Why Do You Write?

Why do you write? What I love about this question is that there are infinite answers. Every writer has his/her unique reasons and those reasons can change based on mood, a phase in life, and/or the particular writing piece.

On one level, this can be a practical question. Seriously, why do you write when it is such a difficult field to succeed in? It can also be a spiritual question. What in your soul calls you to this creative outlet? From other writers, it can be a call for help or community. Why do we do this when it is so hard and it dredges up such painful insecuritiesMy favorite is when it is a question of wonderment and fascination. How in the world do you think up these ideas and what magical force compels you to see them through?

I’ve been going through a bit of a rough time lately, and once again, writing has been a solace. For the first time in a long time, I found myself writing just because I needed to write, and I realized that I felt guilty. As I sat there, typing furiously on my computer — not at the novel I “should” have been working on — just letting out all my frustration and pain, I realized that lately I’ve only thought of writing as “What can be published?”, “What will be a valuable asset to my back list?”, “What comes next in this series?”. And yeah, that’s all great, but I couldn’t help but think: is this all writing is for me anymore? I had to stop and ask myself: 

Why do I write? 

Here’s what I came up with:

I write because…

…I like it.

…I love it.

…it’s fun.

…I’m good at it.

…something in me needs to create art.

…I want to publish.

…I want to make a career out of it (one day).

…instinct tells me to.

…I enjoy the challenge.

…some of the stories I want to read haven’t been written yet.

…I want to offer my perspective on and critique of the world.

…I want to share the beauty I see in the world.

…sometimes it’s the only way I can express myself.

…it sets me apart from others in my life.

…I want to remember what I’ve lost.

…facing the harsh truth about your feelings is easier when you don’t have to speak it.

…I fear my own mortality and want to leave a legacy, however obscure, behind.

These, and many more, reasons are why I write.

Why do YOU write?

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Kate M. Colby is an author of science fiction, fantasy, and nonfiction. When she is not writing or working, Kate enjoys playing video games, antiquing, and wine tasting. She lives in the United States with her husband and furry children.

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Posted in Writing & Publishing Articles, Writing Craft & Tips
40 comments on “Why Do You Write?
  1. Hi Lynette. I’ve often thought about my need to write and why I do and have come up with one simple reason: It is healing emotionally for me no matter what I write about. Just the act of getting my mind in gear to write takes me places nothing else can and is similar to picking up a good book. Dena

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dena, emotional healing is a wonderful reason to write. We writers truly are blessed to have a creative outlet for all the things we can’t stand to keep inside. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with my audience! Kate

      Like

  2. R. J. Nello says:

    For it seems pretty much the same reasons you do to. Great minds clearly think alike. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Stephanie says:

    Thank you for sharing Kate! I relate to how you feel about writing for yourself, something I’ve been struggling with for the last year. I think I’ve finally got it figured out.
    Best writerly wishes to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jonas Lee says:

    For all of the fame and glory it automatically comes with…obviously. And the stockpiles of money.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Excellent post. It draws upon emotional reasons why people write. I write because it is what I am, and it is one of the few things that are totally mine. My story, my thoughts, my feelings are no one else’s but mine. That is an empowering feeling, its the one thing that is mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ula says:

    There are so many reasons. For me, writing is necessary to help process and cope with the world. Without writing, I tend to fall apart.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kate Evans says:

    I got into the same struggle when it came to sales of my novel. I became so obsessed with the sales or lack of them I forgot why I write. Mainly because it pleases me, because it keeps me sane, because it absorbing… It’s great to share it (whether by publishing and through sales or in other ways) and hope that something I have written touches someone else, but it’s the creative process which should be (and is, for me) an end in itself.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I couldn’t agree more, Kate E.! It’s so easy to get caught up in the “business” side and forget about the passion. If I start to lose my way when my book launches, I’ll have to have you help me get centered again!

      Like

  8. Rajagopal says:

    First timer to your world, Kate, thanks to lynette’s reblog facilitating my connect to yours. Why do I write, well, I do so for the same reason as people speak, because there is a listener. So I write, for the sheer pleasure of communicating with a prospective reader keen on knowing my take on life and matters…best wishes.. Raj.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Kate you always continue to inspire! Thanks for sharing your writing journey! Such a great question to answer. Of to journal some answers.
    Dream Big Always,
    Judy

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Always love reading/hearing other writers’ answers to this question. All contain such similarity, yet with their own unique twists. 🙂 I write because of the stories I treasure…and hope that one day my stories will be just as treasured by many. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. jpennerzook says:

    Great to read your candid reasons for writing, Kate. I began writing publicly when others pushed me! (Why is it we are so slow to trust ourselves?) Now I write because of the pressure that builds up in my soul if I don’t! Besides that, I love writing as much as I love reading what others write.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Reblogged this on cicampbellblog and commented:
    I’ve been rather busy lately, what with one thing and another, and have been neglecting my blog, I’m afraid. , so it was interesting to read this post on Kate’s. I had half prepared one on the same subject. Why do you write? I have been asking other authors. The answers have been many and varied, and some of them are echoed here in Kate M. Colby’s heartfelt answer.
    As for me, why do I write?
    How could I not?
    For me, writing is an extension of talking and I could talk for Scotland!
    Everything’s a story and there’s a story for everything.
    If I didn’t tell them or write them I do believe I’d go mad.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. mirymom says:

    Reblogged this on Mirymom's Blog and commented:
    Honestly, I write because I’m intolerable when I don’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Why James Ellroy (my favorite author) writes:

    Like

  15. ofopinions says:

    Nice to see you open up, Kate! I always admire your resilience and ability to get things done. I’ve attempted NaNoWriMo and Script Frenzy a few times in the past, and all I have is quite a few unfinished but substantially written manuscripts. Stories I wanted to write, and stories that weren’t there. Following your blog has given me insight into how to do this thing seriously, on your own, without having publishers and literary agents mollycoddling you or breathing down your neck. You are one of the few exceptions in the writing community – someone who is serious and confident enough to do this for a job. Don’t ever forget that!
    As to why I write, I have an entire post on it. You know my tendency to ramble, so I won’t go on about it here! Here’s the link: https://ofopinions.wordpress.com/2015/06/17/of-why-we-write/

    Liked by 1 person

  16. frenchc1955 says:

    This is an excellent post, and to answer your question: I write because I love to write, I have to write, and I have stories to tell.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. rachelbohlen says:

    Reblogged this on Rachel Bohlen and commented:
    Readers: I’m reblogging this post, because it comes at an interesting point in my own writing path. I haven’t written a word in 11 days, which I think is the longest I’ve gone without writing in almost a year. I’m struggling between stress in other areas of my life, thinking that my ideas are fruitless, and getting into a negative cycle of, “Why do I even bother doing this?”

    That being said, it’s important to remind ourselves why we do the things we love, even when it’s challenging and even when the road ahead looks tough. I’m going to be thinking about this question for the rest of the day, and I encourage you to do the same: Why do you write?

    Liked by 2 people

  18. rachelbohlen says:

    I reblogged this on rachelbohlen.com. I think it’s so important to step back and think about why we’re doing this, and this post came at a perfect time for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. […] tricky, sometimes reminding myself of all the reasons I love writing works. If I can go through a list of reasons to write, eventually one will be compelling enough. This is my key, and I use it to unlock the door of […]

    Like

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