There are no perfect or ideal reasons to write, despite what you may have been led to believe. We just think that there are. We tend to accept what we hear in interviews with successful writers as gospel. We develop a sense that those who have “made it” must have developed the correct formula. This is because writers often forget that this is not an exact science.
Hearing or reading about one writer’s successful method doesn’t identify the absolute finite solution. We think that because they were successful by writing each morning from 5:00am for three hours, we will succeed by doing the same thing. So when a writer tells an interviewer that they write because they have something to share about a particular topic or because they experienced a traumatic event and must tell their story, we think these should be our answers too.
In my years of writing I have heard numerous reasons for why people write, but the most compelling one, the one that seems to be at the core of the most persistent (and often most successful) writers, is that they write because they love it. Love eating ice-cram or swimming in the ocean or savouring a perfect glass Shiraz, these writers write because it feels good.
This doesn’t mean that they don’t struggle with character development or language choice. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they have a wonderful time each day they sit down to write. It certainly doesn’t mean that they exist in a world of unrelenting inspiration.
In fact, when writing feels good it means that something at some point in the process, sparks something exhilarating inside them. This feeling may come from the almost Zen-like serenity of participating in hard work, or the simple satisfaction of guiding a pen over paper, or the wonder of seeing something blossom where there had once been nothing. It may indeed come from the worldly revelations encountered during exploration and research of material, or the psychic link that appears after two disparate elements combine to form a totally perfect metaphor. Perhaps it is derived from the delight that permeates as some form of latent humour is crafted on the page, or the sheer gratification that carries us through the day after creating something so emotionally charged it brings tears to the eyes.
The truth is, it can come from a million directions, but as long as it comes, the writer inside us will keep writing. Then there are the other reasons we hear about but may not apply to us directly. I want to write because I; have something to say; want to stick it to my ex-wife or mother; lived an exciting life and I want to document it; want to see my name in print.
All of these and many other reasons may be valid incentives to begin the journey to become a writer. Almost anything could serve that role; boredom; taking a writing class; proving ourselves to those who doubt us. In reality, the reason why we start is rarely the reason that we continue. Whatever your reasons, and I am sure you have plenty, grasp hold of them tightly and draw your energy and inspiration from them. The single most important reason to write is quite simply because you have the desire.
What are your reasons for writing? Have you been inspired by someone or something? Why did you become a writer? Tell us your story so that we can compile a list of the top ten reasons why people write.