Greetings, fellow writers. I’m tackling something deeply important today: three essential questions for writers. These are questions you must answer if you call yourself a writer.

3 Essential Questions for Writers

Question One: Why Do You Write?

What is your reason for writing?

Is it for money? Is it for fame? Is it for (or against) someone or some cause? Can you even verbalize the reason why?

The answer keeps you writing when nobody likes what you write. The answer keeps you writing when you’re tired, blocked, and struggling to call yourself a writer at all. The answer keeps you writing when you can’t see a reason to continue.

Figure out that answer. It’s your life preserver.

Question Two: Who is Your Ideal Reader?

Whom are you writing for?

This is more specific than “finding your audience.” Your Ideal Reader is an individual who likes the kind of thing you’re writing.

And yes, the kind of thing you’re writing already exists. It could be fantasy or romance, kid’s lit or adult, tragedy or comedy—whatever it is, it’s out there in some form, and this is good for you. It means there’s a pre-made Ideal Reader on the lookout for more of what they like, and your joy as a writer is to provide it.

When Stephen King gets stuck, when he struggles, he puts himself in the shoes of his Ideal Reader and writes what that reader wants to read. You can do that too; but how do you figure out what your Ideal Reader wants? You read. There’s no shortcut. Read widely, read with your brain engaged, and you’ll figure it out.

Question Three: What’s Next?

What comes after the thing you’re writing now?

Stories are never one and done. A true writer keeps writing, and it’s never too soon to think about the next thing.

Just be sure to take notes. That way, you don’t have to work on remembering those details (and don’t have to freak out when you forget).

Three Questions Every Writer Must Answer

There will be plenty more questions that come your way as you write—whether to self-publish or not, whether to pursue a series or write a series of one-offs, whether to break into other media forms (audio books, graphic novels, etc.). Questions will come at you the rest of your life, but these three questions for writers are critical to your path as a writer.

Leave them unanswered, and you’ll have no defense when the hard times come. Find the answers, and you’ll build armor no inner critic can stab its way through.

Onward, fellow writers! It’s time to put your thinking caps on.

What questions do you ask yourself as a writer? Let me know in the comments.

PRACTICE

Take fifteen minutes to answer the third question for writers: what comes after the thing you’re writing now? Maybe it’s the next book in a series, maybe it’s another story in the same universe, or maybe it’s something new in a completely different genre. Whatever the case, take this time to brainstorm your next project (and be sure to take notes!)

When you’re through, post your practice in the comments. Don’t forget to reply to your fellow writers, too!

Ruthanne Reid
Ruthanne Reid
Frothy, according to Kirkus Reviews. Thrives on regular servings of good books and cute cats.