel in a way that nothing else has. 

Whether it’s writing my way through a break up with blog posts and letters I never intend to send; or, imagining a world in which mermaids exist; or, exploring what identity looks like during transformative periods; or considering prevalent cultural trends in an attempt at an essay; or, capturing in 3,000 words how heartbreak can be a slow pain rather than a dramatic end; or, finally, embracing that fleeting feeling of a summer friendship through another short story — through all of this, I will continue to write. 

And maybe one day, my words will mean something to someone other than me. 

Amber Hunter