Wednesday, 21 October 2009

"Why do I Write?"

Whilst working on a novel writing becomes a job. Although still a pleasure, I find myself losing touch with the simple joy of writing for writings sake. That’s not to say that I have stopped writing in my journal, scribbling down ideas and writing (bad) poetry – I still do this, but just not as much.
Recently I realised it had been a while since I’d just sat with a notebook and written about something like the musical quality of the stream that runs past the bottom of my garden or written a story with no other purpose in mind than to amuse myself.

This realisation encouraged me to remember why I write. I clearly have a passion to write books that people will enjoy reading. But what of all the other reasons I write? What drives me to put pen to paper over and over again? Why do I write? Well here are some of my answers to this question:

Whether writing fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a self-indulgent journal entry; writing helps me make sense of life. Putting into words a special moment or glorious sight makes these things real and becomes a scrapbook of life.

I’m fascinated by people and relationships. It’s exciting to illustrate in words the beautiful complexity of human interaction and personalities through the creation of fictional characters.

I crave the infinite possibilities I can create using just a pen and my imagination. This provides me with hours of endless fun and escapism. It also allows me to try living many lives and experiences without physical or practical restrictions. It gives me even greater joy to share these experiences and characters with other people.

As well as a playground for my imagination, through writing, I find I discover learn and explore ideas in a way that I can’t do in my mind bogged down as it is with the noisy chaos of living. It provides a forum for my lifetime need to question ‘why?’

Story is my obsession. Whether I’m writing reading or telling, I use story to frame my every experience and journey through life.

On a basic level that I still can’t understand: I need to write. I crave writing. Writing defines who I am and when I’m not writing I feel unhappy.

There are many articles on the internet on the subject of why writers write.

George Orwell wrote the famous essay ‘Why I Write’. The Guardian has interviewed many writers in a regular feature with the title ‘Why I Write’ and it’s interesting to discover various reasons and explanations. On his website Carlos Ruiz Zafon, author of ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ answers this question. A short but interesting answer was written by writer Bernard Maclaverty. But one of my favourite articles, and the one I’d recommend, details Stephanie Calman’s (author of ‘How not to Murder Your Mother’) reflections on her own motivations to write.

Why do you write?



  1. All very valid reasons - I would say I write because I can't imagine not doing it!

  2. Karen -I know what you mean.Kat :-)

  3. I write because I love doing it and cannot imagine ever doing so. It also lets my imagination, emotions flow freely.

    It sometimes isn't so fun when I'm editing and getting a little bogged down with concentrating on gramatical details, etc, but most of the time I love it.

    Word verification: grace

  4. LOvely post.
    I write because it's my way of looking forward and backward at the world as I see it, feel it, touch it etc..

  5. Debs - I'm with you on that. Sometimes it can be hard work but the love of it never really leaves me completely even then.

    Jan - beautifully put. Thanks.


  6. Lovely thoughts, I enjoyed reading this post.

    I write to see, breathe, and travel. Me, with four kids packed into my pockets, my brain, I write still. I am stuffed and full and ready to write my story, my stars moving around me and some day, shooting through the sky, away into another place.

    And I will write then, too.
    I blogged about this awhile back, here's the link...


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