Why do you write?
I’m sure you’ve asked yourself this question countless times before. Or maybe others have sought an answer from you because they were curious, or wanted to feel inspired.
You might be tempted to answer “logically.” You’re good with words, so you managed to turn a hobby into a career. You want to help people. You don’t want your ability to communicate clearly to go to waste.
At least, when you’re having a good day.
When you aren’t, you might not have much of an answer for yourself or those querying. You might wonder if you should even be writing at all.
The truth is, there are only a few things that turn a hopeful aspiring writer into a successful, productive novelist, journalist, screenwriter, or blogger.
One of those things is that for them, writing is something they do out of both want and need.
If you’re convinced you write because it’s practical or beneficial or it pleases others, take a moment to consider that maybe there doesn’t always have to be a reason for everything you do.
Don’t do it because it might launch your career.
Don’t do it because everyone else is.
Don’t do it because those close to you expect you to do it, or would be disappointed if you didn’t.
Do it because you want to.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to respond to the “why are you a writer” question with “because I want more excuses to write.” It’s not at all a stable career path, the chances of a six-figure income are next to none, and sometimes it feels like everyone else is already doing what I’m trying to.
I write because it feels good. Because it’s who I am. Because I. Just. Want. To.
We don’t always need a “good” reason for doing what we like to do. Before I’d officially decided to try making a career out of writing, I’d actually get annoyed when people assumed I wanted to be “the next JK Rowling” or whatever. No! Was I not allowed to write simply because it gave me life? Joy? A purpose?
If you ever find yourself unhappy with your job, too preoccupied to enjoy your writing time, dealing with darkness even words can’t fix, then you need one last thread of hope to hold onto. And that has to be, when nothing else is there, the fact that you write because you want to tell stories and make the world a better place while doing it.
Above all else, write because it matters to you. Whether or not you can turn it into a source of income, join a community, and delight your family and friends doesn’t matter if the thing that ultimately drives you is that you couldn’t stop writing even if you tried.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.
22 thoughts on “Do It Because You Want To”
I completely agree with you! I started writing recently- or blogging- and I love it! It’s such a contrast to my other side of my life with work and family commitments. I can and am allowed to be creative and to use my imagination- and hopefully inspire people and convince them to join my challenges just because they will make you and other people feel good! Great post.
Thanks so much! And welcome to the wonderful world of doing your best to write good stuff. ;)
Great post! I write because it just makes me burst with happiness, and in a world full of stresses it is wonderful to have such an escape. Love this blog x
Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts. :)
As always this was a very wise and inspiring post Meg. I did use to ask myself why I write because I spend so much time writing on my blog and commenting on other posts but not bringing any money in. I decided that money isn’t the most important thing because I enjoy this. Writing makes me feel good and I find what I share makes others feel good as well and that is enough for me. Thank you for always bring light to my thoughts!
I’m so glad you’ve found something that makes you feel good :) If it makes you happy, then it’s worth pursuing!
Thank you so much Meg! I must agree with you, finding something that brings happiness in this crazy world is always worth pursuing!!
Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
Check out this post from the Novelty Revisions blog on why you should Do It Because You Want To
Ah the old Wants and Needs thing. That’s defines my problem exactly. I want. But Need seems to have fallen into the apathy drawer. Great article.
Thanks! :) I totally get it. Sometimes things get in the way and you have to pick and choose what’s most important in the moment.
I write because it allows me to experience the fullness of my humanity, and because I want to. Thank you for your post.
Reblogged this on Art by Rob Goldstein and commented:
from Meg Dowell
Yes! I love it!
I’m so glad! :)
Reblogged this on Anna Dobritt — Author.
I write because the stories take control.
Strange how when I need to hear something most, suddenly it pops up on my feed. I have written sporadically the past month, even blog posts because life’s intervened so much, but I’m so miserable with my work life I really need to put forth that effort into writing again.
I used to want to write, then I let other things take me away from it, thinking it was impractical to spend all my time trying to be a writer. I just need to spend my time getting better at it and actually write, everything else be damned. Too long I’ve been a slave to “being practical,” which has kept me broke, anyway.
Yes, I want to make money, but I want to contribute something that makes people think or makes them laugh or have a good day, whatever, more than the money I could make, because buying more crap isn’t making me feel better anyway… and my own words out there in the Ether is a step out of the house and on to a new life.
Again, glad I read this, because I sure as hell needed it today.
I’m so glad you found this right when you needed it. :) Always remember that making money writing always comes later. Always. You have to find a constant source of motivation that will keep you writing even when the money isn’t great or it’s non-existent, because in the end, if you aren’t content with what you’re writing every day/week, you’re never going to be able to stick with it no matter how much money’s coming in. I believe in you, you can do it!
Reblogged this on .
Writing is a funny thing. At first I wrote out of frustration, there were stories I wanted to read and I couldn’t find them, so I decided I would write them myself. Later it became a form of ego trip, creating entire worlds. Gradually it grew into a kind of measure of myself, something I had been working at for so long that the outcome demonstrated what I was capable of.
But underneath all the other reasons, there is the simple fact that while it’s sometimes hard, it’s never been something I’ve chosen to stop. Somehow the difficulty never overwhelms whatever drives me to do it, and sometimes, just sometimes, it soothes me, as nothing else can.
I actually feel the exact same way. For me, it’s never been about feeling like I needed or wanted to quit, but feeling that I wasn’t writing the “right” things. Writing is such a deep part of my existence that I honestly don’t know if I could go on existing without it.
Well said! Dido