Today, Oct. 20, is the National Day on Writing.
Never heard of it? I hadn't either. But now that I know, I'm really, really into it.
The tradition was started in 2011 by the New York Times and organizations like National Council of Teachers of English, the National Writing Project, and the Teaching Channel. And every year, thousands of people take to Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #WhyIWrite to share — you guessed it — all of the reasons they put pen to paper (or, you know, fingers to keyboard) and write.
This year, they wanted people to expand their thinking beyond just essays, articles, and books. They encourage you to define writing broadly and think of everything: "song lyrics, film scripts, poems, diary entries, blog comments, infographics, social media posts, gaming, storyboards, lab reports, videos, slideshows, podcasts or lines of code."
And sure, "famous writers" in years past have had some great reasons to write:
But the purpose of the day is to remember that anyone can find joy in the art of writing.
Here are just a few of the reasons that folks have shared today.
To achieve immortality:
To challenge themselves and break outside of boxes:
To tell stories that need to be heard:
To make your presence known:
Because, sometimes, it's all you can do:
And, lest you think everyone takes writing "Very Seriously," here's one of my personal favorites:
As for me, I write because, frankly, it took a long time for me to realize that I could.
As a kid, I was an avid reader. I was one of those kids who would rather read than play, eat, or, sometimes, sleep. Books and magazines were magical, and their creators, in my mind, had special powers. Writing was special and complicated and not something I ever felt "talented" enough to do. But when I was in my early 20s, a mentor told me something that I'll never forget:
"Your thoughts and words are just as worthy of being recorded as anyone else's."
That was my a-ha moment in which I realized that writing wasn't a skill reserved for an elite group of studied professionals. Writing was a tool that I could use in any way that I wanted to because my thoughts and words have value. Through writing, my words can encourage someone else, and they can make a difference to someone, somewhere ... or even just to me. From thank you cards to poems to blog posts to columns, and yes, now, even my very first book, which I am working on right now, I have never stopped writing.
I hope all of you have experienced the joy and the power of writing. And if you have, hop on Twitter, use the #WhyIWrite hashtag, and share your reason with the world.