Why do you write?

writerNo, really. Why do you? Is it fame? Money? (Cough-choke-wheeze!! Sorry…I just choked on something. I think it was innocence.) Are you the artiste who simply must or die? What are your hopes? Your expectations, both practical and not-so-practical? We all have them, and I’m curious.

I was sparked this morning by a blog post on a friend’s page. She’d recently gone to Bath, England, and discovered some things about Jane Austen she didn’t know before–one of them being that Ms Austen didn’t see her name in print during her lifetime. How is that even possible? It got me thinking about her, and other artists, who never saw fame or fortune in their lifetimes, but committed to their art anyway.

Most of us are never going to see fame or fortune, in our lifetime or posthumously. Still, we do what we do. We write our stories, sing our songs, paint or sculpt, strum and drum. We don costumes and become someone else. We create the costumes. We plant our gardens. Sometimes art is big and sometimes it’s small. It exists for itself, and without it, we’re nothing.

Me? I write because I have the talent. Modesty is for suckers, y’all.ย My life is kind to my art, and I get to create it full-time without having to slot it in when time allows. Mostly, I write because I can’t imagine not doing so.

That’s really it. My goal is to write my stories, to make them the best I possibly can. The rest is gravy. Now, maybe I can say that because I’ve had a modicum of success at this writing gig, but it was true before I ever sold my first book, so I’m pretty sure it still is. Would I love to see my book in every bookstore? Lines of fans waiting for me to sign their books? A movie deal? Six figures? Five? Guest spots on talk shows across the country? Are those even real questions? Sure I would, but that’s not my reason for writing. It doesn’t fuel my desire to create.

Some will read the above and think I’m nuts. Why spend all this time on something without the ultimate pay-off, validation? That’s just me. The validation I’ve received so far makes me exceedingly happy. It’s truly more than I ever expected. Are my ambitions low? No. I just don’t need outside validation to fuel me. Do you? Is writing into a void wasting time? Does it kill your creativity? There is no right or wrong here. I’m just curious about experiences outside of my own.




Filed under Writing is Life

24 responses to “Why do you write?

  1. I’m with you. My creativity isn’t spurred on by thoughts of fame or riches. More like an urge to use my words and get these characters out of my head. Although I won’t say sales don’t interest me. After working for a major bookseller for close to fifteen years, the idea of selling and marketing myself is part of it. But fame? The idea is kind of overwhelming, and somehow I worry it would take me away from the craft I enjoy. At least that’s what I’m saying now. If Hollywood buys my next book and turns it into a movie, I’ll bet I’d eat those words ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      I know, and so do you, how much book one’s publication gets in the way of writing book 2, and so on. It’s part of the experience, of course, but I don’t have to imagine too hard to know why GRRM is having such a hell of a time finishing Song of Ice and Fire.


  2. Honestly, I just write because I love it. It makes me happy and gives me a creative/therapeutic outlet from life stressors. I don’t do it for money, fame or prestige. Although that’s easy for me to say cause I have a whole other career to pay the bills. Although validation is always a plus, I’m perfectly happy with my small audience and my small press. Although a movie deal might be nice…;)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Terri-Lynne DeFino

    I think you have something here that I hadn’t thought about, Linda. Having a successful career outside of writing must make a difference. My successful career is having raised four amazing human beings–no small accomplishment, and one that brings me tons of pride.

    And yes, a movie deal could be nice–the money would be, at any rate. I’m not sure how I’d feel about it creatively.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes and having those four human beings is a career in itself! I get what you mean about the creative aspect of movies–I think if want full creative control, lol, but we all know how well that goes over.


  4. I write because I’m dead inside when I don’t, apparently. I feel better about every aspect of life, career, family – when I take the time to do something I love. I’m not really thinking publication at the moment but the time WILL come when I do. Of course a movie deal would be awesome. But even a book deal would be more attention than I’m looking for, so. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Elizabeth

    I like what Erin said…..that she’s dead inside when she doesn’t. I just recently started writing again in earnest and my words are actually being read by others and I feel more alive than I have in ages. At this point, it is only short book reviews but to have my words out there and valued is some serious validation that I have been wanting/needing/missing. I am excellent at my job as a teacher but I get virtually no validation from it, at least not from management, so having people tell me they are interested in reading a book because of what I wrote about it makes me feel giant! Baby steps in the writing world but obviously something I needed to be doing for myself. If some type of freelance work ultimately came out of it, I’d be fine with that too but for now, getting pen to paper (or type to word doc), paper to viewership with feedback, that is enough.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. It looks like we all are on the same page here, no pun intended.
    I write because I can’t imagine my life without it. Writing relaxes me, it thrills me, and it allows those weird, funny, strong voices in my head an outlet. Writing is an extension of who I am.
    And sometimes, who I want to be ๐Ÿ™‚


  7. You know my writing history, Terri & where I have eventually managed to land. Becoming published… And how persistent & quietly driven I have been about the process. Clichรฉs aside (& included, let’s be honest), I write because I can’t imagine *not* writing. (And because I can’t play the piano or juggle.) Ha!

    I write because there are places I go to in my writing I canโ€™t necessarily access in my life. I write to leave something attached to whatever exists after I’m gone.

    And I’m quite good at it now. *Grin*

    It’s why I get up in the morning. That & to feed the cat…


  8. callanprimer

    Why do I write?? Why, for the money, of course. I’m in training to be an ascetic, living on nuts, berries, and dumpster-diving.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I write for too many reasons to list here. I can’t imagine life without writing. I love exploring new places, people, and ideas through stories, whether they’re my stories or someone else’s. I wish writing would pay too, but oh well. Whether or not I ever earn any money off of this, I will continue to write as long as I can.

    Liked by 1 person

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