Why Do You Write?

On Language and Writing

Picture made by the author

Last week I couldn’t publish a new story by the end of the week as I usually do. I told myself to be cool and that it didn’t matter if I missed a week or two. My internal voice started objecting, so I asked it a question again, which I ask once in a while to stay objective, “Why is it so important for you to write?”

I know the answer for myself, which changes gradually. But what about you? I thought, let me ask my community why they write. Not that I expect many replies, but it would be fun to think of the potential motivations. And it will be an asset and reference for the world.

My question is about proper writing, not social media comments, emails and such.

When I jotted down the list of possibilities, it came to eight initially, which seemed fine. But I thought of one later that day, and another occurred to me yesterday, bringing it to a neat and round complement of ten. Pleasing, and I hope it stays there, although if I think of an eleventh, I’ll add it dutifully.

For which of these 10 reasons do you write?

1. For money

We all know Medium earnings are pathetic, so let’s assume you write elsewhere and publish otherwise. I hope you sell a million copies of your book or get syndicated and earn big bucks. At the very least, I wish you make enough to live on, even if you don’t become rich through writing.

2. For fame

If you can’t make money, you might as well be famous, eh? Of course, it would be great to be both rich and famous, but we’re talking about you and me, dear. Not everyone can be Ludlum, Brown, or Archer, can we? But we could be world-famous in our neighbourhood.

3. For influence

Some of us have an agenda, and it could be good for others. So if you write to convert non-believers and pull down the fence-sitters, go for it. You are in the company of Franklin, Lincoln, Nehru, Gandhi, Oprah, and the like, and hopefully, not Hitler, Goebbels, Mao, or Bannon.

4. For power

For some, influence is nothing without power. And we say the pen is mightier than the sword, with probably some justification. So if you write to control people or situations, it’s valid as long as you move the needle towards humaneness in its best sense.

5. For creative pleasure

I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the reason for many of you, or at least a leading one. Enjoy it in itself because what we love to do can become beautiful.

6. To be helpful

You may simply want to help others through your writing. Of course, it makes you feel good too, but hey, isn’t that great? It’s a critical aspect of humanity’s social nature.

7. For catharsis

Psychiatry begins at home. If writing gives you insight into your psyche and an outlet to unburden yourself, it’s probably doing you a world of good. It will improve you and give you peace and joy. And a better you is better for the world. Just make sure to excise everything that can do collateral damage.

8. For friendship

What a lovely reason, if it’s yours. In the old days, letter writing to new and old friends was an art form. You would have morphed it to your format of choice, yet underneath, it will send the same warm embrace and companionship.

9. For competing

Some of you must have a competitive streak that makes you want to outdo others. Sometimes it takes the form of competing with yourself. If this makes you want to write more books or blogs than others or beat your best, it’s one way to productivity. But make sure you maintain quality and don’t burn yourself out.

10. For occupation

Life can get plain boring without something interesting besides work, even more so after we retire. Writing as a hobby and pastime is one of the best remedies. It’ll keep your brain sharp and could entertain others and help them. If this is your reason, I wish you tons of inspiration and energy.

11. For remembrance

I mean when you write to be remembered after you die. The older you get, the more this may become the motive for you. But it’s a good thing that your Life Instinct makes you do. So go on, write to live on in people’s hearts and minds for a few years or perhaps many more when you’re no more.

Final words

I write primarily for creative pleasure, as a pastime, and for friendship.

Whatever our reasons, it’s fine if we do no harm to good people. We have a right to write; anything for any reason, as long as it’s ethical.

The more we know why we do something, the more we can make ourselves valuable and pleasing to others, which makes us happy too. It’s the best of both worlds and sustains as you push and others pull.

I wish you a lovely day of reading and writing and look forward to your reflections.

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