This was the first prompt in the Writing: Finding Everyday Inspiration course conducted by the Daily Post. It’s an interesting question, one I’ve been asking myself a lot, especially in the last few months. What makes me put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and pour my heart out?

A love for writing develops from a love for reading.

My parents and teachers in school always encouraged me to read good books and articles. I developed a liking for good stories with strong plots and interesting characters, stories that conjured pictures in front of my eyes, stories that stirred me, awakened some hidden emotion in me, stories which spoke to me in some way! I have often lost track of time as I’ve happily devoured page after page of beautiful prose. It just kept me hooked!

Simply reading a good story wasn’t enough for me, though. The moment I put a book down, my imagination would switch on. I would start creating my own stories in my head. Sometimes the plot adhered to the one in the book I’d read. Sometimes it would be a combination of fantasy and real-life experiences. Sometimes the central characters would be fictional, sometimes my own family and friends featured in them. Many are the happy hours I’ve spent making up all kinds of tales, oblivious to my surroundings, completely lost in my own world! In fact, this happens to be a favourite pastime even now, as an adult!

As I grew older I began to appreciate not just the stories themselves but also the way they were written. There would be moments when I would read a sentence or a paragraph that would make me want to take a pause to relish the superb manner in which a thought had been expressed. I began to closely observe authors’ styles, their choice of words and phrases, their way of putting forth ideas, the way themes were built upon. What made the description so captivating? What made the narration so compelling? What made the story so appealing? I began to observe the effect the writing had on my own mind. I began to try to reciprocate these techniques in my own stories.

We often have some kind of a profound experience, and it brings about an instinctive response from us. Imagine standing at the top of a hill, with steep slopes and valleys around you, the wind playfully messing up your hair. You are observing a sunrise. Now if you’re a photographer you’ll yearn to take a snap of it. If you’re an artist you’ll yearn to sketch or paint it. And if you’re a writer you’ll yearn to describe it.

As a teenager I realized that words aren’t just black ink on white paper for me. They aren’t just intelligible sounds. They constitute my entire world. They are my companions, my friends. I live with them all the time. I live for them all the time. Everywhere I go they come with me, ready to align themselves to form a narrative, an observation, some reflection or contemplation. I spend every moment playing with them; sometimes commanding them, sometimes surrendering to them. We exist in perfect harmony!

Thus, I started to write.

Why do I write?” you ask me. I write because I love that distress when the right words to capture an emotion or an experience temporarily elude me. I love that “Aha” moment when I eventually find them. I love the process of allowing my thoughts to tumble out in a rush, the subsequent process of reshaping them carefully; trimming a sentence here, adding a sentence there, editing and proofreading until I feel completely certain I’ve nailed it.

Ultimately I write because I just love it, every single aspect of it! It’s an integral part of who I am. It’s my identity. It’s something I cannot imagine living without. It’s something I won’t ever want to live without!

I write because writing is my heart, my soul, my everything!