The Truth Behind Why Writers Write

Calum MacAulay
Calum MacAulay

Maybe I’ve never been asked before, or maybe I have been asked, and don’t remember; both are equally possible situations. For whatever reason, someone asking me the other day, “Why do you write?” just hit me. Granted, she also followed up with, “Beyond the surface…”

The more I think about it, the more variety in answers I come up with. All I do is write — whether it’s here, for passion and (creative) freedom, or covering sports for my local paper, for a living. They are two wildly different beasts, which is why I love them; overloading on the same thing can grow tiresome and spawn resentment.

One similarity that lies among both — and perhaps the answer to my friend’s question — is simply:

I write because I want people to feel.

Everyone — every single person who clicks a link or opens the paper. I want them to feel something. With sports, I want them to feel the emotion and scenery of the game; but especially here, I want every reader to connect and feel the words and the emotion behind them.

Most of my articles are about love, relationships, dating, sex, and other romantic ramblings as told through a male perspective, and yes, most are from personal experiences. I do this because what better topic to tackle than something you’ve faced head-on?

People — be it friends, commenters, etc. — often ask if the people I write about know I’m writing about them. Some do, some don’t, but I never use names unless they know about it. The follow-up question is usually some variation of, “Don’t you think they’d mind?” and the short answer is, I don’t care.

I don’t mean that in a dickish, “You’re a prisoner to the power of the pen,” kind of way, but the truth is that I don’t care. Whatever I wrote is what I’m feeling, and I try to write it in a way that resonates with someone.

I write for the single stepparents or step-spouses, and the people who date them.

I write for the people who thought they loved, and thought they were loved.

I write for everyone who fell so hard that it feels like they have a concussion, and they have no idea what sent them falling in the first place.

I write because I want people to know they’re not alone in what they’re feeling, whether it’s head-over-heels in love, paralyzing heartbreak, or mind-bending confusion.

I write because it’s therapeutic — an emotional release. I know that whatever it is I’m going through, there are probably a million other people out there going through the exact same thing, good or bad.

In good times, I hope it reaches them so that they know there’s no such thing as something being, “too good to be true,” and that they don’t need to search for flaws and red flags. They can just be in the moment, love the one they’re with, and enjoy it for however long it lasts — a date, a month, a year, or a lifetime.

In bad times, especially in the bad times, I hope it reaches them so that they know they’re not “crazy” for feeling a certain way, or at the very least that there’s someone out there as “crazy” as they are. Most importantly, I hope it reaches them so they know it will get better.

Some people are fortunate enough to go through life without ever experiencing confusion or heartbreak, but that’s not the case for most of us. I still write for both of them. I write for the hopeless romantics, the lucky ones, the happy ones, the jaded ones, the broken ones; I write for all of them.

Few people want to be alone, and even fewer people want to feel alone; and that’s why I write — because even if someone out there is alone at the time they’re reading something of mine, I at least want them to feel like they’re not alone.

That is, in essence, why I write.Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Mike is a New York-based writer and admitted hopeless romantic. If Ted Mosby and Carrie Bradshaw had a son, it would be him. When he’s not writing about love, dating, and relationships, he’s working his actual job as a sports reporter and columnist.

Tune into his podcast, “Heart Of The Matter” here.

Keep up with Mike on Instagram, Twitter and

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