Why We Do It, Why We Write
By Anthony Buccino
We write because we have to, it is in our blood and gut. We write because someone pays us to do something we love.
The 17-hour days are mind-boggling and eclectic, yet flexible. Someone is always grousing about how this should have been, or that should have been done some other way — such are editors, readers and the people we write about.
Why do we do it, why do we write? Why put up with the long hours and the brain-drain? It isn't for the money. Prestige? Guess again. Some call it the Peter Pan Syndrome — we're always so eager to fly off to a new adventure.
We write to alert, amaze and inform. We write to make 'em learn, yearn and wonder about how things that are can be, if not better, then different.
From the boot camps of weekly newspapers to the war zones of dailies to the country clubs of monthlies, we write to make a difference to the prom queen, policeman and politician. We write to make 'em think, even if they don't want to.
We write to inform, to make 'em better or bitter, and at least a little more knowing. We write for the reader, to show them what has become of the world we live in, the things that can be changed, the things that should be changed and the things that never will change.
From the ancient cave walls to the skywriters shaping clouds to the graffiti artists' coded messages to our hand-scrawled notes, we tell the story of man and mankind to the here and now and for the future as well. We take these shadows on this tiny screen and turn them into ink stains that mean much to many, or nothing to few. But we write.
Each time we sit at a keyboard and 'open our vein,' we strive to reach the top of our craft, to define perfection in every word, to learn from our craft, for our best writing is right now. Until tomorrow, when it gets better than it has ever been. And the constant in our craft is that each day is different, and the challenges are a varied but valiant foe. Through our words we fly into the flailing fray. We make a point. We tell a tale. We tell the world of our readers and the readers of our world. That's our job. That's what we do.
We write to make our editor happy. We write for ourselves. We write because we have to, it is in our blood and gut. We write because someone pays us to do something we love. And except for that big shovel we sometimes have to hoist, there's no heavy lifting. We would have it no other way.
That's why we do it.
That's why we write.
This originally appeared in Behind The Lines, Spring 1998, a publication of the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
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New Jersey author Anthony Buccino's stories of the 1960s, transit coverage and other writings earned four Society of Professional Journalists Excellence in Journalism awards.
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