Why Do You Write?

Do you know why you write? This may be one of the most important questions you ever answer in the course of your writing career. Why? Because there will be days when no one around you—including yourself—believes you can really do this.

Why Do You Write?

On those days, this answer will be crucial.

Read on.

You Need to Know Why You Write

The question, “Why do you write?” often tempts a flippant response. I’ve heard (and given) answers like, “Because,” “You might as well ask me why I breathe,” or “Why not?” which are all kind of a cop-out. (I’m aiming that at myself, by the way, lest I ruffle any feathers.)

Those answers aren’t good enough. When your loved one looks up from your precious first draft and says it’s boring, or your inner editor screams at you that you’ll never be as good as that author you love, or when writer’s block rises up to grip you by the throat, these answers will prove useless.

I want you armed better than that, which is why I’m writing this post.

Hard Cold Facts About Writing

  1. Some days, you won’t feel like a writer. Your ideas will look terrible to you. Your own style will feel pedantic or weird or immature. A nagging voice in your head will whisper you’re wasting your time. On those days, when your writing seems like something no one would ever want to read, it is essential to have an answer to the question of why you write.
  2. Not everyone around you will be supportive of your writing. Doubt-bombs can drop from well-meaning parents, from helpful siblings, from friends who don’t understand how much writing means to you. They can fall from the fingers of other writers or from complete strangers. Doubt-bombs can come from absolutely anywhere, and when they hit, they fragment. They leave shrapnel, cutting into everything and making your insides bleed. In those hours, when someone who knows your heart unwittingly stabs it by questioning your identity as a writer, you need to be able to answer this question.

So why do you write? 6 Reasons

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Its purpose is to get you thinking, dialoguing with your own brain. Don’t be afraid to add your own answers.

1. We write for others.

Life is a crazy road; it’s filled with potholes, twists and turns, and sometimes really poorly maintained stretches that could blow your tires. We write because we’ve felt things, struggled through things, and want to help others find their way along those rocky paths.

We write because we’ve learned something that could help others through the unexpectedness of life.

We write because we see things in a way many others don’t, and we know would benefit them.

2. We write for ourselves.

The act of creating is every bit as good for you as working out, eating right, and getting enough sleep.

Writing builds your sense of worth.

Writing relieves stress.

Writing enables you to push off the terrible lie that you don’t matter, or that everything you do is temporary.

Writing helps you to see the parts of life that are beautiful and interesting.

Writing helps you to mine your past, pulling jewels from darkness, and strength and beauty from trial.

See how Joseph Gordon-Levitt tackles the abstract concept of loneliness:

The Sun is such a lonely star. Whenever he comes out to see his friends, they all disappear.
― Joseph Gordon-Levitt, The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories, Vol. 1

I certainly won’t look at dawn the same way after that.

3. We write for the sake of the story.

We write because we’ve been deeply moved by something we read (fantasy or non-fiction, it doesn’t matter), and we yearn to be able to replicate that feeling in what we write.

I don’t know about you, but my life was deeply affected by the stories I read when I was young. I was overweight, unpopular, and generally weird. I had no friends—but reading stories gave me the courage to push through. Reading stories took me out of my own unhappy world and into a brilliant one where, though things were dark, joy and hope were possible as long as I (and the protagonists) never gave up.

I write because I want to give that experience to others. I want to share the wordy medicine that helped me.

4. We write for the sake of beauty.

Art is beautiful. Words can be beautiful, even when they describe ugliness and abuse, or sorrow and the passing of precious things.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

—Dylan Thomas

Whether you agree with these words or not, they are evocative. Burn, rave, rage… each choice is perfect for the feeling Thomas wanted to create in his reader when considering the struggle against death.

Writing gives voice to the fire in the human soul, the one that burns brightly enough to turn even simple daylight into longing, beauty, and heartache.

5. We write for the sake of grief.

Sorrow and pain need an outlet.

Writing gives us a chance to work through things, to give voice to sorrow, which also gives us a chance to heal.

Writing lets us frame the strangeness of dark feelings into something definable, if not precisely manageable. This next quote, though it comes from a vampire novel, remains one of my favorites:

At three in the morning the blood runs slow and thick, and slumber is heavy. The soul either sleeps in blessed ignorance of such an hour or gazes about itself in utter despair.
― Stephen King, Salem’s Lot

I have been there. Many of you have been there. Clearly, so has Mr. King, and he put it in such a way that my own soul can resonate and proclaim, Yes, that’s it!

6. We write for fun.

This is a big one, and for some of you, it’s going to make no sense.

For the half of you that already know this, you can read on. But for the rest (myself included), hear me again:

You’re allowed to write for fun.

You don’t have to do it to make money. You don’t have to do it for some higher purpose. You don’t have to be in it for saving the world.

You are allowed write for fun, to write because you enjoy it, to write because writers make a fantastic community to belong to. You don’t even owe an answer to people who question your right to be a writer. If you write for fun, then you have a good and real reason to write.

All you have to do is put one word after another, and remember how great it feels to be a writer.
―Stephanie Lennox

Why Do You Write?

I write because it gives me hope. I write because it feels like pulling the valve on a malfunctioning boiler (e.g., The Shining), releasing pressure that had to come out one way or another. I write because I want to transport people into another world the way I was transported.

I write for fun.

Whatever reason you have for writing, it’s a good one. You don’t have to know all the answers yet, either. You have time. Explore this question as you grow in your writing. Knowing the answer will empower you in ways you won’t see coming.

How about you? Have you ever asked yourself why you write? Let us know in the comments section.

PRACTICE

This can be an overwhelming question, so don’t worry about answering it in full today. Take fifteen minutes and work out at least one reason why you write. When your time is up, post your practice in the comments section below.

About Ruthanne Reid

Sci-fi/fantasy author Ruthanne Reid currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona, though some say she really lives in her head. They'd be right. To see what she's all about (and snag free books), visit RuthanneReid.com or follow her on Twitter (@RuthanneReid).

  • I write because I was told I could write. That I should write. It still amazes me now, and it’s a story I don’t often share. I had never thought of being a writer. I had been an avid fiction reader, and I had always adored the feeling of being taken away into another world just by holding a paperback. Then one day a voice spoke to me. Out of nowhere, a story was in my head, a romance, a book involving subjects I knew nothing about. It took
    awhile, but I realized that voice was God Himself. I just knew it was.
    He’d told me to write.

    So I wrote. And I found out the most amazing thing. All those wonderful feelings I’d experienced as a reader all paled in comparison to what I felt as a writer. And I
    never stopped writing.
    That was why I started writing, and that is why I still write. That is what gets me through those moments of worthlessness, where the internal editor tells me there is no way I
    will ever become something. Because when the Lord tells you that you
    can do something, you can.

    A whole world was opened up to me when I started writing. A world of beauty, like you said. Words are the most beautiful thing in the world. My characters are a part of me,
    and the story carries me with it to amazing places that I create. The minute my pen touched the paper, I fell in love with this thing called writing.

    I have never doubted once that it was God who gave all of this to me, because ‘every good and perfect thing is from above’. And I’ve never had a better or more perfect thing
    happen to me.

    This is a bit of a long-winded explanation, but it is why is write. Because I know this story was handed to me by Someone who knows I can write. And because I know He
    will bring it places I can’t even imagine.
    Thanks for this amazing article, Ruthanne!

    Reagan
    http://www.fiction4hisglory.com

    • Renette Steele

      Beautifully put Reagan!

    • Cynthia Frazier Buck

      This is wonderful, Reagan!

      • Thanks, Cynthia! (though I can’t take all the credit 🙂

    • Jean

      When I read the title of this article, I silently smiled

      because just last July 14, 2015 I posted “Why I keep writing” at Medium.com https://medium.com/@jeanix01_bsc/why-i-keep-writing-78164511710a
      I taught I am the only one who asked “Why I write?” for the fact that my
      world is not surrounded with writers. This question keeps lingering inside of
      me, until I decide to write something about it; to express or maybe to ask any
      answers from others. When I read your comment Reagan, I got goose bumps on my arms. I think it is proven that I write because it was told that I need to. I
      know He has purpose for us why He gave this gift to us, and we are not alone
      on fulfilling His purpose. Thank you for sharing.

      • I am so glad you saw this post for what it is, and that you also believe that He calls us for this. I, too, am not surrounded by writers. But I have come to learn that God is enough.
        I will definitely read your article, Jean. I also wrote a blog post similar to this, ‘What is writing’ on my blog.
        Thank you for your kind comment
        Reagan
        http://www.fiction4hisglory.com

      • ruthannereid

        I couldn’t have said it better!

    • David

      I’m encouraged by your faith. I wish I heard His voice so clearly. Keep on writing …

      • You’ve got a gift, too, David. We all do, we just have to choose whether we’re in this for ourselves, or to glorify Him. Writing gives us an amazing platform to glorify His name.

    • ruthannereid

      What a fantastic comment, Reagan! Wow! I love when God shows such personal attention to our lives.

      “He gives us the stories. We write them. He does the rest.” That’s exactly how I approach it. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Krithika Rangarajan

    Bravo!

    Is it possible for your WHY to morph with time?

    Unlike most writers, I never put pen to paper for the first three decades of my life. I started writing at 32, and I regret not paying attention to my life for 32 years 🙁

    My WHY for now is just this: I write to make others smile and to make myself feel good about life.

    Evocative and energizing, your words never fail to massage my chaotic soul, Ms. Reid @HUGS

    Kitto

    • Cynthia Frazier Buck

      This is a great explanation! I too, didn’t take writing seriously for a very long time, even though I was always told I was good at it. And yes, I do think the “why” can morph!

      • ruthannereid

        Yes! In fact, I think maybe it has to morph as we ourselves change and grow.

    • ruthannereid

      I love it, Krithika! That’s a great set of reasons.

  • Sally Blodgett Wolfe

    Important question. For me, writing is a discovery and a means to plumb the depths of mind, heart, and spirit. I write to get to the core of meaning and shape it.

    • ruthannereid

      Excellent, Sally! I love this.

  • Renette Steele

    i have been told i don’t talk much about my real feelings, sounded pretty funny to someone who has been known her whole life as being a talker. Even have a couple good stories to tell about people getting me to be quiet. I write because i can be real on paper, i write to get my thoughts straight and i write because being creative and expressive make me thrive. Sometimes when i have shown my work to others it gets bad reviews and i won’t write for years but i miss it so much and always go back to it. Usually journaling at first then poetry. Lately i have been writing short story and have won a couple contest so now i write for me.

    • Cynthia Frazier Buck

      I’m a big believer in journaling too. I love it. Congrats on your contest wins! That’s great, and I imagine a great motivator. Keep on writing, even if it’s just for your eyes only!

    • ruthannereid

      These are beautiful reasons, Renette. Keep writing; don’t let the naysayers get you down. Congratulations on winning those contests!

  • David

    why do i write … because
    in this country … i have that right
    because … the pen has might
    more so than even a sword
    … can be the power of a written word
    i write even though … i’m not all that good
    does not preclude … the fact that i should
    and should one say that i shouldn’t … or couldn’t
    i might ask … why i wouldn’t
    why else do i write … despite the pen’s might
    despite the fact … my sight mightn’t be right
    but wait, my sight … ’tis but a point of view
    and might i remind you … that you have one too
    so why do i write … though i’m not that good
    though i risk the fact … i might be misunderstood
    ’cause somewhere inside … i think that i might
    despite my right … despite the pen’s might
    find in there … a story to write

    • Absolutely beautiful writing, David! I’m amazed you came up with this just from a prompt!

      • David

        Thanks, Reagan. Every now and then I get lucky …

    • Lulu

      Awesome – so much talent.

      • David

        Thank you, Lulu.

    • ruthannereid

      Oh, what a creative response!

  • Okay, it’s time for me to pick up one of your books, Ruthanne.

    Great post, truly. I usually only leave one or two lines in the comments about how awesome I think this site is – as I try to spend most of my time selfishly writing on my multiple projects, rather than actively being a part of the community – but I believe the appreciation is earned, and at this time, it’s all I can afford. Keep it up, PLEASE.

    • ruthannereid

      Wow, thank you, Vincent! This comment means a lot to me! Thank you so much for your response and encouragement. 🙂 (And I hope you enjoy the book!!)

  • Cynthia Frazier Buck

    I like to write because it’s a good creative outlet. I’m the kind of person who likes to be, and needs to be, creative. I may not do something creative every single day (even though I know I should write everyday) but I need creativity in my life.

    I like to come up with ideas and characters and make up a story. Anything I come up with is all mine. It doesn’t matter if anyone else ever sees it. I put in the time and effort and that’s all I need to know.

    I guess writing is kind of a quest of self discovery. Who knows what I could come up with? Writing could be a good way for me to find my voice. Do I have anything interesting to say? For a long time I’ve thought the answer to that was ‘no’. But who knows? I might find I do have something to say!

    I like to write because it’s just something I do for me. It makes me feel productive and important. I don’t do it to please anyone else. Truth be told, I’m probably my toughest critic anyway!

    Writing can at times be frustrating. Trying to come up with ideas and then execute them can be maddening. I need to vow to carve out time everyday to write. It’s the only way it’ll get easier. Even though I can get frustrated easily, I still enjoy it!

    • ruthannereid

      I like the way you see this, Cynthia! (And I think we’re all our toughest critics.)

      • Cynthia Frazier Buck

        Thanks, Ruthanne!

    • Cynthia – I love that you said “I like to write because it’s something I do for me.” I feel the exact same way. I feel a thrill and sense of accomplishment from writing that I don’t get doing anything else. I take great pride in looking at what I’ve written, no matter how rough it is, and I feel such joy at knowing that I’ve put something of myself down on paper.

      • Cynthia Frazier Buck

        Thanks, Lauren! You put it beautifully too!

    • Trudi McKinney

      This post is encouraging to me. You have a lot of the same thoughts about writing as I have. I like the sincere and real way that you describe.

  • Ruthanne,

    What a great post.

    I’ve never given much thought to why I write. It’s just been something I do. It’s not like breathing because I have sometimes gone for years without writing a word of fiction.

    But I have journaled regularly since December 1, 1989 and it has been a way to think through situations, explore options when making decisions, and just to vent.

    I suppose I had the same motivations for blogging when I started, but the primary reason I blog now is to help writers and artists avoid some of the miscues, misdirections, mistakes, and poor decisions I’ve lived through. When it comes to colored pencil art, I blog in order to provide other artists with the information I had to learn for myself.

    Knowing why I write fiction is more difficult to answer. At the moment, I agree in part with Reagan. It’s something I have to do. I’ve never heard a voice, but I have felt compelled to write and to use the gift I’ve been given.

    Beyond that, I don’t know. So I will be exploring the matter further.

    So although I thank you for the post itself, I am more thankful for raising the question. I’m sure I’m not the only one who doesn’t truly know why they write!

    • ruthannereid

      That’s a terrific answer, Carrie, and it’s clearly on its way to becoming even greater. I love that you can create art, as well! What a beautiful set of gifts.

  • Stacy Smith Aannestad

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for giving me permission to write for fun. That’s how I started, then I decided to “become a Real Writer” and it got complicated and difficult and everything dried up. Somehow it seemed “illegal” to go back to writing for fun. But that may be the only way to salvage this intense funk. So thank you for reminding me why I started writing in the first place — because I needed to write down the stories in my head that I wanted to read “on paper.”

    • ruthannereid

      Stacy, you are SO WELCOME. It took me years to figure that out, and I’m so glad I can throw a rope to anyone else stuck in that situation.

  • This is an absolutely wondeful post, Ruthanne, and thank you so much for quoting me in it, I’m honoured. This is a post every writer needs to bookmark!

    To the writers reading this, I’d like to add: It’s your duty to bring forth your ideas and to cherish it like they are your life. It’s your duty to write purely for the fact that it keeps you feeling creative, passionate and alive. If you decided not to bring your stories into being, no one else in this world would. No one else could. And that’s a damn good reason to stick at it.

    Blessings,
    Stephanie Lennox

    • ruthannereid

      Thank you, Stephanie! Your quote was just perfect.

  • Helene

    I’ve always wanted to write, but no one gave me permission. No one mentioned writing to me, no one mentored me.
    And then one day I woke up and thought I had a book bubbling up in me. One I wanted to write, but was told not to do it.
    So, a few years later, I decided I’d like to write something, anything. And I did, some short stories, a very few poems, and now I’m giving myself permission to write. I want to learn how to write a book. I am letting others read my writing. Maybe I should be writing stories about my life, but first I want to try to write a book. I don’t care if anyone reads it, loves it, hates it. I want to do this for me.
    Later, I’ll write the stories of my life, which might be more interesting. Maybe.
    I am a writer, finally I can say that and mean it

    • ruthannereid

      Helene, these are fantastic reasons. What a journey for you! I’m so glad you’re following that urge.

      • Helene

        Yes, Ruthanne, t’s a huge journey for me, and truth be told, I wonder now why I didn’t do it 30 years ago.
        But, I’m doing it now, and that’s all that counts.
        Thanks for your huge support, it means a lot to me.

  • Carrie

    Why I write…
    I can’t see myself doing anything else. I loved crafting stories as a kid and that adventurous spirit continues to live within me. I love words and creating stories, stories that help, encourage, inspire, and teach others. I’m a reserved person, so writing is the way I feel most comfortable expressing myself.

    • ruthannereid

      I hear you, Carrie! I’m an introvert, and I definitely find it easier to speak in the written word than other ways. 🙂

  • I think Charles Bukowski put it best: “Writing keeps you alive because it eases the monsters in the brain by moving them to paper. The listing of horrors seems regenerative, and often comes out in the writing as a form of joy or humor. The typewriter often sings soothing songs to the sadness in the heart. It’s wondrous.”

    The “monsters in the brain” are why I write. 🙂

    • ruthannereid

      You go, Natalie! Kick those monsters in the butt. 😉

  • Randy Rebecca Krusee

    To encourage others… http://www.rebeccakrusee.com

    • ruthannereid

      Thanks for the link, Randy! (Or is it Rebecca?)

  • Lulu

    I recently found this website and I’ve really enjoyed all the prompts and wisdom as my writing unfolds. I love this particular post, as I clearly see from it, that I write for myself. I still feel torn because I have a very small blog that I created to get my thoughts onto paper. My “audience” (of about a dozen friends), scares the crap out of me, but I push myself because somehow, just journalling or saving as a word document doesn’t have the same feel as completing a blogpost. Writing allows me to clarify what I’m thinking and cement in the insights that I get from reading, & listening – and just living. If I don’t write it down, I trick myself and say “I’ll remember this”, but I DON’T. When I curate a blog article, I get to fully explore a topic, and tease out what are my insights and takeaways – and what it means to me, or what I am going to do differently because of it.

    To have the title or identification of “Writer” still feels weird. Everybody who has the privilidge of learning to write at school can write. I don’t feel I have any particular story to tell or any great revelations – just the lessons I am learning in my own life and I am writing them down for me. Am I a Writer? I don’t know. Is it my own insecurities that is stopping me from owning that role of Writer. Maybe I think that to call myself a Writer, I need to make my living from writing. Hmmm. Maybe I’m a writer, like I identify myself as a reader or a yoga enthusiast, it is a hobby that brings me happiness. My 15 minutes is up, and I’ve proven my own point because, I have learned something about myself, just by writing about the topic – amazing.

    • David

      Well, Lulu, you’ve made it further (or is it farther) than me because I’m still THINKING about starting a blog and much for the same reasons as you mentioned. For me, the digital age has made it easier to write more because I was never consistent trying the pen and paper version of journalling over all these years. Yet still, I have a whole bunch of WORD files on my computer just sitting there doing nothing. Like you, I struggle calling myself a “writer” but I keep pressing on …

      • ruthannereid

        It’s scary, I know. I called myself a “writer,” but hesitated over “author” – and yet authoring posts and stories is exactly what earns that title!

        Keep pressing on, David!

    • ruthannereid

      What a wonderful response! Thank you for being so vulnerable, Lulu. It really resonates with me.

      And for the record: you are a writer.

  • Perfectly put, Ruthanne. I think one major reason why writers write is also to capture life. This might sound vague, but I think it goes hand in hand with writing for the sake of the story and beauty. Life is such a messy and beautiful thing, and it goes on and on without us really having anything to hold on to. Writing helps us figure things out.

    • ruthannereid

      Thank you, Camilla! That is a FANTASTIC reason to write, and I think it’s one of the most important. It does help us figure things out (sometimes even the scary things).

  • Ruth

    Thanks for a terrific post, Ruthanne!

    • ruthannereid

      My pleasure, Ruth! I’m glad you found it helpful.

  • Pingback: Why Do You Write? | Steph H. Barker – The Road to Creativity()

  • Great post. Thanks for the reminder and the inspiration! On a good day, this is an easy question to answer. On a bad day—when the words won’t come but the rejections won’t stop—it can be difficult to remember why we write.

    I think I’m going to take a moment and write down a personal answer to, Why do you write? I’m going to tease it out, write it longhand, and pin it to my bulletin board. So I’ll never forget.

    • ruthannereid

      Thank you, Victoria! I know exactly what you’re talking about; writing can be a hard business, and there are a lot of rejections to push through. I’m so happy to hear you’re going to write out the answer and pin it to your board.

      Keep writing, Victoria!

  • marimed

    I write because only then, I feel beautiful, I feel confident, I feel smart, I feel creative, I feel free, I feel me. I’m not creative, nor am I smart, I am also not very good with words. I have never published a book, or even wrote an article for a newspaper. The only things I wrote are school essays, beginnings of stories I never finished at least not on paper, or a diary, every now and then. But still, I like to call myself a WRITER, to believe that someday, I will publish books and be called an author, someday I would change someone’s life through my words, and paint a smile on someone’s face, someday.

    • ruthannereid

      Thanks so much for your openness in this response! You ARE a writer, no question there. Being published doesn’t change that. I’m really glad to hear how confident it helps you feel. You’ve put a smile on my face today.

      Keep writing!

  • Claire

    Great post with great quotes, Ruthanne! A very timely and relevant topic that gives much food for thought. Thanks for the inspirational words.

    • ruthannereid

      Thank you, Claire! I’m so glad it helped you!

  • I am preparing for my wedding since last October. The big day is on this coming October.
    I am also trying to start a side business, and at the meantime doing my day job as a sales executive.

    With so many things on my mind, I write to ‘see’ my thoughts, worries, concerns, all on paper. On paper, they can’t escape after harassing me.

    I’ll round them up, cell them up on the google calendar, then execute them one by one.

    I write because it give a certain degree of control.
    I love being in control.
    Until the block hits me.

    Then I procrastinate.
    Until the bastards come harassing me again.
    And so I expose them on paper again, cell them…

    The cycle continues…

    • ruthannereid

      Congratulations, Ralph! I just celebrated my ninth anniversary. 🙂

      I know all about that block – it gives me black eyes all the time.

      Keep breaking out of the cycle. Keep writing! I’m really glad you have that outlet.

      • wow 9 years!
        I often wonder what makes a marriage/relationship last.

  • I started writing as a teen because growing up suffering the abuse I was suffering when everything was out of my control writing was in my control. And I guarded it with my very life.

    • Candace Mason Dwyer

      Hi, Debra, I buried my abuse, too. Writing poetry focusing outside of myself and seeing beauty in the world, in flowers, trees, season, puppies, kittens, ducks and geese! I didn’t expose the abuse and name the abusers until 2002 in my masters thesis.

      Thank you for sharing, Candace

    • ruthannereid

      Thanks for being so open, Debra. That’s a powerful story! I’m really, really glad that you had that outlet, and that you’re brave enough now to show it. Your story deserves to be told!

  • Candace Mason Dwyer

    Hi, I am really reluctant to join your discussion. But, your article was just what I needed to read. Yesterday, I read my first chapter to 4 women I thought I was safe to share with.
    I came away carrying a lot of shrapnel. What I thought was a support group was not. One very authoritative member of the group named my work as “a bossum ripper.” Of course, during the reading, she sat pick at her chair arm and looking around the room. I was not expecting fawning and applause, I did expect support for my avocation. Instead I was questioned as to my credentials to write a novel.
    I went back to college at 48 to finish a degree. I absolutely fell in love with research and essays to the point of doing them when I didn’t need the grade.
    I got a M.A. in Pastoral Studies from a seminary to work in the Catholic church as a Director of Religious Ed. I took me 3 years to burn and crash.
    Now, I am back sitting in the middle of 200 acres craving research papers and studies. That’s Why I Write. At 70 I need to express the colors of life and the kaleidoscope of emotions. I yearn to learn. That’s why I have started a Medieval Romance novel. Thank you for your time and space.
    Candace

    • ruthannereid

      Candace, I am so sorry you went through that. That’s a painful, horrible experience, and one I can relate to, unfortunately.

      I’m so proud of you for not giving up on writing. Do it! Those folks may not be the ones who can appreciate what you do, but you have nothing to be ashamed of.

      You keep writing. You’re not alone. In time, you’ll find people who understand and can support you – but in the meantime, you don’t have to let naysayers rip you to shreds. That isn’t constructive criticism!

      200 acres – wow!! I’m so glad you have a beautiful place to recuperate.

      Thank you for sharing this!

      • Candace Mason Dwyer

        Thank you, Ruthann, My daughter was ready to scalp my “friend.” So I was able to defuse some of the shell shock. Again, thank you for your article and your support for a shadow writer.
        Candace

    • I need to express the colors of life and kaleidoscope of emotion. How beautiful a description of words ……and I’m sorry you came away with shrapnel to your work .. A writers words are a peace of one’s soul….

  • ksqasey

    Such a wonderful post. Thank you! My motivation for writing is two fold. First, I began writing as a release, so in a way, I found myself through writing. With that in mind, I write for others to feel they have a ally somewhere in this world–stories in which they can find themselves and know they are not alone.

    • ruthannereid

      I’m so glad to see this comment. Thank you for sharing your experience! This is a terrific one-two punch toward any doubt.

  • taecelle

    Hi! That’s a really important post. I started to write when i was 15 and it was a horrible fanfiction) I wrote because i didn’t want to say goodbye to the heroes, that I loved. But then I noticed, that I invent new characters and new sories, my own. So I decided that I can try and write a story, that will be truly mine. That’s how it all started 9 years ago.
    I think that I write because I want to create. I need this feeling – a feeling of creator. I can write one book and dream about next ones – because it’s so wondelful!

    • This is a lovely thought! I too have been reluctant to say goodbye to heroes I loved from stories I read, but had never thought I could write my own stories about them. I love that this feeling you had prompted you to become a writer.

    • ruthannereid

      Taecelle, that’s fantastic! I got started in fanfiction, too. I’m so glad you’re taking that next step! You can do it!

      • taecelle

        Thank you very much, Ruthannereid! I never have a thought to return to fanfiction again, because it’s really a different kind of fun – creation of your own book. Now I have three behind, my 4th (first draft) is waiting for a revision and I hope to finish my 5th in next two weeks)) Also try to start my own writing blog, but there are only 24 hours in a day(

  • You ask why I write…and I’ve been spending the last few months why I haven’t been writing this whole time. I’ve loved telling stories and writing stories since I was a kid. It was always something that came easy to me and that I always enjoyed doing. I always got the best grades on my creative writing assignments. In fact, one of the very, very few college papers I got an A on was a Sherlock Holmes story I wrote for a British History class. I did pretty average on every other paper in that class, but for this one, the professor handed me mine back last on purpose so she could tell me how much she liked it. But I thought nothing of it.

    I let my inner critic get to me. Even though I wanted to pursue writing more seriously after college, I talked myself out of it. How was it going to pay the bills? For years since then, I’ve felt a creative hole in my life that I didn’t know how to fill. Then a few months back, I had an epiphany. I’ve had all these stories inside me for years, just kicking around, looking for a way out. So I just started writing them down. And what happened was amazing. I discovered an imagination that I didn’t know existed, and a voice that yearned to be heard.

    Now I know not just that I want to write, but that I NEED to. It makes me feel important and invincible and free, and you just can’t beat that.

    • ruthannereid

      Oh, that inner critic! I hate that guy. 😀 Mine is really loud, too.
      Lauren, I’m so, SO glad that you’re writing (and that you joined Becoming Writer). There’s nothing quite like that moment of finding freedom in doing what you’re meant to do – what your heart NEEDS to do. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • Nice post. I get so tired of reading all the cliché reasons why someone writes. You’re right they don’t hold up on those days when you don’t feel like a writer. It certainly made me think about it. Thanks!

    • ruthannereid

      I’m so glad to hear that, Andrea! I know I’ve had to face up to that question more than once. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • ruthannereid

    YES! That makes two of us, Tom. I love your experience and thoughts here; it’s amazing what the act of writing can do, both for us, and for others.

  • ruthannereid

    Erin, that is a fantastic reason! I love it! That sounds like you’ve already wrestled a lot of this question out, and I’m so glad to see it!

  • The quest I usually get i, “What do you write?” and not “Why do you write?” Generally, i avoid telling people I am a writer. It wasn’t so bad when I lived in New York City, but in my hometown… My answer is always, “I write about things that fascinate me or piss me off.”

    I was surprised not to see my reason for writing on your list. I write because people fascinate me. People are stories and stories are people; and there so many of them out there. I write them down to entertain other people who are also fascinated by people.

    • ruthannereid

      I absolutely love that, Cynthia! People really are fascinating, I agree (it’s the reason I’m studying for a Masters in Counseling). That’s a fantastic reason to write.

  • Trudi McKinney

    I write because God told me to. I have an undisciplined thought life, and writing helps me to wrangle it. When I have a bitter and unforgiving thought toward someone, writing it down is like putting it on a chopping block. It gets cut up and destroyed never to return. Then there are the good thoughts. I wonder where they go when they leave. They must go somewhere, but its a shame not to keep them.

    • ruthannereid

      Trudi, that’s a wonderful reason to write! And if it helps, the good thoughts don’t leave. They get planted, and if watered, will grow in you.

      • Trudi McKinney

        Thank you. That does help.

  • Orson

    Why do I write?

    The reasons are not that nuanced for me. Well, perhaps they can be, insofar as one reason tries to gain dominance over another at almost anytime while being mood-dependent.

    I write to feel as if I can contribute to something that opens minds. I remember the feeling I
    got as a child when I unlocked the wonder of books which I read and though, at that time, I was admittedly reluctant to answering the call of writing often, I knew the power words have over us and our faculties and our hearts.

    I write to record events, discoveries and thoughts – both introspective and contemplative. It’s therapeutic toil.

    Most of all, I enjoy the breathing some – if not all – of my interests, fascinations, and aspects of myself into the writing I do and experiencing the fullness of having made it through the process of generation to culmination and finalization. It’s not easy, but there’s such a rewarding feeling to light up at least one person’s face with the work in which I pour my efforts.

    • ruthannereid

      I agree! When even ONE person gets it, suddenly, all the work is worthwhile.

  • Harsha Tammireddy

    The thought of writing and making a career out of it came to me when i was studying in high school. That was the time when i had to decide what to do with my life,i was lost not having any clarity. Then like everyone says we must do what we love the most,i thought of what was the thing that i liked the most,only one thing came to my mind that are stories.since my childhood i was fascinated by stories whether it may be books,movies,anime or anything related it.From that time i was giving it a thought and writing stories by taking some prompts.For me i write for both myself and for the sake of story,when write it feels like i am alive,as mentioned above i will be appreciating the world around me and feels like this is what i am.When i read something awsome also i will have this urge to replicate something that beautiful and tell it to the readers
    But for me i write mainly for myself.for my sense of existence.

    • ruthannereid

      That’s beautiful! It sounds like the same reason we might read – that beauty and connection and sense of self. Wonderful!

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  • Juhi

    I write because it let’s me create a world of my own. Because this world has things going the way I want them to go. Because my body goes into adventure mode when I sit down to write – I get knots in my stomach that make me rush to the restroom! Because giving birth to my own beautiful sentences makes me proud. Because I can be the hero in my stories, all the quirks intact. Because there is magic in my words; I have a talent that I don’t notice in everyone. Because imagining readers laughing and crying over my books beats all my other fantasies. Because I love books and I want to make one of my own – like how you taste a delicious chocolate souffle and ask how its made so you can do it at home.

    • ruthannereid

      I love it, Juhi! I get a rush when I write, too – like I’ve left this plane entirely. 🙂

  • Madeleine Palmer

    Why do I write? The first thing that comes to mind is the urge to release the thoughts from the swirling whirlpool of my mind. When there is so much up there swimming around, being tossed sideways and upwards until you can’t distinguish one from the next. Writing them out, one thought at a time, into an organised, concise manner allows my mind to breathe a sigh of relief and feel free once again. No more overcrowding, no more emotions fighting each other. Calm.

    After that, I write because there is something satisfying about putting into words onto paper what can be difficult to communicate in conversation. No distraction, no arrogant opposition. Just you, being able to say what you want, need to say. The longer I write like this, the clearer it becomes to me what I truly think, even if I didn’t realise it at the start. All of the above leads to a Maddie more sure of herself, of her direction, of her place in society and the world. It gives a confidence, then as the pen goes down a satisfied feeling that everything is ‘figured out’ and there’s a bounce in the step that wasn’t there before.

    Lastly, the mental stimulation and satisfaction of finding the words and structuring of sentences so that you communicate just so. Whether a pen and paper, it all being done as it comes to you, no editing, or on a laptop and perfecting it so it’s exactly as you imagined it. Seeing your words in concrete, not having them float away in a wisp of air the moment someone else speaks. Writing leaves a part of yourself behind, be it for yourself or for others. Something no one can take away.

    • ruthannereid

      This is beautiful, Madeleine. Knowing your reasons must help you with real direction and purpose as you create!

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