Why I Write

I was thinking the other day that I have come into contact with some great people in the writing blogosphere within the past few months and I’ve been graced with their comments and visits here. It got me thinking that I believe I have engrossed myself pretty deep into the writing universe and I think I keep up fairly well given that I have a full-time job I go to every day. I wonder though: What am I? Am I a writer? What exactly is a writer? Even more importantly, why do I write?

These questions are all pretty powerful and I think that most people can’t answer them too easily or without a story of an encounter with a book or a great class they took at a school somewhere. I don’t have much of an answer either. I’ve written a novel. Does that make me a writer or just someone who’s written a book? Is there a ‘requirement’ to getting a certain status? Perhaps I need to be published or work a full-time job in the writing industry in order to earn that label.

I think of why I write and I don’t have a clear answer. I remember as a kid I read a whole bunch and was really interested in reading. I guess this is how every writer starts out. Unfortunately that is where it stopped for me. Required books for grade-school classes turned me off because I hated the stories so much. I pretty much stopped reading books at the 4th grade. For whatever reason, I began writing and finding a muse around the time of high school and I thought it was interesting that I was someone who showed some writing ability but didn’t read. Many people I told this to were baffled as well.

You would think that most people who write are bookworms and I didn’t fit that mold as well. Growing up I was into sci-fi, hockey and music. Computers fit in there as well and I did spend many days knee-deep in MS Word getting stories down on ‘paper’. All through high school and most of college, I read only required books, and even then I skimmed them or hit up Yahoo (there was no Google yet) for summaries.

Looking back now, I think that I think I write because I have something to say. I have ideas that seem like they would interest others. They get me excited and I want to share that. I’m sure my lack of reading history does affect my writing skill. I don’t know many tecniques and I don’t know different plot devices, but I do believe that a good story is a good story.

Why do you write? What makes you spend huge amounts of time in front of a computer or notebook and get words down on the page? I’d love to know.


  1. I like this post.

    I hear many people say that they write because they must. It’s like breathing. I’ve never felt that.

    I’ve been a reader all my life. As a young child I remember saying that I’d have my name on a cover of a book. I thought it was cool. That was my motivation. It wasn’t to change the world, it was to see if I could actually do it.

    Now my name is on a cover of a nonfiction book. So I said to myself, “I wonder if I can get my name on the cover of a fiction book.” I challenged myself and began writing fiction.

    So that’s my motivation: to see if I can pull it off.

  2. “…but I do believe that a good story is a good story.”

    And a good story doesn’t always make a good book. I bring this up because I beta read a book and the writer ask me if I liked the story. I did. The story was interesting. I told him that.

    What I didn’t tell him is that the story doesn’t make a good book. It’s a good story to tell at parties (his book is based on true events).

    Now you may ask why I didn’t tell him that it doesn’t make a good book. Fair question. Because that’s not my job as a beta.

  3. I think the single best way to define a writer is that a writer writes. They keep at it. Maybe they stop for a while – a few months – a few years – but as long as they keep coming back, as long as they continue to feel that urge to write, they’re writers.

    That’s what makes the difference. Desire + persistence.

    I started writing because I wanted to read books that I couldn’t find anywhere. And then I kept writing because it was magical. Now I write because it makes me happy, and I can’t stop, and I feel this is what I’m supposed to do.

  4. I like Creative A’s description. I think a lot of people write, but not all of those are writers. I think it takes self-discipline and stamina to be a writer rather than if you just write as a hobby.

  5. Once upon a time, I used to have the romantic definition of a writer in my mind’s eye. You know the one I mean, the man with unruly hair scrawling away at a piece of paper in a dimly lit, smoky room with his brow furrowed and surrounded by a silence so loud that he can hear what it’s saying. Nearby, a Persian cat sits oh-so-importantly on a ragged pillow amid several crumpled bits of paper and stacks of books.

    Of course all that shattered when I became a writer and learned the business side of the profession. Really, to me, a writer is someone who sits on the sidelines of people but understands them enough to create whole new worlds around them.

    I suppose that’s still a somewhat romantic view of the profession, but hey, I’m a struggling idealist. And I write because I choose to. If I ignore the stores I think of, I don’t think anything in me would die. It would just seek another creative outlet.

  6. You guys all have awesome opinions and I really enjoy hearing all your takes on this situation. I’d love to hear more and post later on about this.

    I do agree with what you all say with that writing is about passion but when you see the business side it can be a big hurdle to get past. I hope seeing that side won’t diminish my drive to get published.

    Thank you all for your comments! You guys are the best.

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