As writers, most of us have asked ourselves that question at one point or another.
Generally, we write because we can’t NOT write; it’s how we express our creativity. The ideas bounce around in our heads and we long to get them down on paper and bring them to life. Which is just so much fun!
But what are the other reasons? ARE there other reasons?
Do you write to make a statement, teach a lesson, change people’s minds about an issue?
Do you write to make money? To get published?
Do you write for approval? Validation? Satisfaction? Accomplishment?
Do you write to help someone else through an experience you’ve survived?
Do you write to create the worlds you wish you lived in or the characters that you would like to be?
Do you just love to tell stories?
Quotes about this question abound; here are just a few:
“A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.” – Roald Dahl
“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of.” - Joss Whedon
“I just knew there were stories I wanted to tell.” – Octavia E. Butler
“I’ll be writing until I can’t write anymore. It’s a compulsion with me. I love writing.” – J.K. Rowling
For me, writing is magic. The ability to create whole worlds, critters and/or characters, and weave them into a story that is mine alone, that began as nothing more than the seed of an idea in my brain, is exciting and empowering. To spark that same excitement in a child who reads my book? That would be the ultimate royalty payment.
My dream as a writer is to create a character that a child will fall in love with and remember for his or her whole life, that might be a hero or an inspiration or just a great, childhood friend. Like Ann of Green Gables, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Peter Pan, Winnie-the-Pooh, Frodo Baggins, or Harry, Hermione and Ron.
Some may say we don’t need to ask ourselves this question. I disagree. Because sometimes we get lost in all the mechanics, the marketing, the seemingly endless editing, and we forget the reasons that brought us to this place where we spend so much of our time pounding away at computer keys.
Whenever I get sidetracked, I ask myself the question again. Why do I write?
Ah, yes: Magic!