Why do we write? Tweet? Blog?

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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