Why I Write?

“Why do you write” might be a more important question” than “what do you write” even though you will seldom be asked this as an author. The “why” is powerful.

“To be sell books”, “to make money”, or “to be discovered” are not valid answers. Let me explain why. You could sell anything. Why do you write?  You could make money working at a McDonald’s.  Why do you write? You could be discovered as an actor, singer, or artist. Why do you write?

The way you answer this fundamental question tells me a lot about the quality of your product.

Before I share my motivation, let me share some answers I’ve heard and what these answers mean to me:

  • I want to tell my family about my life. I actually love this answer and it tells me your specific audience. If I don’t get your book, that’s okay. It was never meant for me anyway. 
  • I love writing. Again, also a great answer. You can do something simply because you love it and no one can judge you for expressing yourself simply for the joy of it. I might love cooking but I will never be Bobby Flay; that’s okay. I’m not cooking (or writing) because I need to be a professional.

“Why do I write?”

I feel there are important real world issues that can best be explored through science fiction. For example, Project Dandelion examines how we place value on life and asks the question “does life have value outside of culture?”

I’m currently writing another novel examines discrimination and asks “what makes you human?”

I write because I believe these are important issues and science fiction provides vehicle for discussing them.

Write Something That Matters.
D.G.Rettig

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2 thoughts on “Why I Write?

  1. I’ve discovered much my writing is anger-driven. Something infuriates or even really annoys me, and I wrap it into a character and write a story about it.

    I write as an act of love, too, but it’s the anger that really gets me started. In my own little world, I can bring villains down, and good will win. I suppose that’s why I write. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think the important thing is to be honest with yourself. Writers who actually get writing done don’t write for just one reason because one reason won’t constantly hold out. We write for all of the reasons, and being truthful to yourself can help even the “superficial” ones push you harder, can help guide you into understanding your own dissatisfaction with your work.

    Lots of writers say, “I write because I love writing,” and that’s great. Then they bring their books to a writer’s group to get critiqued. Also great. And then they get criticized. Good. But then they respond with, “Well, I write for myself.”

    Also great. That’s your prerogative. But why did you come here? Why did you bring your book for someone else to be read if you “don’t care what others think?”

    No one who writes writes only to sell books – it’s not sustainable. Even if it dictates WHAT they choose to write, authors who admit to pandering to commercialism will tell you they get other things out of it too. But those who admit that they would like their book to do well are more likely to critically analyze their work, to reread it, to try and understand other people’s perspectives. If you write for “creativity” how do you know when our book is done? How do you know if it could be better? Sure, if you truly only did it for your own enjoyment and you achieved that enjoyment, then it doesn’t really matter, as long as you ARE having fun. But if you’re NOT satisfied with your work? Even if you love it? What then?

    It’s hard to see new writers bemoaning their lack of sales, who write declarations of “I don’t write for the money!” and attack “commercial” writers, growing more and more disenchanted with the lack of impact their book has had on the world. And the truth is, if they asked themselves the harder questions of why they feel this way, why they are not happy with the results, rather than discounting their desire to be noticed, they would be far more likely to reexamine their work and improve it, artistically even.

    When we ask ourselves why do we write, we don’t need to put reasons into “right or wrong.” We just need open with ourselves.

    Like

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