Why Do We Write?

Why do we write? Respect, income, and the desire for perpetuity come to mind. One of the most prevalent answers is likely: because we must. We are writers. It’s more than what we do. It’s who we are. But there are reasons within the reasons, and these can be as individual as each of us.

Me? I want to be heard. I come from a family where “just don’t say anything” would be stitched in a sampler hanging above the hearth, if anyone knew how to stitch and were willing to adopt Yankee ways of decorating, which is never going to happen.

I write to have a clear record of what’s what, with none of the messiness. Tint it, smash it, turn it inside out—it doesn’t matter. Say it the way you want. Story is how we know ourselves, how we reconcile with the past, stand in the moment, and usher in the future. What matters is that order seems to prevail.

So, why do you write?

Answer this and your writing life becomes a lot easier. Needs defined, your target square in your cross hairs, the bones of your writing life are in place. After that, it’s just a matter of giving flesh to the form.

Comments welcome and edited to include first names only, and website, if provided; never your email. Photo credit: dancers by James William Dawson

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  1. I’m with you – because I can’t ‘not’ write. Words well up, stories appear, and I gotta get ’em out.

    • You’re a writer for sure, girl. You keep at it. Thanks for checking in. Always good to hear from you.

  2. I like to make things, so crafting a story is very satisfying and that is my main reason for writing. However, for a story to live, it must be read, and that is where the money comes in.

    Writing well is A LOT OF HARD WORK, and I don’t think I would do much of it if I did not get paid. Not that I earn enough to get fat! (Or should I say, fatter.) For me, sales have a magic of their own. They mean that some one out there likes your work well enough to pay money for it – a real, concrete compliment. That gives me a thrill, and completes the creation that brought out the book in the first place.

    • Hi Jacqueline. Interesting comment. I’ll have to think about whether a story is alive or even complete if it never sees the published light of day. I have a mentor friend who says, “You’re not done until you can buy it on Amazon.” I guess that might answer it. And yes, indeed: writing is A LOT OF HARD WORK. No question at all about that. And I’ve had a lot of jobs in my time. Thanks for writing. Appreciate your insights.

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