W is for Why Do Writers Write?
The reasons writers write are as many as the kinds of writing that exist. Some write for money and others write for the love of the artistic expression. Some writers become famous and some labour away endlessly with their work never seeing the light of day.
The various reasons writers write can be combined into a few general categories.
Writing to inform
Someone who enjoys writing and is experienced in a particular area of knowledge might decide to share that knowledge through writing. They realize they can teach and inform a larger audience by writing a book or a series of articles. Many professionals, such as doctors and professors might take this route.
Writing for self-discovery
Memoirs, testimonies and reflection pieces are all vehicles for taking a journey of self-discovery through writing. Baring your soul is a hot commodity these days. A book recounting the events in your life that taught you a lesson and resulted in a positive outcome might be emotionally beneficial to you as the writer. It also has the potential to be monetarily beneficial if it appeals to the public sector.
Writing for money
Freelance writers use their skill to earn income. They might have one area of expertise or write on numerous subjects. There is a wide range of markets for their work, and the market keeps expanding. A capable freelancer can actually make a living from his skill and talent.
Writing for your ego
It takes a healthy ego to put yourself “out there.” You’re opening yourself up to critique and, often, outright criticism. When a writer feels he has something to say, he is often compelled by an inner drive to do so. Sometimes a reader becomes a writer when he decides that he can do better than some of the mediocre writing he has read. And some individuals simply want to leave a legacy and choose writing as their way of making a difference or leaving an imprint on future generations.
Most writers will admit to having a combination of all these reasons. They want to share what’s on their mind, potentially teaching others or learning something in the process, hopefully be rewarded with money or recognition and, inadvertently or not, stroke their own ego in the process.
What makes you write?
For the reason I did it as a child; I can't not do it. I've all this stuff in my head and if I don't write and get it out they will take me away in a straitjacket. It gives me a sense of satisfaction; I get a high when I know I've written a great scene.
~ Barbara Taylor Bradford
I write because I must or the thoughts will die the imagination will wither, and the brain will freeze just as my fingers do on a cold winter’s morning before I wrap my hands around my first cup of steaming coffee.
~ Anne Skalitza
My head is full of stories and I love to tell them. I have a story in my head now about a woman who thought she was being invited in by the boss to discuss promotion but in fact she as being fired. And I want to tell how she recovered from it all. I am dying to write it.
~ Maeve Binchy
I write because I was born with the compulsion to, like singers have to sing, actors have to act and painters have to paint. I write fiction because it exercises my creativity; nonfiction because it exercises the learner in me.
~ Tammy Ruggles
Writing gives me an escape from the realities of life into a private world of my own creation.
~ James Spade
Try as I might to ignore it, I find myself drawn to the keyboard most days, if only to sketch an outline or flirt with an idea. Writing is a hobby, a love and a compulsion. It won’t be denied.
~ Debra Johanyak
I write because the paper doesn’t talk back. I also think it’s really fun to confuse members of my family and make them say things like, “No, really, what do you do for work?”
~ Jennifer Reynolds
I think Deborah Wheeler says it best:
I’m a writer because it’s something I love to do.
I’m a writer because my stories somehow find their way onto paper.
I’m a writer because there’s so much I want to say, I have to put it into words or I’ll bust.
I’m a writer because story ideas are always popping into my head.
I’m a writer because when I encounter life’s little adventures, I think, “This would make a great scene.”
I’m a writer because when I talk to other writers, I get ideas for new stories.
I’m a writer because I’m miserable when a story isn’t going well.
I’m a writer because when an idea grabs me, I lose track of time.
I’m a writer because my characters talk back to me.
I’m a writer because my stories and characters come to me in dreams.
I’m a writer because I want to scream when I have writer’s block.
I’m a writer because the laundry is undone, the dishes unwashed, the newspaper unread because I have to finish this chapter!