Why do we write? Tweet? Blog?

Posted on October 29th, 2013

Anyone who blogs, or finds themselves really quite glued to their social media feed, asks this of themselves intermittently. I do. I have my answer now. I blog because I need to. It’s my dharma.

Image by Arno Rafael Minkkinen

Image by Arno Rafael Minkkinen

The way I experience things is to pull apart the elements, to break them down, to cluster and to organise and to entertain meta theories and note interesting patterns of behaviour or phenomena. It’s a sport for me. Some people do cryptic crosswords. I spot patterns in life.

I spot that middle-aged Jewish men like to power walk in pairs.

That people born and raised in Sydney often have raspy voices.

That our idiosyncrasies spawn from a need to escape loneliness.

That Liberal MPs are all starting to speak in the same stilted, hesitating, lip-licking way as Tony Abbott.

Then I have to record them. I’m reminded of something Arthur Miller wrote. Scrap that. Sarah, get real!? I never remember quotes. Rather, this quote popped up somewhere, I saved it, and I found it again just now:

“The very impulse to write springs from an inner chaos crying for order – for meaning.”

Writers, bloggers, we all have the need to spot patterns. I think we tend towards the obsessive end of the behavioural spectrum, with an impulse to create patterns and order.

Patterns don’t exist until they’ve been identified, delineated, connected, recorded, shared. Things aren’t really interesting until the pattern has been picked, connected, shared. A-ha! moments, great gags, the most insightful quotes – they’re all patterns that have been collated for us and that we delight in having presented to us. “Oh, yes! I’ve spotted that, too!”.

I told a group of young journalists a while back that a good newspaper or magazine columnist is able to point out what their readers think they’ve been thinking all along, but couldn’t put into words, so that they can stab at the paper and cry out on a Saturday morning, “There, that’s exactly what I’ve been thinking”. You say it for them. And hopefully more eloquently.

I worry about why I write sometimes. Whether it’s egotistical. If it’s money-grabbing, audience-building. Really, at it’s heart, is a need to express things in the hope that others also go, “There, that’s exactly what I’ve been thinking”.

I’m hoping this post is just that…yes…?

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  • Ross H

    Good post Sarah. I have asked myself much the same question numerous times. Why do I blog, journal, write stories and articles. I am still not sure of the underlying impulse but I certainly do get a greater sense of things, if not necessarily patterns then definitely a greater awareness of things. The process helps break things down into bits, more easily understood chunks. And if I am writing on a nice quality piece of paper with a pen that flows nicely (my journals mainly written with a specific fountain pen) it produces a sense of pleasure, relaxation. And at the end of it all, whether it be blogs, journals, more formal prose or even stand up comedy, it is ultimately what I think about things.


  • Anthony

    To write or not to write? I think therefore I am? I believe everything begins as a question. Einstein, famously said about his intelligence, it is nothing special, I just have a child like fascination. I really like the idea of asking questions of ourselves and others, and I believe that is one of the reasons that makes us special.


  • amy


    you know…regardless of the WHY, i am certainly, most very appreciative that you DO. i thank you, and FYI let me assure you, yes, you generate a lot of “there, that’s exactly what i’ve been thinking…” many thanks sarah wilson.


  • Ian

    Sarah, I love what you told the budding journos, I do that all the time on a weekend.

    Well I’m sure glad you write because you’re damn good at it. I wonder if it’s connected to your passion for chatting with strangers? You’re able to express what many of us can’t do very well. It never ceases to amaze me how many times commenters on your blog affirm your post by writing “There, that’s exactly what I’ve been thinking”

    Oops, you’ve just said that. Twice.



  • http://www.chaiacupoflife.com Amelia @ chai a cup of life

    Nice post Sarah. I am always writing, whether it’s on the blog, volunteering for local neighbourhood magazine or in a journal. But I have to agree, whatever I write online (blog) I do worry about how it will be perceived by others.


  • Meg

    Sarah on so many occasions from Sunday life to now have I read something written by you and go “There, that’s exactly what I’ve been thinking”….


  • http://www.modalcorpus.blogspot.com natalie

    Absolutely spot on! This post has given me the nudge I needed to unblock the writers block I’ve been suffering from since completing my thesis. Thank you!


  • http://denisemooney.com.au Denise

    I love this post Sarah. You nailed it. We write to connect with others and hope that our thoughts and ideas resonate. So true, but I’d never heard it put so well, thank you!


  • http://diaryofaladybird.blogspot.com Anna

    Lovely post Sarah, and something I have been giving a lotbof thought to after returning to blogging after a long hiatus! Blogging helps me feel connected; it makes me feel part of something!


  • http://www.mikewilde.com mw

    Great image .. Nice read too !


  • Emma

    I always thought I was just more tired than everyone else, thank you for making me realise that even being medicated, my thyroid symptoms are unique, and there are ways of improving it.

    Thanks for sharing!


  • http://www.anotherbeautifulmorning.wordpress.com Renee

    Beautiful words Lucy!


  • http://www.foodstyle.net.au Phoebe

    Ha! You’ve got me on two things.

    First, I was just having that thought about patterns, and then I found it articulated here! So, yes, you must be a good journalist :)

    Secondly, I write a blog about food and I find that without planning it, every post I’ve written centres around a theme or pattern I’ve noticed. Drinking tea: a pattern. Real butter: a pattern.

    Love it! :)


  • http://www.tosoglobal.com Michelle Waite



  • Neiry

    “ I also told you we had to write without trying to fix, not necessarily fast, no, but according to ourselves and to the moment we’re living, us, during that moment, to throw our writing out, almost abuse it, yes, abuse it, leave it with all its useless mass, all of it, leave it with all the rest, do not discard anything, nor its slowness nor its swiftness, leave everything in its state of apparition.”

    -Marguerite Duras



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