I recently decided that I would use a presentation that I prepared for an event, that sadly didn’t happen, to assist those who have come to me asking advice or general questions about writing and the industry.
For me, the motivations for why someone writes are very important. That’s where I would like to start off today!
Why do people write?
People who don’t write, or read, ask that question a lot. You will never guess the amount of times I’ve heard, “I love reading, but I could never be a writer.” And you know what, they’re probably right. I say this not to be mean or uppity, I say this because we’re not all the same. Wordsmiths have this feeling in their guts, and whether they start writing young, or write their first book at 60, they’ve more than likely always had this feeling that it was something they were going to do. Be it an auto-biography, or a fiction novel, or even a cookbook, it was always there. That’s what I think anyway.
So … why? What drives us to write? I did some internet snooping and found four great reasons:
It’s a form of expression. Writing is an art; it’s a way of communicating a message that lives deep within us. It’s not a way of expressing ourselves like we do in everyday life, its painting images in the minds of others. And that’s pretty cool. We also enjoy the challenge of the craft, of learning, of failing and achieving.
Egotism. On some level, either right at the surface, or that deep down you deny it all together; writing can be linked to egotism. We want people to read our work, to know us, to understand us. In these modern times authors need to be as on par as their work. Being a 21st Century writer means being in the public eye, not just a name on a book. Today, some people write to market not only their talents as a wordsmith, but as an all-round professional.
To change the world! And I’m not talking about being a superhero, although who doesn’t love a cape, am I right? A lot of the time, writers see the world as a place with gaps, like a brick wall missing some of the key bricks. We work to craft those bricks and finish that wall. Ah, symbolism.
To bring meaning to the world. Imagine the horrible world we would live in without tales? I mean, oh gosh, that’s just awful. No new stories, no classics… no point! Creating, sharing and recounting stories is what makes us human and gives us a history and an advancement above any other creature that has ever existed on Earth. We have a duty!
My motivations are all of the above. I want to tell the world a story, I want to share, I want to create, and I’m not above saying I would enjoy some sort of money in the long run for food and clothing, and for people to know my author name and be like, “yeah, she’s pretty cool”.
At the end of the day: your motivations are your motivations! Whatever is the reason, and what works for you, is what you need to draw on to complete your project. So I would urge anyone looking to be a writer to think about their motivations and if they’re not one hundred per cent sound to you, then you need to think harder, because it’s too easy these days to be a one-hit wonder.