Since I began my Medium membership a couple of weeks ago, I’ve read articles on writing styles, short stories, and poetry. The more I write and read about writing, the more I wonder about different writers’ motivations. Are they similar to my motivations? What makes them different?

I am at the beginning of my writing journey and I have plenty to learn, but these articles make me ask myself, “What is it about writing that attracts me?”

Why do I write?

1. Self-satisfaction

Writing provides me with a unique feeling. A chaotic calmness. It’s the oxymoronic feeling I experience when camping or traveling because I am constantly exploring, but simultaneously relaxed.

It’s autumn now, I’m sitting at my local Starbucks’ countertop and gazing out the window. The trees are transitioning. Red, purple, and gold paper-thin leaves float in the sky before finally arriving on the sidewalk. If I look closely, I can see the hidden hues of green life grasping to branches. Kids stomp on crunchy leaves and revel in the sound. I take a sip of coffee. Physically, I am relaxed, but my thoughts are in a frenzy.

I think about my day, my weekend plans, how many puddings I have left in my fridge. Ideas form and I create. Sometimes in my journal and sometimes on my laptop. Regardless of the manner, I create. I write everything that struck me as interesting until I can create a story out of something. The freedom of this creates a notable happiness for me.

2. Evoking emotions and thoughts

When my words evoke emotion in my audience, I am motivated to write and practice every day. I want my stories to linger in my audience’s mind and cause them to think. When my friend tells me they loved my story because it made them feel warm or energetic, I experience the greatest benefit writing has to offer.

The emotions or thoughts I create serve as a critique as well. If my readers feel nothing, then I have to revise. Depending on my audience’s reaction, I know how well they received my message.

3. Improvement

A common characteristic of my favorite writers is their ability to observe. This reason is both a benefit of writing and a motivation for me to write. The more I absorb ideas to write, the better I listen and observe my surroundings. A writer has to listen and observe everything. As I improve my craft, I hope to improve my listening and observing skills as well.

4. Reminder

Whether it is a daily reflection or a story, I write in my journal every day. I write about my best days, my embarrassing moments, and my dreams. For everything I write, I have feelings and ideas at different times in different places.

A few months ago, I took a class on effective journaling methods and transforming journal entries into essays and memoirs. To my surprise, I was the youngest in the class by about fifty years. The majority of the members were at least sixty-five years old, and then there was me: an eighteen-year-old. I arrived early to each class to speak with other members about their lives and all of their accomplishments.

On the first day, each member shared their reason for attending this class. Most people said they had read the benefits of journaling and wanted to try it. The entire class gasped at one woman who said she recently recycled all of her journals because she didn’t have any use for them. Another member wanted to journal so she can read about her life if she is ever diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I’m not too panicked about Alzheimer’s, but her answer made me realize I want to record my favorite memories.

Writing my favorite memories blesses me with the opportunity to relive the experience. Thinking about a memory is nothing compared to physically writing it on paper. When you don’t write it down, you neglect all the critical sensory details. We go deaf to the constant sounds of rustling leaves or chirping cicadas until we revive them with language on a page. These sensory details immortalize my memories.

With those four reasons in mind, I think I’ll keep this blog as a place for me to share stories and thoughts. I hope it will serve as a progress tracker. I look forward to learning from the Medium community and creating more stories.