That, my friends, is a very good question.
The answer, however, has to come in a rather roundabout way.
On September 6th, 2011, my first day of 8th grade, I began keeping a daily journal. Every night, before I go to sleep, I write. I lean up against my Dumbledore's Army poster on the wall and brace my feet against the opposite site of my bed, resting the fourth small red book on top of my knees. On Sunday, I reached the 250th entry. I plan to continue until I reach at least entry #366, which should occur on September 5, 2012, if my math is correct.
Once an entry is written, it just gets buried under more pages screaming with my thoughts. Once a journal is filled up, these pages get pressed together, the elastic band slips around them, and I re-cap the pen for one final time. Then, I climb down from my five-foot-tall loft bed, cross the room, and place the little book next to the others on my bookshelf, ready to start another one the following day.
Why do I bother with this?
When I write, I write for myself. Journaling every night, no matter how frustrating it can be when I have to stay up until 2 in the morning to finish homework, is a way of me channeling my thoughts. I used to always be kept awake at night by the thoughts chasing each other around in my head. Now that I think about it, the last time that really happened was several months ago, and even that was a rare instance.
Almost every form of writing helps me reach myself, if that makes any sense. Sometimes I as a person make more sense if I'm an outsider, looking in--an outsider who knows everything about me, that is. Even writing that doesn't involve me directly--say, one of my two NaNoWriMo novels--helps me in this way. I often identify accidental traits in my characters that come from me. Often, these traits are flaws or things that maybe aren't so good. By writing their stories, I discover how Cori or Iris solve their problems, and, through that, I discover how I can be a more pleasant person for my friends to be around.
One of the things that most outsiders don't understand about writing is that it is about milestones. I keep track of my journal entries to have some sort of reward for my endless determination. NaNoWriMo sets the winning word goal at 50,000 to give us something to strive for, because motivation is based on having an attainable goal.
Of course, many writers' sense of "attainable" is more than slightly distorted, but that's what makes us such a determined bunch. When we have goals that seem easy, such as finishing a math assignment, we tend to forget that we actually have to work to get those done, and procrastinate more than any other group of people I know.
So, why do I write? I write to teach myself that I CAN do it. I write to get in touch with what is important to me. I write to make myself a better person. I write for me.
And so ends my first blog post for the Teens Can Write, Too! blog chain.
Please tell me what you think! I know this blog as a whole is really empty right now, but it won't stay that way for long, I promise. :)