WHY do you write?


Image courtesy of Jonas Lowgren from Flickr Creative Commons

Why do you write? What’s your motivation?

Are your reasons good? Is your motivation proper?

Or, perhaps another way to ask it: are there any bad reasons for writing?

I believe there are. Probably lots.

For money? I can’t say this is a bad reason altogether.

But if you’ve never been published and you think that writing will make you rich…I’ve got some bad news for you.

The most common bad reason for writing is because you want to see your name on the cover of a book.

Not all self-publishing is bad, but this kind really is. You’ll know a self-published book by its stock photo on the front cover behind the author’s name written in huge font, and a larger-than-life photo of the author occupying the entire back cover. It’s not called “vanity publishing” for nothing.

You’ll also know that it’s self-published because the “author” is trying to shove a free copy into your hand. That’s their payment: seeing the impressed look on your face when you notice that the picture on the back matches the face in front of you.

“Oh, you’re an author!”

“Why, yes. Yes, I am.”

[For other thoughts on bad reasons to write see my blog entry How to know if you are a writer.]

So are there any good reasons to write? [I fear there are more bad reasons than good ones.]

I believe the best reason to write is because you’re convinced you have something worth saying. I really think it’s that simple.

Does this describe you?

You write because you can’t help it. You can’t stop. You can’t NOT write. Your ideas consume you and you must capture them.

Another good reason might be contained in the quotation from my dear friend, Milo Self:

“Writing means capturing your thoughts on paper so others can think them.”

So, why do YOU write?


2 responses to “WHY do you write?

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