There are many reasons to write down the thoughts in our hearts and heads.
When I was a child we moved around a lot. My mother, poor woman, told me that she moved 26 times in 23 years, in the latter years with up to seven children in tow. Letter writing was something we did because we loved receiving letters. Mum and her family wrote and received letters addressed to “Dear All” which were circulated to keep everyone up to date with the news. But they were nothing like receiving a letter addressed to me personally, so I wrote quite a lot of letters to various friends and family.
Putting pen to paper makes you focus on the subject at hand. Often, when I’m confused, I go to pen and paper in order to work out what I feel, what I want and how I can achieve it. There’s something about the act of dragging a pen across a lovely pristine piece of paper which forces you to think deeply, drawing up from the heart what normally hides there.
Writing a book, telling a story and following a theme, asking yourself “what if” also has the same effect. It can also fire up the imagination, often resulting in the legendary 3am epiphany.
Until you can explain something, I’ve been told, you don’t fully understand it. Ideas and concepts are like that. Especially early in their careers, writers need multiple drafts and rewrites to refine and clarify their stories and even then, sometimes what ends up on the page surprises the writer as much as the reader.