Brian Plank and I went to college together. As with most people from my college days, I have no idea how I met him or how we got to know each other. It could be that the required “hi” on our Christian college campus bloomed into a friendship, or maybe we had an actual conversation in class sometime. Or maybe he let me cut the pasta line in Lottie (our dining hall). However, it happened, I’m glad to know him. Now, on to his post . . .

When I volunteered to submit a guest post for Andilit, I asked Andi what she was looking for in said guest post. She tasked me with putting pen to paper (or, in this case, fingers to keyboard—I’m a lefty and I like to use a rollerball pen, which smears when I write longhand) to share with the blogosphere what it is that makes me like to write.

After thinking about it, thinking some more about it, procrastinating, going to work during the day Monday through Friday, procrastinating some more, spending quality time with my wife and baby girl, procrastinating some more, thinking about it some more, watching TV (the Thursday night comedies on NBC were airing new episodes again, and those Netflix DVDs weren’t going to watch themselves), and, finally, procrastinating some more, I came up with this: Confidence.

Thanks—it was great to be a guest blogger. Peace out.

No, I’ll elaborate.

I like to write because writing gives me confidence in who I am and my ideas, and confidence to engage others in dialogue about these ideas.

Because here’s the thing about me: I’m socially awkward. The confidence and/or strong point of view which come across in my writing (or, more to the point, which come across when I write successfully) are often conspicuously absent in person. In fact, several of my friends over the years have confided that their first impression of me was less than stellar; they considered me aloof or just plain weird because I was so darn quiet and not much of a conversationalist. For some reason, they stuck around until I finally opened up and they saw that I was an OK guy, or at least just normal.

This awkwardness (which has decreased over the years but is still undoubtedly a weakness of mine) is not present in my writing, and makes writing, for me, therapeutic: I’m more me when I write, unencumbered by the crushing self-consciousness which sometimes burdens me in “real-time” interactions. I’m the person I want to be when I write, and the more I write, the more often I’m the person I want to be when I’m not writing.

However, writing isn’t just self-help. It’s about that, sure, but it’s also about engaging others. When I write and others respond to it, I’d like to think that that dialogue is good for everyone involved, even if it’s just me and one other person knowing we’re not the only one who hates the term “preggers” (first of all, it’s not a word; second of all, if you’re going to come up with a term that’s shorthand for “pregnant”, MAKE IT SHORTER THAN THE WORD “PREGNANT”), or just someone reminding me that Katy Perry’s music is merely harmless (if annoying) pop fluff and not a harbinger of doom for Western civilization.

I like to write because even my goofiest writing seriously does some good for me—and my hope is that it does some good for others as well.

BRIAN PLANK used to have a blog, but doesn’t have one right now. Until he gets his act together and starts a new blog, you can check out his writing on his Facebook page (if you send him a friend request, he’ll probably “friend” you even if he doesn’t know you, unless you ask him to go to your website to “check out ur sexy pics”—he’s happily married, come on!), and/or you can read his haiku via his Twitter feed: @haikumoedee. He’s also a visual artist; his piece “Moon-Faced Me” (pictured) will be displayed at the Sweetwater Center for the Arts in Sewickley, PA February 5th through February 26th as part of their Who, Me? self-portrait exhibition.