Why Do You Write?


I’ve often been asked the question, what do you write, in fact it almost seems compulsory whenever you explain to someone that you are a writer (and I’ve said many times why this question always without fail flusters me a little) but the one question writers are never asked is why do we do it? Until, this article by Writer Unboxed asked the question: Why do you write? 

The obvious answer to that of course would be because I love it. It obviously isn’t for the money, I’ve been doing it for years before there ever was any money and the fact that some people are willing to pay me is actually more nerve wracking than you could imagine. There are some writers, I won’t name names, but I have seen that there are some writers who do seem to do it exclusively for the money, and hey they’re famous so what better reason would there be to do it right? Maybe it’s because they’ve forgotten the struggle that a lot of us authors go through or maybe they just don’t care, but I have to say, I think their writing would be a lot more genuine and authentic if they wrote for something other than because it sells well and makes them money, but perhaps that’s just me. I mean obviously it does continue to sell, (but then I’m pretty sure they could write anything and it would sell) so perhaps I’m the one who’s wrong here.

As a writer it has always been my belief that it is far more important to write what you love than to write what is popular. That’s the whole lesson behind write, defiant! in the first place. Rather than writing something because it’ll sell really well or you can catch a sweeping tide of what’s popular I would rather make what’s popular, and believe me the temptation to just give in and write some godforsaken vampire, erotic S&M horror show because it would probably get me a shitton of readers, is sometimes exhausting. It would be so easy to give in, but that’s not what I want to do, and that’s not what I want to be known for. I write because I love it, it’s in my blood, I couldn’t imagine having to do anything else for the rest of my life, I think I would go insane. It’s an addiction I’ll admit, the thought of ever having to stop for any reason is… frankly a nightmare scenario that I hope I never have to encounter.

Now I’d like to hear from all of you, why do you write?

14 thoughts on “Why Do You Write?

  1. Thanks for your post, but I disagree. You can love writing and it can be commercial. I’ve read a lot of godforsaken vampire, erotic S&M horror shows and most of the authors seem to be having a really good time.

    1. I didn’t mean to imply you can’t/shouldn’t enjoy making money off of your writing. Obviously we all want to be paid at some point, I just don’t think that should be your exclusive reason for writing.

    1. That’s certainly a different way of looking at it. Do you mean that you write what you want to read, and then you actually do read it and enjoy it?

      1. Yeh, love it- okay so its not arthur c clark or irvine welsh , but i really enjoy putting down ideas without too many coincidences . Write myself into a corner, and spend the next few days trying to fight my way out, without the aid of deux ex machina to lend a hand. If i can help it, first draft sticks- use what i wrote without thinking, if the hero had a gun earlier i can use that now – nip back bill and ted stylee and put one in his hand .

        I write for me, but it is open to the floor for comments as i go.

      2. That’s a very healthy way of looking at it. I definitely wish I could read my books and not want to change things constantly, but it’s really cool to hear about people who can seem to do that. The point is you have to love what you’re doing, cause if you don’t then what’s the point right?

      3. exactly, if people decide to stop by and read a bit, and get it, well its a bonus- if they don’t, i don’t mind explaining- then it helps me to understand where i screwed up. that way i find out the huge plot gaps that I can walk through slapping my forehead homer stylee!

        DOH! :)

      4. I’m sort of fascinated by a lot of the new age thinking when it comes to writing and blogging, this idea of sharing your book as you go and sort of crowd sourcing editing if you will, it’s never been something I’ve been quite comfortable with it, yet the idea is rather intriguing. I’ve always sort of written something, edited the crap out of it and then when it was all done posted it, I’m still debating whether or not I’d like to try my hand at posting as I go with this project my friend and I are working on. Co-Authoring a book is already a weird adventure without the added bonus of people watching as we work. Does that ever seem strange to you?

  2. i had never tried it any other way- I was part of a group called SKMB (stephenkingmessageboard) and we got together to live write a story. you added your piece and waited for the next guy to add his. folks gave you a back pat, and on the story went. We noted plot holes, but never ridiculed. If the genre changed from fantasy to horror, we went with it. If it got raunchy, we added whips and chains. If someone lost the plot, we laughed, and carried on with their errors and continuity flaws. Just a real fun way of learning.

    so to live write, for me, is quite normal. I just wish more folk try it.

    I wrote alone once, finished a sci fi novel I was rather proud of. Then I sat back and spent a fortune getting it read and corrected. But i just dropped it, it sits under my bed. Why?

    Well, I began seeing where i got my ideas from, and although It wasn’t on purpose- I cringed. So now I write as it comes into my head, let the character decide there and then what he/ she wants to do, with no time to think. Then I leave a wee cliff hanger, like rocketman of old when I hit the hour mark.

    Strange ? Well it’s not like showering in the communal swimming pool shower, but its a neat way to write.

    You should try it.

  3. When I was in 10th grade, I discovered the speech “Why I Write” by George Orwell. You may want to check it out! It’s quite good.
    (I have not yet read the article that you linked to; that’s next. Sorry if it’s already mentioned in there!)

  4. I have always loved to write and read. I’ve been told since I was a child that I have an active imagination. After retiring I put my active imagination and my love of writing to work. I have dozens of stories to write and new ones keep popping up. I need to type really, really fast to get them all finished!

    1. That’s wonderful :) I definitely know what that’s like to have soo many ideas. You can never really type fast enough to keep up with your brain, believe me I know.

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