Fiction, Motivation, Musings, Questions, Writing

No, really, why do you write?

I write fiction; if you write non-fiction, most of what I’m going to say won’t apply to you. Why do you write? I’m sure you’ve been asked that question. You’ve probably given an answer.  I have—more than one—but those were quasi-truths. At the time, my answers were valid. I just hadn’t put enough thought into the question.

These things I’ve always known:

  • I don’t write because I have to. Writing is not the reason for my existence. Nor do I need to support myself.
  • I don’t write because I have some great message for the world.
  • I don’t write because I think I’m a better writer than 90% of those published.

So, why do I write?

  • I do write to entertain myself.
  • I do write because I like playing with words. Seriously.
  • I do write to clear some of these stories out of my head.

But, for me, the real question is why do I write what I write? Why are all my stories character-driven? Why are they all set in the real world (or real world plus a supernatural element)? Why are they mostly dark?

What the heck am I trying to work out?!

That’s what it comes down to for me. I write because I’m trying to figure out something. I’m searching for an answer.  Maybe more than one.  Probably more than one. Or am I just trying to discover the questions? I might not be ready for the answers yet.  Hmmm … I must keep writing.

So, tell me—really—why do you write?

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36 thoughts on “No, really, why do you write?”

  1. Provocative question, Linda. Unfortunately, my answer won’t be as interesting, but it will be honest. Does that count? 😉

    I DON’T write for any of the following reasons:

    I have or need to. I have some grand idea that my thoughts are more valuable than others are. I’m not deluded into thinking I can sway public opinion, or offer solutions to the world’s problems. God knows I don’t I think my skill with the pen is something the world should experience. Meaning I especially don’t think I’m the least bit qualified to write professionally, but everyone has the right to pursue a hobby and if something comes of that, well, so be it.

    I DO write for all of the following reasons:

    Because it’s better than having an affair on the days when my life needs a little excitement. Because I find that less people look at you strange when you write in public than when you talk to yourself. Because it is fun. Because creating worlds and alternate realities has a way of making you appreciate the one you live in. Because I love to learn and the discovery of new connections one can make through writing supply and endless arena for lifelong learning. Most of all, I want to learn how to master language with a skill and understanding that far surpasses my current level. Because words and thoughts set us apart from most other animal species and I can think of no grander way to celebrate being human.

    I write simply because I want to and because I can.

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    1. Excellent answers, Trista. Honesty always counts. 🙂

      I’ve never thought it important to know why I write, but I’ve changed my mind. If you only write to be published, and it appears you won’t be, then there’s no longer any reason for you to write. Right? But if you have other reasons for writing, then you can’t quit writing until you’ve fulfilled those reasons.

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  2. I started writing because I had a story that came to me in a HUGE massive ephiphany that made me see I was made to write it. Everything in my life had lead to me writing this. I was the perfect vessel and the character who came to me, to tell me his story had chosen me because nobody else could tell his story. Sounds crazy, I know but I have never felt like I “created” him or his story. It’s always felt like he has told it to me. So I write, because it is important to me, his story is known. If it wasn’t for him, I would not be writing. He is what motivates me. Again, I know this sounds a bit bizarre…

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      1. I plan to write a sequel to my current novel. My boy features in at least 3 more novels. Me thinks, he’s going to end up being like my own Sherlock Holmes 😉

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  3. Great questions! I asked something similar to this on The Literary Lab yesterday, and there were some interesting responses. I write to tell stories and share them. I like to see how different people react to how I put things down on a page. It’s fascinating, and sometimes there’s just stories bursting to get out. 🙂

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  4. And the really great thing is that we can put it out there in a way our predecessors could never have imagined. It may be harder to get paid to write but it’s a great deal easier to get read.

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