Without reading I feel empty.
Wihtout writing I feel overwhelmed.
Both have become essential needs to one who has discovered their inherent value.
As you say, writing is a process of clearing up the mess in one’s own head. It opens up gateways through which thoughts, ideas, and scenes can escape that would otherwise cloud your consciousness or be lost in the darkness.
It is here I would disagree with you… writing does not necessarily set out to solve life’s problems. Writing can be multi-facetted and in most cases it is.
On a personal level, writing is an act of dealing with yourself. You confront yourself and your existential loneliness. As Margaret Atwood once said: Writing in and of itself is an act of hopefulness, as you must assume a future reader or a future at all if you’re writing. Otherwise you just wouldn’t sustain it.
On a more philosophical level, writing fiction means deploying ones capabilities of imagination and language to portray a reality that is beliveable.
If your writing was just about solving problems, it would automatically turn into an essay or a report.
Fiction, however, is about emotion and thought. It displays another dimension of truthfulness and completes the abundance of mere factual truth by the means of showing what truths mean to human beings, how they behave, how they feel, what they think… There are probably some layers to this topic that I am neglecting right now.
Even nonfictional writing is not necessarily about solving life’s problem. First and foremost it is about putting forward your personal interpretation of the world and discussing it.
Even essayistic writing must be treated as multidimensional. It derives value not necessarily by the supposed answers it offers, but by what questions are posed by it… by what understanding of a subject is shown through it, by the sentiments deployed by it… To reduce it to answers only is to reduce writing to an outward goal. Writing, however, does have intrinsic value.
Indirectly you mentioned that: it clears up our heads and is — practically speaking - a way of thinking, it builds up our character and helps us understand ourselves, it helps us see the world and humanity, it helps us make sense of the chaotic state of being, it’s an act of saying yes, of hopefulness and resilience, it sparks other ideas and discussion, it is an interaction with “the fabric of being”; there are so many aspects, all of which I deem more important than finding answers. Sometimes the right question is all that matters.
We write because we are human beings; human beings write because they need to think.