Why do you write?

A year ago I came across some very interesting answers to the question ‘why do you write?’ Here’s a section of those answers:

The answers to this simple question ranged from ‘to complete my homework task‘, through ‘it’s therapy for me‘, and ‘because there aren’t enough people of my background/ethnicity/gender/religion etc writing‘ to ‘because I want to find out what sort of person/writer I am.’

I think it’s wonderful and amazing that there are so many different reasons people write, and so many different ways in which it is helpful, therapeutic, creative, fulfilling, exciting, addictive, restorative etc…

Here is a section of answers (which I have slightly edited to preserve anonymity)

  • I need to figure out what kind of story to write
  • to find out what I think
  • I write to learn what I have to say – what I know and what I don’t know
  • I write to voice the things I can’t articulate.
  • to tell stories I want to read
  • I write books I want to read, books I wish existed but can’t find.
  • so the page can hold all my soul’s whispers and secrets
  • actually, because no one else knows my stories like I do
  • … prosaically  because it makes me happy. Because it makes me feel more like myself. Because it feels good to create.
  • Because murder is illegal.  Writing lets me express myself and vent without consequences

I guess these answers were, like mine, instant, off-the-top-of-your-head sort of answers that we write on social media, and yet they are really interesting.

I very much like, and agree with  the idea that writing is a form of exploration, and of giving a platform to one’s thoughts and feelings in a way that other ‘art’ forms don’t to the same degree. I’m not sure every writer would agree with the ‘to tell stories I want to read’ and to ‘write books I want to read‘, sentiments – but I do, I really do! If I don’t really enjoy my own books (without being uncritical and self-indulgent) then I can’t expect others to,can I? And isn’t the ‘it makes me happy… it feels good...’ answer wonderful? And the last one… don’t you just love the last one – ‘because murder is illegal…’ !!!


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