Thursday, April 14, 2011

Why Do We Write?

Here's something to consider...

When you first started writing, and no, it doesn't have to be the novels you have right now, I'm talking about any type of creative writing - why did you do it?

What was it in you that pushed you to the point of wanting to put pen to paper? My bet is that the reason did not involve anything with money. There were no dreams of 6 figure deals and fans at a book signing. There were no dreams of book covers at the front table of a Borders or Barnes and Noble. There probably wasn't a mention of being on the NY Times Best Seller list.

The drive you had came from the excitement of creativity. That passion of being able to tell in words feelings and emotions that you might not have been able to express any other way.

I always love talking to people in creative writing classes, especially those still in college. There are really few classes at a college level that have students really wanting to spend countless hours outside of class working on that latest writing project. You see them huddled in corners, penciling away at that poem. The rush into class ready and eager to work in critique groups and share. I see that same excitement when I return to my local university and work as an alum. When they hear what I do, they can't help but want to share their latest project with me. Not that they want me to sign them or get advice to be published. They simply want to share.

Every day you write, you have to bring back that same excitement you had when you wrote the first time. Find that pleasure inside of you again. Maybe, just maybe, that spark is what you will need to get you from saying to yourself, "Ugh, I have to write my next chapter today." or "I have to find another 10,000 words to get to my deadline." You don't need to force it, if you love it.



  1. Thank you. I can't help but respond to a post that moves me. It's all true. If we focus on the passion and love we feel for writing, the words will flow easier, and the secondary reasons for writing will be just that, secondary.

  2. Yes, yes. I love story, in all its forms.
    I love writing because the story lasts longer and can become deeper and richer.

  3. Enjoyed this post and I intend to read more....
    Writing was always part of my life, but now it is more than a is everything I do. Money, fame and success would be nice, but if I can make even one person smile per day then I think I've attained a certain level of achievement. Maybe I need to set loftier goals?

  4. Whenever editing or any of the laborious parts of writing start getting to me, I give myself some time off, and write a short. With these shorts, I minimize edit and revision, trying to stick to pure creation as much as possible. It is the creation and sharing (as you've pointed out so well) that keeps me coming back, even when I can no longer stand the sight of red ink on a page.

  5. Thank you for your timely reminder to renew my passion for writing. It is easier to be disciplined when I love what I'm doing.

  6. It is always so good to be reminded why we work so hard. I love creative writing, but can get so discouraged by the revision process that it's easy to forget why I began the project in the first place. To create. To make people think. To make them feel. You've just reminded me. Thank you.

  7. This post spoke volumes to me. Thanks!

  8. Hi Scott! I enjoyed this was a little pick-me up after having three rejections this week (one addition to the 50+ I've had for my YA novel, plus two short story rejections). Your post reminded me why I'm doing this. I was never in this to make a lot of money--hell, I'd be satisfied recovering expenses. I just need to write because I have stories to tell! A grand old Irish tradition....

  9. I agree 110%. Your love for writing should be in your heart, not your wallet.

    Every time I read posts by writers who set stringent guidelines for themselves, I cringe a little.