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Wednesday, 7 August 2013

How Writing Ties in with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

Like most people on this planet I need to be fulfilled. And I constantly seek out new and interesting ways to fill this desire. Until I find the things that make me whole I can't help but feel empty.

Now this isn't a romantic post; I'm far too cynical to write one of those. I'm not talking about finding your 'other half' in human form because I simply do not believe that to be the case. I believe we need a wide variety of people to fulfil our needs because expecting just one person to do that is highly unrealistic.

But separating what we want from what we need can sometimes be a very difficult thing to do. All people have wants and needs but not all of them know how to distinguish between the two.

According to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, all people need oxygen, sleep, food, warmth, sex, liquid and shelter. These needs are on the baseline for human survival. It is only when we have all these needs fulfilled we can move on to the next level to have security of a job, family, health and somewhere to live.

And so the process goes on until people reach the top of Maslow's model. They pass things like friendship, esteem, achievements and respect from themselves and others. But it's only when they get to the top of this pyramid that Maslow has so carefully created can they say they have reached the final step of self - actualisation.

For me this is where I can tie in my writing as creativity is one factor that makes up this final stage. Personally, I believe that writing fulfils me the most as no matter where I am or what I'm doing I can never imagine myself not writing.

Defining what we want and what we need is difficult because everyone defines needs and wants in different ways. Some people tend to lean more on the materialistic side of life while others would rather be in love than have money.

For me the most important thing is to have my health and then to write. To me your health is everything. But after that I need to write.

So does writing fulfil you in the same way? Do you think you have to be in the self - actualisation stage in order to write? Please share your thoughts.


  1. Writing has come late to me. In my late 50s I started writing a newspaper column; not about any particular topic, but whatever piqued my interest that week. When my mother became bed-bound and terminal, I stopped writing for two years. I found I thought in stories the entire time. I would see something and instantly in my head I'd start composing the words to express my thoughts and feelings.

    I am fortunate to have all my primary and secondary needs met. Writing is not my life, but I feel less fulfilled when I am not writing.

    I don't know that this has answered your question, but it has clarified a few things for me. :-)


  2. Hi Robyn,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It's funny how you say you think in stories because I find myself doing the exact same thing! I think we writers write whether we want to or not. Sometimes it's on paper but other times it's in our minds.

  3. Writing defines who I am, however life often gets in the way of living (or in my case writing). Some might say that is an excuse, but in reality there is one thing I've learned about writing; when my mind is overburdened the clarity to see past that and create is overshadowed by life itself. Therefore I have to say that as far as what I deem most important in order of needs, I would have to say peace and security within my own life; after that all things fall into place.

  4. I don't know what "self-actualization" means. I have been writing for so many years that I can't think of writing as "a need." I write every day with very few exceptions, so writing is as much a part of my day as having breakfast. Given that "self-actualization" refers to being aware of yourself, my medical situation keeps me quite actual.

  5. Yes, writing is a crucial element in my life. If I did not indulge in writing I feel that I would wither away and cease to exist. It enables me to take stock in my life and be able to express and share my inner turmoil with a twist of humor.

  6. I'm with Knight Owl on this one. I NEED to write; in full flow I forget to eat,drink and even smoke! I have a recurring nightmare that I am no longer able to write - put simply, kill me now! lol

  7. Yes, writing is certainly important if one feels like they are unable to exist without it. I quite often feel like this if I can't write for whatever reason.

  8. I must say that on my journey to self actualization, this is where I often find my passion to write. It is often my struggles and challenges where I have been able to make it through due to my ability to write and articulate. Writing is a solace for me during turmoil. In fact, it was during one of these moments in which I wrote and published my first book. "Looking Back, then Moving Forward!" Check it out!!!

  9. Hi Celeste,

    Glad to hear you enjoy writing so much. I hope your book brings you much success!