Writer Wednesday: Writing as a Natural High

Medieval illustration of a Christian scribe wr...

Junkie at Work

“Why do you write?” someone asked me.

I took two minutes to give them my pat answer, which has to do with books and stories having practically raised and educated me and, above all, comforted me, and how, as “we read to know we are not alone”, I write in order to reach out and let others know that they are not alone.

I think this is a good answer and it is most of the truth, too. It is a good motivation and something of a protection against getting sucked into oneself as a lonely artist.

However, I always feel slightly smug when I give that answer – yes, check me out, I’m “ethical” and I “care about others” in my writing. There is another side to the story.

Writing is a drug. I don’t know how, but the magic of creating and (especially) finishing something is a far-out natural high of an experience, a euphoric hit that pings the reward mechanism in the brain.

At the end of the day, I write for pavlovian reasons; I’m just a poor addict.

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5 Responses

  1. I can understand and relate to this post.

    Writers write for personal reasons, but it is that they have to. Writing is life, without it writers would lose their sanity if they didn’t.

    • Thank you for dropping by, Robert. Nice to see you here.

      I never tire of hearing people’s reasons and motivations for writing. There is often a common thread of “I can’t help it”, but also as many various answers as there are writers, I suppose.

  2. Your post reminds me of something I read that was written by the late painter, Philip Guston: Painting seems like some kind of peculiar miracle that I need to have again and again.

  3. […] Writer Wednesday: Writing as a Natural High (seymourjacklin.co.uk) […]

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