Why Do We Write?

Our topic today is another question with a whole host of different answers. Why do we write? It’s a tricky one. We all have our own reasons for writing and writing means something different to all of us. For some people, it’s a nice way to relax, purely for fun. For others, it’s a career or second job.

One common answer to the question though, is that we write because we love it. The act of writing gets at something in us that makes us want to do it – and then keep on doing it. Watching a new world form on the page as you progress with your novel, or creating a whole new life the more you write about your characters, is a pretty powerful thing.

At its basest level, however, writing is a purely practical enterprise. It’s a means of recording things. We all do it, whether it’s with endless to do lists, reminders to ourselves or writing minutes in meetings. We’ve done it since 3000BC. In some way, everything ever written says ‘we were here.’

And that’s another common answer given by people who love to write – they want to leave something tangible behind. It’s also one of the reasons some people get into independent publishing; even if they’re not fussed about selling hundreds of thousands of books, they still like they idea of having something solid that they can hold in their hands, knowing that they created it.

I think one of the main reasons that the question of why we write is so hard to answer, though, is that ultimately, no one really knows. We can list a whole heap of reasons, both practical and emotional, but for writers, at the end of the day, it’s just something we do.

What do you reckon? Do you have specific reasons for writing or do you just accept the fact that you do it and get on with it?