Why I write?

Even at a young age, I could become completely absorbed in all kinds of stories. In my youth, it was the adventures of Old Shatterhand that I could dream away at. The German writer Karl May had given himself the lead role in his world-famous stories about Winnetou. I learned that with stories you could showcase your imagination to the fullest, let your fantasies spark. 

Besides the books with adventures, I found enriching the books where you learned to understand something new. From the universe to computers and advertising, I devoured everything. I created my own personal world. One book that was special to me was given to me by my father in 1989. This book by Ogilvy is about the heyday within advertising. Actually Ogilvy talks about the power of copywriting, in other words the book is about good selling advertising copy. I was immediately sold. I realized that books could take you on all kinds of journeys that fictionally took you everywhere. 

Books were not only adventures, they also acted as a paper teacher for me. The hunger was unquenchable in my young years. I searched further and further. I wanted to discover more words and gain new knowledge. After reading hundreds, maybe thousands of books, writing came naturally.

But why do I write?  
George Orwell, in one of his fine essays, described the main motives for writing. In his view, four motives drive every writer to write.

  1. Narcissistic and selfish motives: the desire to make an intelligent impression on others.
  2. Aesthetic zeal: the desire to preserve an experience that you feel is valuable and and should not be lost.
  3. Historical incentive: to seek out the truth and preserve it for posterity.
  4. Political ends: the desire to push the world in a certain direction.

These four drives are present in everyone who writes. Of course, no writer is the same and the relationship between these four drives will vary in each person. But writing also helps organize thoughts. Thoughts and ideas are otherwise loose stones floating around. You have to gather them up and then stack them properly and connect them in the right way. With each line of text, you keep building, expressing your imagination. Writing provides contemplation so that ideas and thoughts can settle.

Reflecting and learning is also a pleasant side effect that writing brings. You learn that every word must learn to fight for its existence. With my epistles I may also help others to new insights! And writing is therefore great fun to do. Whether it's scribbling in a crumpled notebook or practicing more serious writing; writing always helps you improve. Start writing today.

Ruud Olijve

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