Trending on Twitter recently was the hashtag #WhyIWrite. At first, I was tempted to join the conversation, but then I realized that my answer wasn’t pithy enough. I write for many reasons.

I write because it’s useful. I write an email to ask a question or solve a problem.

I write because it helps me think. In the process of choosing words and punctuation, I challenge my own assumptions.

I write because it’s a way to feel heard. Writing gives ideas and emotions an audience, even if of only one and for only a moment—sometimes that is enough.

I write because it’s a record of my thinking progress. Reviewing notes on anything (a project, a course, a meeting, a conference, my life) helps me to see patterns and deviations, and to use them to steer my choices.

I write because words are musical, and it’s fun to play with rhythm and sounds.

I write because I believe in the power of words to change lives, including that of the writer.

I write for the same reasons Annie Proulx believes in, which I think have parallels to graphic design: “You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.”

I write because writing is leadership. Writing means using the tools taught by reading to lead someone else into the realm of a new idea.