10.22.14 - Why Do You Write?

I find the following question to be one of worth to all writers, at every stage of the game, from aspiring to NYT bestseller:

Why do you write? 

I admit to a deep interest in the question. I have a number of author friends whose opinions matter to me a great deal, and I’m curious to see if any of them will stop by and share their answer.* 

I ask also because I recently had the pleasure of attending a writing retreat with a number of brilliant, talented writers, and we touched on this, albeit briefly. I came out of the discussion with this -- I think it’s one of the hardest questions a writer can ask themselves, and truthfully answer.

Because there are a million answers to the question of why create art. Especially when there’s quite a precedent that shows creating our unique “art” does not guarantee fame, fortune, or self-actualization, as so many of us are hoping. On the contrary, it often leads to rack and ruin, unhappiness and divorce, even, at its worst, death.

So why do we keep at it? What is it that drives us?

Here’s a top of mind list of why we write (and by write, I mean create, in any form):

  • To be read
  • To make a living
  • To win awards
  • To become famous
  • To get a job
  • To tell stories that need to be told
  • To entertain
  • To affect change
  • To give people something to think about
  • To alter the course of humanity
  • To show someone you can
  • To get rich
  • To win over a love interest
  • To get revenge
  • To chase away demons
  • To satisfy some indefinable inner urge to write
  • To heal thyself

There are many more reasons. What do you think, fellow scribblers? Are you willing to share why you do it? I’ll go first. 

I write to entertain, to affect change, to make a living, to chase away demons, to heal my soul, and because I can’t imagine doing anything else.

What about you?

*The comments section of the blog is back open! All previous issues with SPAM have been fixed, and I’ve discovered I like having the conversation here. So feel free to join in, writer and reader alike!

14 Comments

J.T. Ellison

J.T. Ellison is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of fifteen critically acclaimed thrillers and is the co-author of the Nicholas Drummond series with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. With over a million books in print, Ellison’s work has been published in twenty-five countries and thirteen languages. She is also the co-host of A Word on Words, Nashville's premier literary TV series, which airs on Nashville Public Television. She lives with her husband and twin kittens in Nashville. Visit JTEllison.com, and follow her on Twitter @Thrillerchick or at Facebook.com/JTEllison14.