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August 24, 2017

“I Write to Find out What I Think.” ~ Stephen King

I started really writing about two years ago.

I’d written essays in high school, but I didn’t really understand what it meant to write until I was doing it for myself.

It started as a stream of consciousness style on pen and paper, and I eventually graduated to my computer screen. From there, I began to write full-blown articles on the realizations I came upon through my own self-inquiry—through investigating my nature and personality.

For a long time, I just asked questions to myself and attempted to answer them:

What is death? Why do we suffer? What is the nature of guilt?

I found this to be a fun and interesting exercise, but also discovered there was a certain intuitiveness that arose in answering these complex and difficult questions. It was surprising how natural this felt. I don’t make the claim that my responses were necessarily “correct,” but it was certainly the start to a much larger inquiry into the meaning of my own life.

I have always found writing to be therapeutic. There is something cathartic about writing how we feel and what we think. It is deeply healing to express ourselves in a sensible way. It doesn’t even need to be personal; the process itself is intimate and self-reflective.

Through my dealing with chronic illness over the past few years, writing has always been there for me. I don’t think I would still be alive if it wasn’t for my capacity to lose myself (or, rather, gain myself) in written contemplation and self-inquiry. It has given me hope—and that is something we really need if we are suffering. I get to step out from under the dark cloud of my condition for an hour or two a day, and perhaps find something in myself to express that is both meaningful and coherent. The thought alone brings me joy.

I think the purpose of writing is to be happier.

Many people write to profess the profound knowledge they have accumulated through their numerous PhD programs and scholarly accolades, and there is nothing wrong with that, but I do think writing is first and foremost a tool for the layperson. More people should be encouraged to write. Not necessarily to become published authors, but rather to explore the dimensions of their own psyche and garner a deeper sense of how they should live.

Stephen King said something like, “I write to find out what I think, not the other way around.” Every time I sit down to write, I learn a little more about myself, or perhaps learn about a different side of myself that I hadn’t really looked at before.

We don’t need to be an expert to have something valuable to say.

It is our inability to say it that makes us conflicted. Take the protests in Charlottesville, for example. This event is on every American’s radar right now. I see a bunch of people who are desperate for meaning in their lives, so much so that they’ll turn to the murkiest of ideas to assert their identity. If those people could articulate what their problem was and honestly express where they are coming from, they likely wouldn’t be waving swastika flags and wielding Tiki torches in hateful solidarity.

I like writing because it acts as a balance between self-reflection and self-expression. We are reflecting upon our most intimate thoughts and feelings, and at the same time, expressing a piece of ourselves. It’s beautiful and speaks to our essential nature as human beings to dwell in the balance between being and doing.

Inquiring is more important than acquiring. We need both self-knowledge and knowledge of the outside world. My point is: we don’t need to be an accredited scholar to write. We all have the inborn ability to inquire and reflect, and perhaps if we utilized this ability, then the world would be a much more loving place.

Writing is for everyone.

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Author: Samuel Kronen
Image: Brad Neatherly/Unsplash
Editor: Danielle Beutell
Copy Editor: Travis May
Social Editor: Catherine Monkman

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