Why Do You Write?


I haven’t written prose one this site for a while now, after contracting The Poetry Bug, which, come to find out, is a chronic and life long condition managed through meditation, medication, mediation, and occasionally alliteration. And while I love examining life poetically, I first started this blog with a lot of humorous posts (and perhaps rightly made an adjustment after that joke!). But it comes down to this — I love writing of every kind.

I was recently asked a lot of questions about my writing, and it made me think about how I approach writing and what motivates me. Every now and then it’s good to check in with yourself and ask why you chose the craft of writing when many days it can seem like an infuriating pursuit, one deeply misunderstood from the outside world. I’m reminded of just how misunderstood whenever someone puts fame and writing together. Any considerable level of fame is hardly ever achieved, let alone a desirable monetary compensation, so if it’s fame and money you’re after, you’re in the wrong profession. But that doesn’t stop people from assuming. Most of the time these people don’t even read, so I’m not sure what universe they’re talking about, but I’m pretty sure it’s owned by Stephen King and is guarded heavily with rabid dogs and possessed cars.

Most of us write to relieve the pressure of words building up inside our brains. We write because we’re explorers, we’re curious, we’re creative, we’re seekers of truth inside fiction — we’re bigger than our bodies — and reading and writing can take us where we need and desire to go, which is outside the bounds of reality and our own small world.

So, I just wanted to put that out there. Maybe get you thinking (again) about why we choose to pound away on a laptop and sometimes forget to shower, or shave, or look up to find three days have gone by and it’s ice cream and gravel for dinner (again).


28 thoughts on “Why Do You Write?

  1. FictionFan

    I think you underrate the value of ice-cream for dinner. That in itself sounds to me like a solid argument in favour of writing. Especially if served with a generous squirt of chocolate sauce…

  2. Marissa Bergen

    I’m a little perplexed about this concept of ‘choosing’ to write. i think the gift for writing is something we are born yet and somewhere, somehow, it’s going to come out.

  3. Debbie

    For me, writing is like breathing. I can’t NOT do it! Even if it’s writing out a list to take to the grocery, I have to see the words on the page. Interesting, isn’t it, how some of us HAVE to write while others WANT to write — and I wonder which succeeds more often at publication!

    1. desertdweller29

      I think “want” and “have to” is the same thing actually when it comes to writing. For most writers, writing is akin to breathing, but what is the pull that triggers the breath? It’s a deeper reach. I also think talent is a dime a dozen. It takes a lot of hard work and perseverance to succeed and to continue undeterred.

      1. Debbie

        Agreed!! Perhaps it’s like the difference between bacon and eggs. The hen isn’t too inconvenienced by her part, but the pig is fully committed!

      2. robert okaji

        I once participated in a lively discussion with the head of a creative writing program. He mentioned that the most talented students are often not the most successful. The ones who work at the craft, who spend the time writing and rewriting – they’re the ones who achieve success.

  4. walt walker

    I have no interest in fame at all, but I wouldn’t mind a little money.

    I enjoy your poetry, but I would also like to see more of anything else you feel like sharing. 🙂

  5. ramonawray

    Haven’t been writing all that much lately, so I’m not sure. Time was I did it because it made me happy. Nowadays, I’m happy in other ways, if that makes sense… Probably just a phase. Great post, DD 🙂

    1. desertdweller29

      I have gone on those phases myself, too, Ramona. Sometimes I think we may need a break. I read a great article saying every writer should allow themselves to “quit” for the day, for the week, for the month, for as long as needed until we find our way back. I thought it was sound advice and one that gave me some relief. I’m certain it’s just a phase! You’re a wonderful writer. 🙂

  6. thefeatheredsleep

    Agreed. Many people tell me they don’t know what writers block is and I look at them aghast wondering how they are spared that? I myself have bad writers block and then a mercurial shift into productiveness. To answer the first question, like you I think it’s a need we, as writers have, and for people to read, well that comes when we see writing as more than a vocation or hobby/enjoyable thing we do, and become writers for audiences. When we do then we have to write for our audience as for our self. I don’t think I’m a writer yet because I don’t write for others. I doubt I can. I’m too willful. I doubt I shall be a popular writer because of this. I still think it’s worthwhile whatever kind you are. Stephen King fabulously popular, or hardly known. Both have value. Anything has value.
    Most of my favorite writers struggled to write but WHEN THEY DID it was incredible. We all know some prolific writers who are very good at writing a lot but we may not always wish to read them.
    It says a lot about us by the writers and books we do like. Who do you feel drawn to writer-wise? book-wise?
    People call me a writer, I’m not sure I call myself a writer or ever shall. It’s hard to justify but so are most good things like chocolate cake 😉
    I see you as a writer for one reason. You write things I really want to read. If you had a book I would buy it and read it. Yep. It’s that simple sometimes.

  7. Minelli Eustacio

    Your poetry is amazing, so I think I’d enjoy reading more of your prose. 🙂

    I still haven’t figured out the chore reason of why I write, I’m hoping if I write enough I’ll find out.

  8. chrisbkm

    Maybe I write because I need a mountain to climb… or maybe I take some perverted pleasure out of feeling insecure. I don’t think it’s either of those though. I can’t remember not writing – even when I was drawing stick figures comic book style (my earliest memories) I was writing. Storytelling. Expressing myself in one way or another. Trying to help the world see itself through my lens. Something like that maybe. I wonder more when I began (it’s a long time ago now) to have to ask myself why (oh why!?) do I write. I wrote (and drew) because it was fun. It was how I entertained myself. At the best of times today it is a glorious way to embrace and touch the world. That’s what I have to remember… Also, my thought processes really rely on it. Kind of like right now. Thanks!

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