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Why do you write…in six words or less?

I was driving up the mountain last night after a meeting in Denver and listening to NPR.  It was just about the time the BBC News was on.  I’m a sucker for BBC news.  I especially love the human interest stories. Something about the dry British wit of the reporters has me chuckling in my car every time.  Last night’s story was a take-off on a project that’s been happening for several year.  In the mid-2000s the online magazine Smith asked readers to write a memoir in six words or less.

Smith based this experiment on an old story. Supposedly Ernest Hemingway was asked to write a full story in six words or less.  His response:

For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.

Smith magazine took a page from Hemingway and has since published a book filled with six-word memoirs such as:

Fifteen years since last professional haircut – writer, Dave Eggers

Couldn’t cope so I wrote songs – singer, Aimee Mann

Well, I thought it was funny – comedian, Stephen Colbert

The British reporter last night put a slight spin on this concept.  Her challenge was to answer the question, “Why do you do what you do?”  This was from a professional perspective, so in essence, why do you participate in your chosen career.  Her point was that many of us fall into our professions without too much thought.  Maybe astrophysicist didn’t work out so you became a banker.  All the stripper poles were full, so you were forced to become an award-winning writer.

This challenge got me thinking.  Why do I write?  I took a stab at really analyzing how I became a writer.  Here are the best four:

Telling people’s stories well is rewarding

Followed husband’s job; writing travels well

Perfect descriptive phrase makes me giddy

Always wanted to. Finally realized how.

Now it’s your turn.  Leave a comment and tell me in six words or less “Why Do You Write?”  I’m sure we’ll have some great responses. 

17 Comments Post a comment
  1. If I didn’t I might explode.


    January 10, 2012
    • I know the feeling, LindseyJoy. If I take too much time off, I get fidgety. I need to get the words and images out. I was standing in the kitchen doing dishes yesterday and I had to stop mid-suds to jot down a scene that came to me. Happy writing!

      January 10, 2012
  2. Writing keeps me sane…sort of

    January 10, 2012
    • It also makes me a little insane. 🙂 Such a double-edged sword this vocation/avocation that we have!!

      January 10, 2012
  3. When I write, my dreams dance.

    January 10, 2012
  4. Writing is as necessary as breathing! 🙂

    January 10, 2012
    • So true. I’m excited to hear more about trilogy, Rachel. I’ll be checking in to see what those protags and antags are doing. Thanks for visiting.

      January 10, 2012
  5. Characters in my head say “write.”

    January 10, 2012
    • I love those days – especially when my characters tell me what to write. Other days they just stare at me expectantly as if to say, “Are you going to make us do something or not?”

      January 10, 2012
  6. Reading is fun, writing is better.

    January 10, 2012
    • So true – although I’ll admit sometimes nothing beats reading a great book.

      January 10, 2012
  7. Connie B. Dowell #

    I get the book I want!

    January 11, 2012
    • I like that, Connie. Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation. I’ve never thought about it that way – if you can’t find the book you want, write the book you want. Happy writing.

      January 11, 2012
  8. Because artists need champions.

    January 16, 2012
  9. Brain can’t contain all the stories.

    Or: Everyone has a story to tell.

    I like the one about writing traveling well, too. That’s my story.

    Thanks for the post!

    January 17, 2012
  10. Lonely child; imaginary friends never left.

    January 19, 2012
    • Thanks for stopping by, Jonny. My imaginary friend was a 13-year old trucker named, Tracker. He didn’t stick around more than a couple of years, but now I feel like all of my characters fill that void left by Tracker. Thanks for sharing. Great insight.

      January 19, 2012

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