Why Do We Write?

Sometimes people must wonder why people write. You probably have. I know I have, since, you know, I’m writing this right now (which is bizarre in itself because by the time you read this I’ve already finished writing, but as you read it, it’s as if you’re seeing the thoughts unfold as I think them. I’m also beginning to wonder if I’m using too many brackets. I’ve been doing that a lot lately).

Writing is something that is necessary to society. It’s how we communicate. But I’m not really talking about journalism, or writing emails, but creative writing. Writing poems, and novels, and everything in between. I mean, writing has pretty dismal prospects. You go into writing to make money and the odds that you actually do are pretty slim. Even if you are good, it takes a long time to be published, or a long time to become known by people. That’s if you ever do. But that’s the funny thing about writing. We don’t really choose it, but rather it chooses us.

That’s how I feel, anyway. You might be different. Maybe you think you’re going to write a best seller, make millions, and get a beach house in Malibu. If you do, congratulations. But aside from making millions, I’ve realized I write because it’s a part of who I am, and I don’t think I would enjoy life as much without it.

I’ve been working on some dark poetry lately to put in a collection to self-publish, and I’ve finished the writing part, I just need to get a cover made. But I thought that after I finished the collections of poems that I would stop writing poetry. Not that I don’t like poetry, I do, but I thought that I was done with that and I would just work on novels, since novels have a wider market than poetry does. But then a funny thing happened. I found myself writing more poetry. That’s when I realized that while it’d be really nice to make money, and I hope to do that one day, that’s not why I write. That shouldn’t ever be the sole reason why anyone writes (not saying that’s why I write, but that’s part of why I was thinking of just focusing on novels). I write because something in my soul tells me to do it. Something screams at me to write down words. Writing also has therapeutic benefits and I always feel better after I express what I’m feeling in poetry.

Saying this I know that a lot of people want to make money from their writing, and I think that’s a great goal. I also know that creative writing has its place in the world and is needed for all sorts of reasons. But if money is your only goal, or your first goal, then you need to rethink that. Writing takes a lot of persistence and determinations and there are probably easier ways to turn a buck in the world. Plus, if you’re not writing from your heart there’s a good chance people won’t buy your stuff anyway. Write because you love writing, not because you love money.
Why do you write?