Medieval writing desk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Well, why do you? If you are a writer, that is.
It’s an interesting question. Me, I’ve been writing for years, but it’s only the past five or six years that I’ve taken it seriously at all. After reading a lot of books, I started to think that some of the stories in my head could find an outlet in that way too. Let’s face it, with a lot of the stuff I was reading, I was sure I could do better.
Of course, that’s easier said than done, but the feedback I’ve had on some of my completed works (unpublished, that is) is that maybe I can. Do better, that is. If nothing else, it’s been encouraging, which is why I kept at it. I’m not someone who is so full of ideas that I would still be writing even if everyone hated my work. I need to believe that I can get somewhere with it, that I can have people I’ve never met read my words and be moved by them, in order to do it.
I know that this may be considered conceited, admitting that I don’t necessarily write for the love of it. The thing is, though, that I do, albeit in my own way. The way I see it is that I’ve already written the never-to-be-published stories. What I want to do now is take that next step, and write something that could be published, perhaps even by a publishing house. I have nothing against self-publishing and I may go down that path myself, but there’s a part of me that wants the external validation that getting an agent and a book deal provides.
Perhaps you write to be published, too. Perhaps you feel, as I do, that it’s time for you to try to take that next step. Or perhaps you write because you need to, because it’s your raison d’être, because if you didn’t you would go crazy. Perhaps you’re somewhere in the middle and you’re writing something that you think might end up in the wider world, but you’re not sure. Perhaps you’ve got a story you want to tell and you have no idea where it will take you. Perhaps you’ve seen The Hunger Games and want to get in on that whole YA dystopian thing, or maybe pen the next erotica mega-hit. Perhaps you just like the feel of creating something and you have no intention of ever showing it to anyone.
The thing is, we are all different, and while our reasons for writing may sound the same on some levels, I suspect that once you delve right in, they are in fact all different too. Unique in their own way. We have different motivations, different expectations and different hopes and dreams about where our writing might take us. And I think we should celebrate this.
There are some people who judge others based on the reason they write. They turn up their noses at the idea of jumping on a bandwagon or writing for profit, saying that it should be for the love of the craft. Or they wonder aloud why anyone would waste their time on something that can never earn them a pay cheque. But I think this is self-defeating behaviour. We all have something in common, in that we all write. We all share a passion. And this is something that should be celebrated; that should be used as a reason to meet new people, not alienate them.
Why do you write? It’s probably a reason unique to you. And, really, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you do it at all.