Why I Write

I went to a ¨retreat on Sunday called “Writing on the River” for teachers who write that was organized by Project Write Now . The event was one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended. After spending the day with like-minded people and celebrating ME, I left with my spark for writing reignited.

Four years have passed since the event was last held thanks to the pandemic, and those years in between were filled with concern, fear, and unsustainable objectives for educators everywhere.

For educators who write like me, however, the objectives and demands were extra heavy. I put my own writing aside too many times because I was overwhelmed by professional responsibilities.

The result?

My mental well-being suffered greatly.

I should not have abandoned my words in a time when I most needed them.

As they say, hindsight is 20/20, but its time for me to put up or shut up in 20/23.

At the beginning of the retreat, everyone stood in a circle around the room and each person read a line from the remarkable piece “Why I Write” by Terry Tempest Williams. The lines I read aloud were, “I write to honor beauty¨ and “Ï write as a bow to the wilderness.”

Our task after we finished was to spend some time journaling about the reasons we write. Here is what I wrote:

Why do I write?

I write to paint with words because pens work better for me than brushes.

I write to cope with what I cannot control and to make sense of the absurd.

I write to find my place in the world and to belong to myself.

I write to grieve, and those words transform into something to celebrate.

I write to tame the monsters and to walk with the wild.

I write to quench my thirst for life.

I write to colorize my memories’ black-and-white film reels and to fill in the blank gaps.

I write to slow down the hamster running full speed in my mind and to give a voice to my thoughts.

I write to spark a light in the darkness.

I write to overcome the demons of my past, immerse myself fully in my present, and dream for my future.

I write to connect my soul with my heart and my heart with my mind.

I write because it is my religion, the blank page in front of me a baptism, my words a confession.

I write with the heart of my inner child, who still loves to play with toys and spin around under the warm sun  with her arms outstretched wide.

I write to feel what it means to be a human having a human experience and to honor all vibes, not just good vibes.

I write because I love the feeling of filling a blank page with words that roll off my pen or I strike on my keyboard with my fingers.

I write from a place which cannot be seen but exists just the same.

I write to remember, and to forget.

I write to keep close the laughter coming from my nieces and nephews.

I write when I am longing, and when I am satisfied.

I write because I have to.

I write because I need to.

I write because I write.

Why do you write?

-Jill Ocone

Thank you for joining me on my journey. I am glad you are here.

With light and gratitude,


“Why I Write” was posted on jillocone.com on March 21, 2023. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not endorsed or compensated in any manner by any entity; views do not represent any of my employers. Copyright 2023, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s