Is It Love Or Insanity - Why Writers Write! - Dangerously Genocidal


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Monday, 17 November 2014

Is It Love Or Insanity - Why Writers Write!

Earlier today I experienced something of a philosophical moment. Or, as one of my friends called it, a "brief writer's existential crisis" - whatever that was supposed to mean. But in that moment that still lacks a proper description, I found myself asking the question "Why do we, authors, write?"

What drives us to love it so much that we can't stop, that we type through carpal tunnel syndrome and cramping fingers? Why do we fight writer's block, rant about missing muses, and advocate creativity until our voices disappear - and then proceed to continue our proclamations on paper with any medium within reach?

Thankfully my little crisis didn't last long. I answered myself a few minutes later:

I write because, when I do, there is a sense of freedom and euphoria that only comes from doing something that makes me indescribably happy. It makes me feel like I'm doing something that I want to dedicate my life too. There is nothing more exciting to me than creating a world of my own, and then sharing it with people.

But it got me to thinking - why do other people write? So I went and asked them. Below are some of the reasons that came up from people I asked in Google+ Communities. I've also included a few from well known published authors.

Many writers say that they want to write to express themselves and their creativity, their emotions and thoughts:
Brant Waldeck ~ "It’s a great outlet for creative expression. I often wake up in the wee hours of the morning with story ideas that I just have to get out. My subconscious makes it impossible for me not to write. The ideas will keep nagging me until I get them written down."
Tom Jacobs ~ "Writing is painting, making music, singing, dancing, acting, reasoning, philosophize, love, hate, shout, whisper, cry, laugh, smile, create, to build and destroy, fight, criticize, express ourselves, communicate our inner secrets, dream, hope, despair, fantasize, note, observe ourselves and everything that exists, searching for truth and the meaning of life, accept, reject..."
Lou Cadle ~ "It has changed over time. Now, I mostly enjoy the challenge of the craft. The vivid sentence, the fast-paced action scene, the dialog that makes me smile a few months later: those small things keep me writing."
Cassandra Samuels ~ "I think when you're a storyteller it's just in you."
Leanne Dyck ~ "It is how I express myself to the world." 

To Help or Educate
Some writers focus mainly on teaching people new things, or to focus on certain needs that people have and to help them with it. They write to give advice.
Bruce Hurwitz ~ "I have always written in order educate. It’s the academic in me. But my last book, A Hooker’s Guide to Getting a Job, was written to also fill a need. In this case, the need was for a simple, straight forward, no-nonsense guide for job seekers (with a humorous edge)."

Because of Imagination, and to Inspire
This is probably one of the easiest to understand - all writers have some world that they imagine, and we all love to put those worlds on paper for other people to enjoy. And if they are somehow inspired by what they read, all the better!
Adrienne Monson ~ "I’ve been living inside my head since I was a child. I don’t have a long attention span, and when I was bored in class, my mind would drift to some world from my imagination – rich with characters and conflict."
Andrew Ewing ~ "I must write to tell the stories of the people and places that saved me from my darkest moments. I feel their stories are as important as any others I have read, they have always spoken to me, in my heart where stories belong. I can only hope that my stories will find the readers that need them most, and maybe, just maybe, after reading something I have written, they too will be inspired to take the journey and to share their stories with others, and most of all I hope, in the darkness, there is a little bit of sanity." 

To Influence People
Some people write mainly to be a positive influence on other people.
Charles J Deguara ~ "I write to entertain and to be a positive influence."

Because Passion, Because Pleasure!
And why not? If writing does not make you happy, then why write? For many writing feels like a calling. It's something they can do night or day and they don't want to imagine doing anything else because it just makes them so darn happy!
J. Douglas Porter ~ "Writing is a creative passion that gives me great pleasure. I enjoy living in the imaginary world of my characters and creating a world of my own making. it also forms an outlet for my urge to tell my professional life’s story, only told in novel form."
Amy Merriweather ~ "It's that simple for me, writing brings me joy.  In learning that is what life is all about, doing what makes us happy.  It also helps to give purpose and make sense from the myriad of emotions that life brings, as Tom Jacobs so definitively mentioned.  Writing is a culmination of everything...creating and destructing."
Derek. Bill. Langham ~ "Don't wonder, you were lucky enough to be chosen and given FREE a writers mind. Being endowed with this, you can travel to far away places, create characters and tales to entertain others and in so doing fill your heart with the joy of it all. Aren't we all so lucky to be chosen. We are different, very different, but we just have to enjoy and live with that."

To Entertain
For what are we, if not entertainers?
Ron Glick ~ "My first motivation though is to entertain – I take a great deal of pleasure from making others happy, and I use my writing as a means of pleasing others.  I love to hear back from people who have read my books, and especially when I have succeeded in captivating them."

For Fame
I prefer to call this section 'To Be Remembered". There's something immortal about having your words on paper, where people can touch them, keep and treasure them, and still read them years after you're gone.
Ann Everett ~ “I want to be known and I want to be remembered.”
Paul Smith ~ "Immortality (a bit glib I know) but my words will live on after I am no more."
Anthony Palmer ~ "Lately I've been writing just to breathe. To know I'm not just waking up to just another day. Find solace in my lack of accomplishments knowing one day I might not be known but my book will. It helps me yell to the world I exist. So says my words, so says my posts and so says my incorrect grammar and the nazi's that follow."

What do you mean WHY? We Have Too!
This one popped up the most. For many of us, there isn't really a why. There's just this absolute feeling of 'We have to write!'. Well, that and 'If we didn't write, the crazy would take over!'. If you're an author, you will understand that second one very well!

Nick Moore ~ "It's damn good fun, and relieves a bit of the pressure in my head from all the craziness that runs rampant in there."
Andy Hainline ~ "I write to quiet the demons and chain-rattling ghosts in my skull, as well as to quench the thirst for wonder that my imagination generates.  It's like it's overheating sometimes, and I have to do something to appease it, to cool it down . . . and so, I write to relieve the pressure inside, to expand my horizons, and to satiate my desire for other worlds to explore."
Cynthia MacGregor - It’s who I am. It’s what I love. I even write for fun on top of writing for a living. I couldn’t NOT write. I need to write like I need to breathe, to eat, it’s vital to me.
Andrew Ewing ~ "I must write to stay sane. Since I was a kid I have had stories, characters, what-ifs, things that seemed so real to me I had trouble separating my thoughts between life and imagination. I would spend hours, each day thinking about being an astronaut, soldier, scientist, teacher, serial killer, detective, doctor, time traveler, and so forth."
Brandon S ~"If I don't write, I feel awful. Like the words want out, and are forcing themselves free."

So there you have it. Thanks to all the wonderful writers out there who responded - make sure to follow the links to see their fantastic profiles!

These are several of the reasons why we write - though there are probably a ton more!

Why do you write?


  1. I'm honoured that you included my comment in this post, Vex. I found myself nodding, grinning and signing as I read along. Well done! A most enjoyable read.

    1. Thank you for responding when the original question was posted! I'm very glad that you enjoyed reading this.

  2. I really enjoyed this post and fully agree with all of the comments! Thank you for posting it! :)

    1. And thank you for reading it Kathryn! Your feedback is always valued.

  3. Great post and it is so cool that you added my comment, thank you. I also agreed with all the others.

  4. Awesome post friend, hope you always keep up the creative spirit


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