Why do we write?

Patrick Westöö
2 min readMay 18, 2022

I just finished writing a very emotional piece of text. Emotions literally dripping out on the pages. But what a feeling once it was done. It was like all of the feelings I had inside left and dropped to the page. A stone lifted on my shoulders.

So it made me thinking why do we write and what is the benefit of writing. If you take away all other motives, money, sharing your thoughts with others, what goes on between yourself and the page. It’s fascinating when you think of it.

Inside of us we have a range of thoughts, emotions, stories and they are all muddled up inside of you. And mostly we all struggle to keep them in check. My 10 days meditating taught me just what a mess it is inside and how long it takes to straighten it out. 10 days to be exact before you feel like there is some space in there.

But writing is hugely helpful for many reasons. Primarily you have to take that mess and turn it into some order. You have to crystalize the thoughts, the stories and clarify them on paper. As you do this the emotions follow but they take on a more clear form. You have to express them as opposed to when they exist in you and they are just feelings that you react to. So much of what we think and do is tied up into emotions. Like stranger figs on a large tree your emotions shape so much of what you do and think.

I just almost bought a flat but in the midst of it I got really stressed that I had agreed on something that was poor. My view of this flat is tied up with the feelings and thoughts I had with it. It has been saved to my hard drive and it is hard to undo that connection. But once you put it on paper you have to be specific. What are those emotions, how do they express themselves. And as you do this parts of the emotions that you had inside follow with the words to the page. You unburden yourself on the page. The page becomes your friend, your receiver.

As the thoughts and feelings move to the page they become less scary, you can see them in the light. You can touch them, react to them and examine if they make sense.

So write for yourself. Write for relief, write for clarity. Write to understand yourself.

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