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I think the (ongoing?) writing of my memoir made it clear that I am writing for who I *was* (and for other people like that young, frightened me). I’m sending up a flare, saying I’ve made it to places younger me couldn’t have even imagined and, more importantly, that younger me will be safe, whole, and loved with current me.

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I'm with you Brian. I write about "who" I was, and my journey to where I am now. I've written half a book about my journey (firstly to heal myself) but as I did so found I had an deep desire and urge to share, in intention that my journey would help others too, in a similar situation. I also write deep dives into subjects I'm passionate and curious to understand them more (writing is thinking)

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It's awesome to meet another traveler!

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Because the lives of girls and women are still mostly unknown, and because reading essays, memoirs and fiction by women made me aware of this fact, and have given me strength to help change it.

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Jun 5, 2023Liked by Jami Attenberg

i write for most of the same reasons you list (except so far not really getting paid, lol)—but mainly because it's the only way to not only process my shit but the world's. it's the way i process moral and social questions, or indulge in my curiosities, by imagining how my characters might respond in any given circumstance. in a way, it's an extension of how much i loved playing with dolls as a kid. i didn't just dress them up (or undress them, cut off their hair, paint on new faces), i put them in SITUATIONS. it's imagination and problem-solving, self-entertainment and exorcism.

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I love the idea of writing as exorcism, and this whole comment. I too feel like I don't know how I think/feel about a thing, especially politically + socially, until I write it down! Reminds me of an essay I read a while ago, I forget by whom or where I found it (maybe a volume of best american?), that talked about how the word "essay" means "an attempt or effort"--to understand the world, to work through stuff.

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I write because without putting pen to paper, life feels like an illusion. There is no meaning. I'm only floating in space, feeling for a mere moment. But when I write, it sticks with me for longer— not just the moment but who I was in that moment. When I write, I feel like I'm living. I go mad if I don't unravel the mystery in my heart and head in the form of words. Writing is like breathing to me.

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I write to make sense of what happens.

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I'm a writer because I can't exist without writing. It's the way I best express myself. It's a chance to feel seen and understood, when I decide to share something I write. It also provides an opportunity for someone else to feel seen or feel an emotion because of what I've written, which is a magical experience.

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I write to re-live and make sense of moments in my life, and to imagine alternate possibilities, alternate characters, and alternate futures. And to make myself laugh. And hopefully, to make others laugh, and to connect with them, across time and space and beyond our granular lived contexts. It's nice to remember the whys! Looking forward to #1000words of summer this time around-- I REALLY need it. Feeling this community around me is just so comforting!

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Jun 5, 2023Liked by Jami Attenberg

I resonate with this so much: "It never feels like anything important is real to me unless I’ve written it down in some way." I wrote this post a few years ago and I still stand by it: https://accidentallight.substack.com/p/some-thoughts-on-writing.

Also, as I now work as a writer for a nonprofit, I am more dedicated to the idea that, as you put it, "I write because it is the thing I have to offer, the sharpest skill I have." It feels like a duty to use that skill to amplify the voices/work of others who are themselves making change on the ground!

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Yes to helping with anxiety for sure! I write because even when it’s hard it makes me feel good. I write because I want to share how I view the world with others.

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I’m a writer because I believe in the power of language to shape the world. I write because it is one of the forms of self expression that sets me free. I write to be in communication with others, both those living, those no longer living, and future souls yet to live. I write because it is a form of love and it allows me to share my love with being alive to this world, despite its difficulties and challenges.

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I write to find out: what I think, what I know, what matters.

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When I write, a space comes into being for me-- a sanctuary space to explore ideas, reverence them, and give them love. Right now I’m in love with the idea of microseasons, 72 tiny 5-day long seasons that make up a year. It’s an idea from ancient China and Japan that still feels so useful and beautiful today. Thank you for sharing your enthusiasm. I’m looking forward to seeing what ripples out from everyone’s time of shared intensity and devotion.

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I write because seeing the ink flow onto the page makes the words real (and I deeply resonate with what you’ve written about this), because I’ve said since I was a little girl that one day I would write a book, and because it’s FUN!

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Jun 5, 2023Liked by Jami Attenberg

I write to think about the people and places I love, the sadness and happiness of my world. I write to put down what I want to remember, real moments and real feelings that are long gone but also lodged inside me.

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I write for many of the reasons you articulated so well. I write to be seen and understood. I write to find meaning in the ideas and events of my life and in the world. I write to understand things better. I write to connect with other people, to feel less alone and to make others feel seen as well. I write because I am driven to be creative and the more I write the more ideas I have. I write because it satisfies a deep need to capture a truth or a feeling or a moment.

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"I write because it is the thing I have to offer, the sharpest skill I have. I write to make people—and myself—feel less alone. I write because I want to communicate messages with the world. I write because I want to exercise my freedom of speech." This pretty much sums me up as well. I am an extremely lonely person and I know there are a handful of people on Substack who read me. More than a handful. And that keeps me going. I live for comments but I don't always get them. But that feeling of connectedness (not quite community because my group is so small) is what my writing provides. I am also with you on the mental health aspect as well.

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