Why Do You Write?

I have had interviews and read interviews that pose this question. Having borne witness to a number of answers that go something like I cannot envision life without writing, writing is in my soul, writing is who I am, etc., I decided not to include that question in my interviews.

I have some bad news for you. The world does not care a whit who you are. You are one voice among billions. Go ahead and declare yourself to the world. You will find the world indifferent.

Neither do I find such an answer very illuminating.  It tells me nothing of interest. Perhaps the fault lies in the question itself.

I think people who write do so because they want to touch other people in some way. We write to produce a specific effect upon the reader. We wish to entertain, inform, elevate, comfort, titillate, fascinate, delight, provoke, or frighten. We wish to put in the hands of readers (whom we will likely never meet) a vehicle for escape from the shackles, worries, and obsessions of their own lives.

If we can do that with words we wrote, then we have done something for the world. We have accomplished something. We have made a difference—not because of who we are, but because of what we do and how we do it.

Now you know what I want to know. So tell me in the comments below: Why do you write?

Author: Stephen Hise

Stephen Hise is the Evil Mastermind and founder of Indies Unlimited. Hise is an independent author and an avid supporter of the indie author movement. Learn more about Stephen at his website or his Amazon author page.

20 thoughts on “Why Do You Write?”

  1. I write because I need it. For me, writing is my escape when I feel bad. I am not a published author, yet. Why not? Because till now I just write for myself. But it is true, if I write to be published, it will be because I want people to feel what I feel while pouring my words in the pages.

  2. I write because it fulfills a need for self-actualization. It feels good to do something I know I'm good at. I also write because the damned stories in my head have to go somewhere.

    I share my writing to connect with others and to engender some sort of response. It's cool when words I write can make someone else laugh or cry, when they get angry at a character for being a jerk or feel empathy for one whose life isn't going so well.

  3. Why do you breathe?

    Because without writing, I would not be alive. It is the only thing I have ever wanted to do. As a weaver of stories I cannot express why I write. So I return to my original question. Why do you breathe?

  4. I think some people write because they want to teach. I think that might be my case. I'm not sure. I am sure that I find that question incredibly annoying.

  5. I write because it's fun. I write mysteries, and I love the plotting, twisting, labyrinth of words that have to confuse as well as make sense to the reader. So I also write for the challenge.

    I write because I love when people tell me they laughed out loud at a part that I specifically hoped people would find funny. (It's rather depressing if they find the serious parts funny, but that's happened too.)

    I also write because I want to make a living at it. I want readers to find enough value in my work that they are willing to compensate me for the effort I took in bringing them the best product I could deliver.

  6. How refreshing, Stephen. I do not like that kind of statement either.

    I write for money. Because people ask me to. Because it's work I can do at home with my hair standing on end, with an endless supply of tea that doesn't cost the earth or taste of institutional urns.

    I write because I once casually said, at a cocktail party, that I was a writer, for lack of something better to say. So I had to write something. Darn. That something was published. Oh ho – that was the beginning of something.

    I write because they asked me to lecture in Creative Writing… and one must have written something. Something decent… prizewinning stuff. Okay.

    I write because I've won a clutch of prizes, so I need material on which to place that fact. And support it.

    I write because the kids think their mother is an author. Must keep up appearances. They tell their teachers and librarians, so they look at me strangely when I appear, and they ask me to address classes. Can't do that without having written books.

    I write because I've now published almost everything I've ever written, so I need more, because I enjoy turning it all into books. Now THAT's really fun.

    I don't want to educate the world or document the human condition… but what else is there to do. Really?

  7. One author once said that writing is like tasting life twice. The good, the bad, the ugly…when I throw it at my characters, I can relive, redesign, reinvent, redeem. Yes, that part is selfish. So is the fact that writing is like a pressure valve for me. Without it, I become really crabby. But i get to tell people's stories, maybe those who otherwise would have no voice. I try to make sense (or just explain) what made a character do something that hurt the people in his or her life. Of course it doesn't change the past, but I hope I can give readers something that will help them put the events of their own lives, and a dose of humor doesn't hurt, either. We all need escape.

  8. I write for the stories. I worked as a reporter for many years and saw myself as a hunter of stories as much as a "journalist". My family is from the South and I grew up listening to stories and learned to appreciate the telling as much as the details. That's why I like fiction writing. As someone who spent decades digging for "facts" I can tell you that there's more truth in well-written fiction than in many news accounts. Oh, and making a living at it is also a good thing.

  9. I write as a survival skill. I've always had a running commentary going on in my head about what happens round me and I get through the day by turning it into a story. When I realised those stories made other people laugh, I started writing them down. Now I also write because people nag.

  10. I write, therefore I am.

    In different seasons of my life I have written for different reasons. I have always written poetry. It just wells up. But, when I was in the Navy, I wrote because no one else was willing to write the recommendations for people who deserved the rewards. As I got older I wrote as a hobby. And because it was a challenge to write stories.

    And then, I wrote for my English Literature classes when I was in my late 30s and realized that I had a talent for writing. Now I write because it is a great job. I would do it anyway. It is something that is enjoyable and challenging. I don't have the energy to do anything else. And it is a great way to travel on the cheap.

    But the real reason I write? Because when I try to NOT write, I find that life becomes impossible. Meaning is stripped from my life and the world goes gray.


  11. I agree with everything you said, Stephen, except perhaps this sentence: "We have made a difference—not because of who we are, but because of what we do and how we do it."

    I agree that what we do and how we do it are essentials parts of the process; however, "who we are" defines what we do and how we do it. Of course, I realize that you meant it perhaps in a more worldly way.

    I write because it is an essential part of my being. It is the one expression in life where I feel totally connected with the real essence of who I am. If I am stressed, discouraged, or in pain, writing takes me to a peaceful place. Writing is my meditation.

  12. I write to take a journey. The characters take over my reality and take me places I haven't been before. My hope is that others will also enjoy the journey as they read the stories. I like to enjoy life and help others enjoy theirs as well. Writing opens the doors to imaginations.

  13. Writing seems to be something I must do. There were times in my life when I was too busy; and frankly, that time in my left felt pretty empty. I had no characters talking to me, no story to keep my mind busy, and it felt bad.

    Now that I'm retired, I can let my muse run free. Yes, I still have responsibilities, but more of my time can be spent creating new worlds, living dreams, and actually enjoying life. Now I can look up and see the sun rise, and in my mind, I'm trying to accurately describe it. Writing is an exercise in mental gymnastics–the more you use it, the more flexible it becomes.

  14. I came to writing VERY late. But I am glad it found me. Writing is the one place where I can express myself in the best way possible. It is liberating in a way that I cannot describe. Since writing I am more me than I have ever been. It has allowed me to connect with people in ways I had not dreamed of. It fills a void I had not been able to identify before I began.

  15. I write because I want to share. My husband and I sailed around the world for eight years and visited 62 countries. It seems just too big of an adventure to come home and forget about it. This is how the series, "In Search of Adventure and Moments of Bliss" came to be.

    I write because I want to convince my readers to pursue their own passions, to live their dreams instead of dreaming their lives away.

    And I write because I love to talk about our adventures and motivate others. To speak, one should be an author, right?

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