[writing] Why do you write?

Why do you write? Why do any of us write? Here’s some of my reasons.

  • I have something to say (though I am rarely if ever didactic)
  • I like the sound of my own voice, so to speak
  • I am in love with the language itself
  • Storytelling is fun
  • I want to be read
  • I want to be remembered as have added something of value to the world

Always hoped that I’d be an apostle
Knew that I would make it if I tried
Then when we retire we can write the gospels
So they’ll still talk about us when we’ve died

What about you? Why do you write?

11 thoughts on “[writing] Why do you write?

  1. Marc Hart says:

    I write because I enjoy it.

    I write because it’s fun.

    I post it online so others can read it if they so choose.

  2. Lisa Gemino says:

    Why do I write?

    Facetiously: because I want to cause the death of the phrase “He moved with cat-like grace.”

    For reals? Because I see so few female fighters written as they are in real life. I want to change that. And because I do not MAKE anything else. I cannot play an instrument. I will never have children. I’m a good but not great cook. In my vocation, I am a journeyman, a solid average fighter.

    So I seek to create in this medium, which has always been good to me.

    And hey, parkour inspired epic chase fight scenes in sword and sorcery serial killer murder mysteries are fun to write

  3. Jaws says:

    Why’d you choose a backward town in such a strange land?
    If you’d come today you would have been the whole nation
    Israel and Phoenicia had no mass communication

    (and I didn’t even have to look any of that up… I suppose I’m giving away my age)

  4. I write because every time I’ve tried to quit, I’ve found an excuse to go back to writing again. (g) More seriously, I write because — like Jay — it’s fun, and I love the words, and because I want to leave a legacy in the world. Also, because there have been stories inside me since I was young, and even though it took a long time to get the trick of letting them out in a manner that will earn me money, it was worth it. When you make a story you are creating something tangible from the fabric of your imagination. I’ve seldom experienced anything as satisfying as that, save for parenthood or marriage. There really doesn’t seem to be much else that’s worth my time. And I am thankful to finally be gaining an audience. Truly, so much wonderful fun!

  5. Well, not to put too fine a point on it —

    I want to be loved.

    I grew up reading and loving books, and being friends with people who read and loved books, and we would talk about the experiences we had, horizons expanded and minds blown by the possibilities and imaginary places and people found in books. The people who wrote them were our heroes; they were the best friends we’d never met.

    I don’t really remember ever *not* wanting to write. But I’m sure that at some early age, as soon as I realized that there were people out there who made the stories I loved so much, the idea must have crystallized in my heart — I want to do *that.*

  6. stevie says:

    Can I turn the question around? Why do you write novels etc. instead of plays?

    1. Jay says:

      Fundamentally, because that’s how my brain works. I’ve actually written one play. It was terrible. But also I’ve never been an obsessive consumer of drama the way I have been a lifelong obsessive consumer of novels. Novels in, novels out.

      1. stevie says:

        So, is this enviromental, or do you think the form would still have compelled you, even if you had grown up surrounded by people who think that the purpose of words is to write them down so they can be said on stage?

        1. Jay says:

          Heck, I don’t know. I’m sure it’s at least partly environmental. At the root, story is story. Novels are just my vehicle, not my raison d’etre.

  7. Cora says:

    I write because I have characters in my head who clamour to have their stories told.

  8. Reesa Brown says:

    I’ve written since I was seven years old, though of course everything before age 18 was highly derivative and not very good. I thankfully kept some of the earliest manuscripts, which also show my first understanding of editing — phrases and sentences crossed out and notes scribbled in margins and the whole deal.

    So I assume on some level it’s a compulsion, though I did spend several years (my first marriage) not writing anything of my own at all. After the dissolution of that marriage and dropping out of college senior year (where my brain felt wrapped in fog the whole time) the words were suddenly back, and didn’t leave again, not really (though actually writing them left for a while this year during my own struggles with cancer). So far I’ve noticed my pattern is that blogging leads to sending out already-written stories leads to word games (such as first line exercises or themed story practice) leads back to my own stories again, when I have cracks in the creativity well due to illness. Thankfully, I feel like I’m nearing the “back to my own stories again” phase after working through the other steps for the past several weeks.

    That went rather tangentially. I also write because I feel I have something to say in ways that others might like to experience; because I love language; and many of the other reasons people cite here. But mostly, I write because I feel like I’ve always written, or been meant to; that reading and writing are intertwined for me and once I started reading, writing quickly followed and never left my brain structures as part of the packaged deal.

    Surprisingly, the whole bit about “leaving something of myself in the world once I’m gone” never really crossed my mind until cancer. But now, I suppose, that’s part of the reason as well. What I write isn’t the whole of me, but it’s enough to help people remember bits of me, if I am gone earlier than I would like to be.

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