Why DO we write?

writerI wanted to share  a wonderful article I ran across yesterday about a newly-released book entitled, “’Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do.”  The book, edited by Meredith Maran, features 20 well-known authors who share what keeps them writing. Just as the rejection letter of well-known authors can serve as a form of encouragement, so will these snippets of motivation.

It was interesting to see what the authors, which include Isabel Allende (Island Beneath the Sea), Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants), Sebastian Junger (The Perfect Storm), and Terry McMillan (The Interruption of Everything), had to say about the craft of writing and what makes them do it day in and day out.

Some of the authors’ motivations were humorous, others introspective and honest. I particularly enjoyed what Ann Patchett (State of Wonder) wrote, “”I write because I swear to God I don’t know how to do anything else.”

And after reading the article, I was inspired to answer the obvious: Why do I write?

  • I write because I don’t want to do anything else. I get excited about having letters fill a blank computer screen with my thoughts. I have a great day job. But if I could devote all my time to writing, I would.
  • I write because—according to my daughters whether they just lost a boyfriend, a job or a piece of jewelry—“I have a story for everything.”
  • I write because the restlessness in me wants to leave something worth reading when I’m no longer here.

This book is now on my “to be read” list.  In a writer’s world of self-doubt and uncertainty, I don’t think there’s ever too much support, motivation or advice.

Why do you write?


9 thoughts on “Why DO we write?

  1. Absolutely. And it’s great that as writers, we’re naturally inclined to talk and write about our experiences in this mine-strewn field. I’m not sure every profession is as vocal about their feelings as we are, so it makes finding the support you need so much easier. And I feel the same way. There’s nothing I’d rather be doing than writing. Except maybe being an astronaut. That would probably be fun.

    • nettrobbens says:

      I totally agree! Writing is tough, but having the support we need gets us through it! Thanks for your great comment!

  2. Sandee says:

    Also, I never wanted to do anything else as far as a vocation. Unfortunately, I haven’t made enough money to sustain that dream, but I still write because it’s the way that I like to connect to the soul and a way to interpret the environment hopefully to reach others who are calling out on different levels underneath the surface. It’s a way to communicate on a spiritual level, but not spiritual in the traditional sense.

    • nettrobbens says:

      Thanks for commenting Sandee! Writing is a spiritual thing for me too. One tap on my keyboard and I’m in a peaceful zone!

  3. mmcnellis says:

    Hm…I’m always developing my answer to this question. In part, I hope someday my writing will be a legacy. Not that I’m expecting to be in the 0.5% or so who become well known for writing, but rather that someday, hundreds of years from now, maybe someone will stumble upon something I wrote and then they’ll learn a little more about our world now. Writing is one of the few types of historical evidence.

    Another reason I write is that I love stories, and characters. My characters would never let me rest if I didn’t write them. They demand it, simply by having been created in my imagination.

    I write to explore the human condition as well, which I find immensely interesting. I also write to keep the conversation about writing going–I believe writing is crucial to civilization and the only way to keep it going is to keep doing it.

    It’s also great for organizing thoughts, stress relief, etc.

    • nettrobbens says:

      Hi Margaret,

      I think having someone stumble upon our work is the ultimate reward! Thanks so much for commenting.

  4. Every week I ask myself that question, then POOF I write something. 🙂 I love it, and I bet you do too.

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