The Story Behind The Story – I am a Writer: Why I Write by Urszula Humienik

IMG_5598Welcome back to The Story Behind The Story series. I’m so excited to share Urszula’s big ‘why’ behind her writing. She is one of my favourite bloggers and her short stories and fiction leave a lasting impression on me.

Long before I was writing stories, I was telling them. I’m not sure why I did it back then – I guess it was an urge – or maybe it wasn’t something unique to me. None of the children around me told stories, but they loved to listen to them. Each night before I fell asleep, I’d lie in bed imagining elaborate adventures. I’ve continued to do that to this day.

Now I imagine my characters. Sometimes I imagine scenes that I’m writing, but most often it’s just a scene that will never make it to paper – just background stuff I need to know to write my characters better.

The frustration and work of writing is getting what I see and hear in my imagination into the reader’s imagination. Not until I attempted to write about things that were important did I realize how difficult writing is. It is trying to put into words all those things that are rarely or never described.

The story of why I write begins with reading, which I began doing at the age of six. My favorite story then was “The Little Match Girl” by Hans Christian Andersen. It’s a sad story of an impoverished little girl’s last moments before death, but I saw the hope in it, the magic even. To me the story, despite its tragedy, is about the power of imagination.

Was it any wonder then that I fell in love with Anne Shirley? Anne had a wonderful imagination that helped her get through some tough times. Granted, her imagination also got her into trouble. Anne made me realize that there was such a thing as a writer, and I wanted to be one. I began writing short stories and poetry in grade school, and by the time I was in high school being a writer seemed the natural choice.

But then I decided to go to art school. It wasn’t out of the blue; I’d been making art and even earning money as a mural painter already. My reasoning being that more than anything I needed subject matter to write about. I picked a school known for its writing program, so that I would have the best of both worlds. I learned a lot in art school – techniques, critical thinking, art history. I’ve been surprised how much art making and writing are similar.

Soon after art school, I moved to Poland. It had always been a dream of mine to live here, at least for some time. I met my husband, we fell in love, got married, and had a baby. Somehow in the midst of responsibilities, I abandoned writing. I abandoned myself.

Very quickly I learned that despite the fact that I cannot explain this drive to write, it is a basic necessity in my life. Even if it something I do just for my well-being, it is extremely important for my survival. About two and a half years ago I made a commitment to writing. I began with 15-minute journaling sessions every day, and soon enough I was back to writing stories and poetry.

I now know that the writing life is for me. Whatever it is that compels me is of the same essence as my spirit. Writing for me is as necessary as the breaths I take. Writing is cathartic, cleansing, therapeutic. So I guess one of the biggest reasons I write is my sanity.

I write because writing is magic. I string together several words and you read them and give them meaning. Even when I omit details about a story, you the reader fill them in with your imagination. What I write cannot exist without an audience. Without an audience, a story is just some words on paper. The reader turns it into an experience.

Writing has been a journey of self-discovery for me. It helps me be a better person, a better mother, and a better wife. It is the best way I know to process my thoughts and figure out solutions. I like how writing connects us – me to you. I like how writing can help us feel understood.

I don’t completely understand where this call to write comes from. Why do some of us feel compelled to tell stories, think about words, live with made up characters in our heads? It is a strange thing. But I know this for sure, I will be writing until my last breath, because I am a writer.


Urszula Humienik writes short stories, flash fiction, and poetry, while also working on her first novel, titled Native Landscapes. She grew up in Chicago, but moved to Poland in 2006. When she’s not writing, she’s translating, proofreading or editing others’ work.



Twitter: @UlaWrites


36 thoughts on “The Story Behind The Story – I am a Writer: Why I Write by Urszula Humienik

  1. Thank you, Gulara, for having me on your blog today. This is a post I was very nervous about sharing.
    It is an honor to be among some of the other talented writers you have had for this series.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. This is a great series and this here is a great post.
    I love Anne too, that she was a writer. It’s fun to read about writers.
    I have a dream to write two novels one about death in a family and the other based in Europe during the second world war. Thank you for sharing your reasons for loving writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I always had that “urge” too and felt weird for it as a kid because no one else around me seemed too. Maybe that’s what brings us to find connection in the blogosphere & to search for an imaginative connection that we didn’t have as children.
    I feel like connecting with readers is difficult for me as well. But it’s not an impossible task! We are all reading and connecting with you today : )

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Yes. So much. To all of this. I don’t know why some of us have this desire, this passion, this indescribable need to write. Like you said, it’s like breathing. Not an option. Well, I’m glad you do so I get to read it. 💕 I’m grateful I met you both.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m so intrigued by your connection between art and writing. Each are expressions to imagination, which I can relate to you in that strange phenomenon. Your writing always seems to come across as a clear picture to me, I can see your stories. Nice post!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This was great, Ula and rather spooky as your feelings about writing are so similar to my own. Writing is ‘my sanity’, ‘cathartic, therapeutic, cleansing’ and so beautifully ‘same essence as my spirit’. I too loved ‘The Little Matchgirl’ which I read endlessly in my colourful hardback book of his tales – pure magic. Lovely of you to host Ula, Gulara.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The art/writing link intrigues me. As does the I must write drive. I didn’t write creatively until summer 2006 aged 49. No obvious urge, no ‘something missing’. And then did and then I couldn’t not and all what you say Gulara about non negotiable and Ula says chimes with me. I’d been bitten by a writing mozzie and was infected. A terrible disease and one I’d hate to be cured of. My wife, meanwhile is an artist, mostly in textiles – quilts, embroidery, weaving, knitting… Her language and mine are the same; ditto her instincts and compulsions. I suspect all creative energies come from the same place.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I love this phrase, Geoff, ‘all creative energies come from the same place’. So true. Sometimes, I paint (translation: play with colours) to get into writing. Works like charm. Thank you for sharing your journey here. I hope you don’t get cured of writing ever – you are amazing!

      Liked by 2 people

    • You are probably right in your suspicions, although I find it hard to create in both ways at the same time. Maybe they require different parts of the brain.
      I’m so happy you discovered your passion for writing, Geoff. You are so talented. The world would have never known what it was missing, and that just would have been too bad.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I know exactly what you mean about the urge to write. If a week goes by and I haven’t written anything, then I start to get restless. Like you said, writing is as necessary as breathing.

    Thanks for sharing your writing observations with us. Your words are very encouraging. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s a beautiful post, isn’t it, Marje. Ula managed to capture the very essence of why so many of us write. She’s written it a while ago, but I share it from time to time, because it has certain timelessness about it. Many thanks for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

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