Why do we write?

On occasion I have moments of clarity that remind why it is that I push myself to write and edit my first draft manuscript. Last night I experienced one of these brief certainties. All of a sudden I knew I could do it. Yet, despite this belief it occurred to me that I don’t know why I do it.

Typically when I sit down to write I focus on the task at hand. Be it that I am writing, reading over my words or editing them. I have a set target in mind of how much I want to get done and try and plough through it. It’s rare that I take a step back and wonder why I am bothering to do it at all. For the most part it’s because I couldn’t imagine my life without writing any more. Also, perhaps, the understanding that I am happier now – writing – than I ever have been in my life. Even so, if someone asked me why I write, I’m not sure I could give them a real answer. 

Pondering on this I can only come up with a list of possibilities as to why it is that I write: 

  • Caricature of Zola Leandre, c. 1900 Wikimedia Commons

    Caricature of Zola Leandre, c. 1900
    Wikimedia Commons

    I feel more like myself when I write

  • I’ve always dreamed of being able to say ‘I’m a writer’ when someone asks what I do

  • I enjoy writing – the forming of ideas, the shaping of a story, the meeting of a character…it’s fun

  • I have a story that I think needs to be told

  • I need to get the imaginary world in my head, out of my head and onto paper

  • I can’t help but feel envious of authors when I read good book

  • I want to have my name out there, on a book somewhere, that people will see and read and enjoy

  • Of all the things I could do, the one I have to achieve before I die is to have written a published book

  • I believe that it might be where my true talent lies

  • People have told me that they enjoy reading my writing

  • I want to have a legacy – something to leave behind once I’m gone (that has the potential to last forever)

There are probably many more reasons that I haven’t considered in this list. Yet it is not one of these things that drives me more than the others. It’s a combination of all of these that makes up my desire to write. I’ve said for so long that I wanted to be a writer, that I have no choice not to be a writer now – it’s perhaps as simple as that. 

Why do you write? What drives and motivates you as a writer? I’d love to hear how you answer the query – share your thoughts in the comments section. 🙂


For more discussion and reasoning as to why writers write, check out these pages:
Book View Cafe’s post on ‘Why do you write?’
George Orwell’s 1947 essay on why he wrote
Deborah Dooley’s article – ‘Why do you write?’ in the Huffington Post


If you’re interested in following me on my writing journey – and finding out if I ever get to publish that long-dreamed of novel –  why not follow my blog or subscribe to receive posts directly to your inbox ? Alternatively, if you want bite size updates, come and join me on Twitter.


4 responses to “Why do we write?

  1. Pingback: 2013: In Review | Cat Lumb: The Struggle to be a Writer

  2. Pingback: Writing for Readers | The struggle to be a writer that writes

    • I fluctuate between every point on my list on any given day. Today it’s because I want to feel more like myself…
      Thanks for commenting doll. x

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