Something recently got me thinking about why I write.
I’ve always answered that particular interview question with the usual responses; I love what I do, I couldn’t not do it, for myself, to share my stories with readers. All of which are true, but there’s nothing quite like delving into the why. Writers do it rather often, you know—we’re such a deep lot.
This is what led me to wonder (really, really wonder) why I write.
After some convoluted pondering over salt and vinegar chips I shan’t bore you with, I made a discovery. We all write for different reasons. I mean, obviously, right? But it really struck me that another person could have an entirely different motivation behind the words they put on paper. They may even share one of my values, yet disregard the others.
Isn’t that exciting? To think of the unique drive behind each author’s work, and how the resultant books will be so varied without any conscious effort. Imagine all the books!
Before I share my writing values with you, I want to encourage you to find your own. Grab or steal a pen and a sheet of paper, and spend ten minutes jotting down what you want your readers to feel when they read your stories. Once you’re done, cross out items on the list you consider less important until you have a few remaining. Take each of your remaining core values and bullet point why that particular writing value is so important to you.
Why do this instead of watching another episode of Survivor?
- Insight into your writing.
Your values will appear in your writing naturally, but I always like to be aware of what is going into my stories and—here’s that word again—why it’s going in.
Gain better understanding of your writing flavor – because everyone’s style is unique!
- Clarity of your brand
For creating an author platform that will stand the test of time.
For insight into how you present yourself to readers and your professional network
- To have a thoughtful answer to that regular question ‘Why do you write?’.
Here are the reasons I write:
- To uplift my audience. To show them good things come from bad things, and that – hey – good things come from good things, too. I want my readers to close my books and feel like they have faced a battle and won. I want to instil confidence in young adults via the behaviour of my characters, and write fantasy that makes my audience feel great about themselves
- To provoke thought. I want to leave a question in my writing that readers will absorb in the back of their mind. I want my readers to have a desire to seek further understanding or feel they understand something new for having read my stories.
- To make people laugh. Humor connects us and helps us deal with terrible things, it helps us to celebrate great things too. Laughter has a way of working its way into peoples’ hearts and leaving a lingering smile where there might have been a frown before.
And that is why I write.
My question to you, fellow author, is: Why do you write? Because you love what you do? Because you couldn’t not do it? For yourself? To share your stories with readers? All those reasons are great.
Spend ten minutes understanding the ‘why’ behind your writing and gain new insight into your writing career. Comment with your findings below!
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