15 More Reasons Writing Is Important

15 (More) Reasons Writing Is Important–in Your Own Words

15 More Reasons Writing Is ImportantIs writing important? I posed that question two weeks ago in the post “5 Reasons Writing Is Important to the World.” Obviously, the conclusion I came to (after some sincere soul-searching) was that yes, writing and storytelling is a crucial part of building a better world and encouraging one another in our own quests for Truth. But I wasn’t the only one who came to that conclusion.

So did you guys.

Your response to that post was overwhelming. Personal story after personal story. Affirmation after affirmation. I was uplifted, encouraged, and empowered by the resonant “YES!” of your responses on the blog, Facebook, Twitter, and in emails. Today, I want to return to this important subject and share just a few of your great responses, so you can all find inspiration in them.

1. Writing Is Important Because… Life Is Meaningful

1Lauren

Thank you for this post!! It’s such an encouraging confirmation of what I’ve hardly dared hope by someone outside my own mind. I think as human beings, we need to know that our lives are intrinsically meaningful, and story has a beautifully intentional way of reflecting that meaning and purpose, even as it echoes the grander story of our lives at large.

2. Writing Is Important Because… Stories Tell Truths

Kate Flournoy on why writing is important

YES. That’s all I can say. YES. Beautifully said, Katie. This is why I write—besides the wonder itching inside me to be expressed, the knowledge that I have the power to inspire others and satisfy a hunger screaming to be satisfied keeps me going.

Story is truth. Truth is the end of the road for every human being, and so it’s always beautiful—never unneeded, never empty. Truth’s funny that way, you know?

3. Writing Is Important Because… Language Has Many Positive Uses

Sophie on why writing is important

4. Writing Is Important Because… Children Need Heroes

Benjamin Thomas on why writing is important

We read to our children 15 minutes every night before bed. I’ve heard that is one of the best things you can do with your child for development. Characters are great but parents also need to be their “protagonist.” Children imitate what they see in stories and those who are close to them. So when I woke up this morning I was pleased to see a book in my son’s hand. He was sitting peacefully on the couch skimming the pages of the book we read the night before. My other son took two books to daycare with him. One of them being 20,000 Leagues in the Sea…. He’s only 7.

5. Writing Is Important Because… It Reminds Us What’s Important

Evelyn on why writing is important

I am so glad you wrote this. This message is more important than ever. The world tells us to pay attention to the workings of power, as if the latest political developments were the most important things happening. But those things matter only because they affect real people—our little lives are so much bigger than we even know, and stories put us in touch with that. We were made for eternity, and the more confusing things get in the world, the more power struggles dominate our newsfeeds, the more we need to be reminded of what is really significant.

6. Writing Is Important Because… We Need a Sense of Something Greater

Erica on why writing is important

7. Writing Is Important Because… Writing Presents the Life Paradigm

Charissa on why writing is important

As I’ve listened to your series on character arcs over the past week or so, I’ve been really struck by how much story is about Truth vs. Lie. A bit of light bulb for me! That whole realization just clicks so organically (to mix my metaphors) into how I see so many of the issues in life and in the wider world. Writing is a powerful thing.

8. Writing Is Important Because… Quality Craftsmanship Glorifies God

Jamie on why writing is important

Sure, some people won’t get much out of any given story other than the story being good or bad or “meh.” But there’s a scene in the Book of Exodus where certain artisans are summoned to build the tabernacle. They’re chosen for the fineness of their craftsmanship, the beauty of their work directed to crafting items for the house of God. It’s important to me to be the equivalent of those artisans as a storyteller, where I wrought works in ink and pixels the quality of what they wrought in gold, silver, or bronze. That is why I come here.

9. Writing Is Important Because… Truth Is Worth Revealing

10. Writing Is Important Because… the Subtlety of Story Is Powerful

Andrew on why writing is important

Writing gives us the opportunity to say things that matter to us, and to dress them in allegorical fables that entertain as they argue a point. And the story form allows us a huge degree of subtlety in making that argument. Examples that the reader feels as though they are real. The ability to draw real life experience and the hopes and dreams and lives of real people into a fantasy. If we do it well enough.

11. Writing Is Important Because… It Reveals Ourselves

8Jarm

Yes! Our writing DOES matter. It reflects our inner being, our moral values, and, hopefully, our desire to inspire and encourage others for the good. Keep up the good work!

12. Writing Is Important Because… It Moves the World

Kim on why writing is important

13. Writing Is Important Because… Stories Are Arguments

Mason on why writing is important

It wasn’t until I saw your post that I really considered this, but I have come to the conclusion that storytelling is important. But if it is, we certainly can’t stop there.

Stories give us truths because they are arguments. There are no bad truths, but there are certainly ineffective arguments.

So how do you make an effective argument in a storytelling medium? I think the answer lies in story theory and general rhetoric, along with critical analysis of other such arguments.

14. Writing Is Important Because… It Is a Reflection of Our World

Betsey on why writing is important

15. Writing Is Important Because… Sometimes It Saves Us

9Ingrid

No matter if I ever do or don’t become an established author, I have to believe that there will always be souls out there in need of mental sanctuary or a hero among the pages of a book. Someone with no other way to discover what hope is, compassion, endurance of spirit, faith in something. No other way of finding inspiration in the face of all adversity to keep hanging on, knowing goodness, integrity, other virtues to be true because they read about it.

Yeah, yeah…I hear the noises about not believing everything you read. But tell that to someone with nothing else to draw strength from yet enough smarts to have a half decent grasp on what’s realistic, what’s not, and a Public Library card in their hand. The ones that derive their own courage from J.R.R. Tolkien or dream of some place beyond the slums because they read Ray Bradbury.

That persistence of wonder some of us experience when leaving the movies, read that last page and close the book… this is what matters though. Even if the rest of this world denies the significance of writing, books, movies, spinning yarns… as you said in this excellent post, keep fighting the good fight. Somebody has to. I’d like to think I am.

Not every story is perfect. Not every story is good. Not every story uplifts, clarifies, or empowers. But the good stories do. And when they do, they move the world. That’s what I want to write. How about you?

Wordplayers, tell me your opinion! How have stories impacted your life—as both a child and an adult—for good? Tell me in the comments!

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the IPPY and NIEA Award-winning and internationally published author of the Amazon bestsellers Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel. She writes historical and speculative fiction from her home in western Nebraska and mentors authors on her award-winning website.

Comments

  1. *Writes even harder*

  2. Kate Flournoy says:

    *sob* I think I need a tissue. Please tell me I’m not the only one getting emotional over this.

  3. What a cool post! I like it.

    Author Linda Kane asked me who has influenced my writing the most. Part of my answer is that we’re a composition of influences. They help shape who we become and fuel the reasons behind our actions or inaction.

    As a child: Influenced more by visual storytelling as well as marvel comics. That probably sparked my imagination more than anything. Not just the stories but the art potrayed through each character was awesome! That was like being hit with a inspiration grenade as a child. Other authors such as Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss and the Sunday comics in the newspaper. Countless cartoons, Batman, GI Joe, X-Men, Thundarr, Transformers, Go-bots, etc.

    As an adult: Over the last two years reading stories has had a huge impact on me. The last 6 1/2 years of my life have been the hardest yet; but being in someone else’s skin as they overcome obstacles has been more than therapeutic. Stories have replaced my go to medium recently and hasn’t dissapointed one bit. As I seek to escape my own life for a moment; I see what they see, feel what they feel, hope and fear as they do. This simple escapism amounts to what we need in reality, caring for other people. Having that magical sense of empathy for another human being is what we’re all seeking. A solid connection with those around us. Ironically it appears as an escape from those around us, but when we tap into a good book it’s just the opposite. We’re still seeking a connection with someone, who in turn, will help us empathize and understand those around us.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      Yes, I always have a hard time with that question: Who influenced you? Uh, everything? :p

  4. Felicity S. says:

    My dad has always loved Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and the Silmarilion. He read it to us at least three times before I was twelve. I like it–it’s a good story about the fight between good and evil, and hoping beyond hope–but I didn’t understand his love for it until he told me that, for him, # 15 was a real thing. He had only a few heroes when he was growing up. He regarded most of them as a little inspiring, but a lot crazy. When he read Lord of the Rings, though, the story was a confirmation of all the good he’d hoped for. It was out there. We just have to fight for it.

    I am eternally grateful to Tolkien for that. I think my life would have been very different without him and his epic story. I doubt I’d have existed at all. So keep writing, people. 🙂

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      Tolkien has been such a huge influence on so many people. There’s a reason an entire genre was basically inspired by him!

  5. Sean Ryan says:

    Writing is important because it teaches us how to think, and important new ways of seeing the real world. Writers like Margaret Weis wrote about dragons and magic, but more importantly about people and morality. From her and Tolkien I learned how to always place myself in another person’s shoes and tolerate disagreement without abandoning my own morality. Unless a person can do this, he or she is hobbled in his ability to understand much more serious topics: politics, psychology, philosophy, economics, or even competing viewpoints within science and engineering.
    Learning how to see reality from different perspectives is priceless, and there is no better place to learn it than within speculative fiction, where the stakes are low enough to exclude one’s ego and high enough to engulf one completely.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      I heard a really good perspective on fantasy here recently and why it’s important. Basically, because fantasy is so obviously fictional, so obviously allegorical (even of just prosaic human struggles, such G.R.R. Martin’s power struggles), it becomes an even more subtle and even more powerful way to share deep-seated human truths.

  6. Oh, wow! I am like a giddy schoolgirl!

    This was a wonderful article, and I really enjoyed everyone’s comments. What a great conversation all around!

  7. Stories are important because they are the closest we can get to seeing the world through someone else’s eyes, or, as Atticus Finch so wonderfully put it, “getting inside their skin.” I can’t visit every part of the world. I can’t give away all of my possessions to learn what poverty is like. I can’t pretend to understand what it’s like to live with mental illness. But through a book, I can experience all of these things. Stories awaken compassion and deepen understanding.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      That’s exactly what I’ve always felt. How horrible to only be able to live one life? Stories give us life times infinity.

  8. Meg Brummer says:

    This is beautiful. I think this is why we writers become writers in the first place – so many of us read a story as a child and find ourselves deeply and profoundly changed for life. We spend the rest of our lives trying to recreate that experience for ourselves and for others.

    It’s why Scripture came in written form. It’s why children’s stories are often the most powerful and most enduring of our lives. It’s why entire cultures are shaped and defined by their legends, myths, poems, and fairy tales.

    Not only does writing just matter, it is of primary importance to our humanity!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      I agree. As I was walking through Walmart this morning, I noticed a poster for the Supergirl TV show and was thinking about why someone might want to put that on their wall: because the story mattered, it made them feel a certain way, and they want to carry that with them beyond the story itself. That’s certainly a major reason why I write.

  9. I LOVE this, K.M! May I add my two cents? 🙂 I think that writing is important because it is one of the best ways ever to leave behind a legacy for those you love and for those you may never meet. And as I heard it put once, if you are called to write, then for you, to write is an act of obedience to God. To be able to create along with Him, even is some small way, is a privilege.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      It is a privilege, most definitely. I love the idea that my niece and nephew and even their children may someday read what I’ve written and be inspired by it, in however small a way.

  10. ” … Not every story is good. Not every story uplifts, clarifies or empowers. But the good stories do. And when they do, they move the world …”
    And this is why we write, why we keep writing … to MOVE the world.
    Betsey Jane nailed it with her recount of our writing being a reflection of the world the writer lives in or surrounds him/her with, or, hope to see.
    And you’re right, Katie, when you stated in the previous post–the 5 reasons why we write–that it’s intimidating when we go deep, open up, are honest, when we share and expose our deepest vulnerability.
    I believe that is when we will do our best writing as well.
    We’ve all heard how Ernest Hemingway felt about the writing craft: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
    And that is why we write–to bleed onto the pages. To bleed life, and hope, and laughter, and indignation, and revelation, and wonderment onto the pages …
    Thanks, Katie!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      I think this “bleeding” makes us better people too. It teaches us vulnerability and courage–and those are two of the most important factors in creating strong relationships in real life as well.

  11. There’s a wonderful quote about stories from a book called ‘Crow and Weasel’ by Barry López that I have held close to my heart as a personal truth for years:

    “Remember on this one thing,” said Badger. “The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put these stories in each other’s memories. This is how people care for themselves.”

  12. Henrietta says:

    The symbolism is what I experience. There seems to be the same lessons we all learn as humans and hearing other’s experience with that particular lesson can be uplifting or just validating. Humans we need validation and stories can give us that. But mostly for me I can say when I read the book Women Who Run With The Wolves as a 20 something year old I was so deeply satisfied in a yummy sort of way. I felt as if I had eaten the creamiest tastiest ice cream I had ever experienced. I remember sighing as if Id finished the bowl and rubbed my tummy. It tickles me now to remember it. I get so excited from stories writing them reading them they just make me happy or sad when I want to read something deep. Yeah all that!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      It’s funny (in the best sort of way) how good reading experiences are often some of our most vivid memories–even more vivid, sometimes, than things that have happened in real life.

  13. Nice job! More us, I’d say. 😉

    We’ll write your piece for you any time you want. Just let us know. No biggie. “7 Ways to Use Your Protagonist’s Lie To Write Sequels – As Shown In the Marvel Movie ANT MAN”?…that would not be a good one. but I’m sure there is another one we could contribute on.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      Oh, goodie. I can see I’m going to have a lot of spare time on my hands in the future. 😉

  14. I feel a certain sense of community reading the words of all these writers. It reminds me that there are like minds out there, that I have a tribe–so to speak. We are all different. We are all moved by different experiences, driven by different muses or demons but on a basic level we are the same. We all write because we must.

    As a reader, I have been moved and changed by many stories. I think much of who I am has been shaped by stories that I’ve read. Like Henrietta, I remember reading Women Who Run With the Wolves and being overcome by an indescribable feeling. That one book helped me to see the world in a whole new light.

    As always, I also think about the works of Ray Bradbury, how his stories inspired me to write, how they delighted and mystified me both a child and adult. What I learned from his stories can hardly be put into words, as unforgettable as the lessons learned were. His works are the measuring stick by which I evaluate me meager works. Without Ray Bradbury’s writing, I often wonder where I would be both as a writer and a person.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      Were I do another follow-up post with more responses, I’d definitely want to include this one! I have been incredibly encouraged by the discussion engendered by these posts as well. We’re not alone. We’re all struggling for the same thing here.

  15. Katie,

    This was a much-needed post-script to the original post about why our words are so important, and why we must write them down. If not for our personal growth, then for others.

    As for who was instrumental in inspiring me to write, I can think of a few key people along the way, but the first inkling has to be my mom and my grandpa.

    When I was little, my mom would read the same book to me over and over at my delighted request. I can remember the Happy Ending book series, and the book series by John S. Patience, and many, many picture books. Sometimes, with the picture books, I would make up stories or Mom would. There was one picture board book of an elephant who liked to play in the water, and there’s one page where he had stuck BOTH feet in the pail of water! After all these years, that’s still in my memory.

    As I started to attend middle school, my grandpa would pick me and my siblings up from school and drive us home. Along the way, he would tell us story after story in a story series about a princess and her family with the oldest boy, Mikey, always getting into lots of trouble (one time, he drove his little motorcycle down the castle hall and upset the place, and another time, he rode his pony into the dining room); or about the Mouse family who lived in the farmhouse basement; or the Squirrel family who lived in the big tree down the road, and on and on these stories went. My siblings and I got to contribute to these stories (hence, the adventures of Mikey!). It wasn’t until I was grown that I learned Grandpa would go to bed at night, thinking about what he would say to us the next day, and, if he didn’t have a plan, he’d ask us kids to fill in the blanks! 🙂

    Such wonderful times. My grandpa is in heaven now, but I always attribute my love of writing and storytelling back to him. Along with my mother, he encouraged me to write.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      This is great! Love the anecdote about your grandpa’s stories. That’s the best kind of Write Your Own Adventure Story!

  16. Never mind on giving up…seriously, I see these post just when I’m wondering why I even write!! I still don’t have it all figured out the reason I write, but some way or another I’m always pulled back to my documents. One pointer in this post was Writing Is Important Because… It Reveals Ourselves. A lot of my stories are to bring out my feelings into fictional ways and help me sort out my own self in the form of a story (of course, the book must still be unique ;))

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      Writing is tremendously cathartic. It’s a great way to work through our own questions and issues. Sometimes I’m shocked by how my stories end up teaching me things I didn’t even know I needed to be learning.

  17. Am I the only one who scrolled through first to see whose posts got featured before reading them?
    It was good to see Benjamin’s, and his words were awesome too. So were every other posts featured. This blogpost has fifteen pearls of wisdom in it. 😀

  18. Henrietta says:

    Tonya Moore wow you just turned me on to this Bradbury guy see I’ve been too busy trying to survive instead of having time to read for me this board keeps me focused on my passion too. So yes it is a tribe and people who understand when you love love love stories and books. Since I found KM Weiland I’ve been telling everyone about her. Because the structure is the part a lot of creative people are lacking in and if you get that down it is the greatest tool a writer has. Before she shared Shrivener I made a template of all her percents in Word with the side panel. I’d share it here if it let me attach but it doesn’t 🙁 .
    I love hearing everyone’s input because it feeds my creativity and finding tools both practical and inspiring. Like Line by Line and I discovered the book Naked, Drunk & Writing through KM Weiland’s boards through one of her examples that led to this book. It’s about shedding your inhibitions and then that writer mentioned the book and so she has become another one I now love. Of course KMW is the anchor I have found myself always going back to no matter where her suggestions lead me. I need that practical advice sooo much and she keeps me grounded she is so good at explaining but not in a boring way she draws you in. Never in a million years did I think her book on structure would have found me here. Its like that story in the bible about those who share their talents and the one who buried his and how they increased for sharing. Its just another life lesson that is confirmed to be true in reading KMW. Thanks KMW and Tonya Moore for helping me to get ready to write today 🙂

  19. Henrietta says:

    oh yeah he is the author of Fahrenheit 451 with Tim Robbins lol

  20. Writing is a psychological exercise for me– it causes me to expand my limits, exposes me to pain and injury so that I can grow stronger. People have often compared reading fiction, especially fantasy, to a form of escape. I don’t buy into that view one bit. When I hear the word “escape” when it doesn’t involve reading fiction, most of the time it’s mentioned in the context of drugs, pornography, alcohol, or other addictions, where a person is trying to “escape” the pain of their reality. Rather than seek out healthy, positive, proactive ways of dealing with their stress, they turn to destructive habits, making their situation worse as time goes by. The problems they want to “escape” never disappear, hence they are still trapped in those same problems, and now even more problems. So it’s insulting to me for my hobby, my craft, to be considered an “escape”.

    I don’t read books to escape the realities of the world, but instead to become better grounded in reality. Reading doesn’t allow me to escape, it allows me to seek and find solutions. I don’t write fiction to offer people an escape, my fiction is to give people a new perspective on the world, a new learning experience, in the same way that reading fiction (and especially fantasy) has always done for me.

    Of course, this doesn’t apply only to fiction, but to non-fiction as well. However, fiction has a beautiful, poetic way of touching your soul and showing you how the world looks now by showing you what the world *could* look like instead. Just as the Bible relied heavily upon imagery– sometimes bizarre, other-worldly imagery– to express the truth in ways to help people better understand, I rely on the strange, other-worldly imagery of fantasy to express the truth I believe in. When God created the world, He created a work of art, but it wasn’t enough for Him to simply make it beautiful– He wanted to make it practical. That’s why I am so invested in my own art forms: I want to create things that are beautiful, but beauty alone isn’t enough for me– I want to make it practical.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      I believe there certainly is an *aspect* of fiction that includes escapism, but the best fiction is about growth and exploration, which is just the opposite of mind-numbing escapism. In “escaping” to other worlds, we are really expanding our understanding and appreciation of this one, hopefully in a way that allows us to live better lives within it.

      • I’ve found that reading fantasy–especially The Lord of the Rings–often has a bracing effect that that makes it easier to face reality.

        I’m a bit amused by people who call such stories escapist. If they were suddenly transported to a fantasy world, they’d likely want to escape it. There are plenty of things in these stories that we’d never want to encounter in real life.

        • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

          Hah! Totally. People ask me what story world I’d like to visit, and all I can think about is the suffering all the characters undergo. “Uh, none of them?” :p

          • Same here. There really aren’t any fictional worlds that are any safer than here. I’m tempted to say “Minecraft”… until I remember any old who can just waltz up to my house and punch my walls down, so… 😛

  21. Henrietta says:

    I love it! Perfect yes yes yes!

  22. What a wonderful discussion! I love this! Reading and writing have always been important to me and I think reading and writing are the best ways for us to learn, grow and evolve as human beings. I’m teaching my daughter to love books and thankfully she is just like me in that regard! I wish more people were interested in reading these days. Too many people off playing Pokeman instead…

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      Yay! So great to hear that you’re passing the love of stories onto your daughter. The world needs more parents like you. 🙂

    • Personally, I’m virtually addicted to reading–it’s hard to imagine life without it. I can’t relate to people who don’t read.

      • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

        Yes. I totally agree with this. Non-readers–or even more so, people who just aren’t interested in stories–boggle my brain.

  23. Henrietta says:

    It’s true even though everyone wants to take their talent and make a living, if you write for the reader you don’t have the passion. I read so many writing books I don’t remember where I just heard this from but when you want to write something at least make sure you choose a story that will change you. It made me put in my passion about an issue that I have been dealing with my entire life. When he said that it kind of bothered me because I originally had a different direction in mind but as we all know it is exposing ourselves in our story that is required for “the magic” to come through. Then comes the reward that cathartic moment….and then you have to share your story…..eek and everyone can see inside you….LOL But then we just say oh it is fiction….really it is!

  24. I got so giddy after seeing this post!!! It made my whole day 😀 It just made me wish I included my last name! (Harris)
    I love that there has been so much positive feedback to these two posts. The response I’ve seen to these posts in particular echo the truth that writing is important. It’s so great to have that affirmed by so many people 🙂

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says:

      Thanks for contributing! 🙂 And I agree. The response has been so encouraging I… don’t even have words for it. :p

      • Of course! Thanks for always being available to answer questions and for being so involved in how your readers respond (many bloggers of any subject matter just post and move on). Hard not to contribute with such a great and personally powerful post!
        No words…that is certainly saying something for a writer! 🙂

  25. Today, I’m gonna start writing seriously .. and I CAN
    Thank you for your great posts 😉

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  1. […] have their own reasons why they write, but we all agree writing is important. K.M. Weiland gathered 15 more reasons writing is important—in your own words, Louise Miller shares 13 lessons she learned in the kitchen that made her a better writer, and Mark […]

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