I keep stumbling across articles about the best reasons why you should write. Articles and blogs like Top Ten Reasons to Become an Author, and What Not to Write About. Now, this bothers be in more ways than one, because there is only one person in this world who knows you well enough to decide the best course of action: YOU. I find it hard to believe that other people’s advice is being taken over that of your own. The truth of the matter is that you alone can decide what you want to get out of your writing.
I have decided to put together a list of the best reasons why I write. Why? There are too many conflicting ideas when it comes to writing. If you are going to take the advice of another author, then it must be objective and focus on writing as the verb and not as the noun. People continuously confuse writing as a pleasure and writing as a career. If you have traditionally or self-published a book, you have a writing career. If you keep your writing locked in a safe and it never sees the light of day, then you are writing for pleasure.
I see far too many authors talk about how if you are writing for the money, then you shouldn’t be writing at all. I would like to point out the paragraph above. If you put a book on sale and begin to see income from it, then you are writing for the money. Even if it is only one single book. I mean let’s be real for a moment, if it was just because you enjoyed doing it, then you wouldn’t go to all the trouble of getting it published, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Just imagine an architect or an accountant who refused to get paid for their services because they were doing it for fun. It doesn’t work like that, and neither does writing as a career.
Gracefully steps down from soap box
Without further ado, I give you my top five reasons why I write:
1. Escape Reality
This one is one of the more obvious ones so I chose to start with it. It will depend on what genre you are writing, but in the long run it means the same thing. I write fantasy, because of the worlds I create, and the characters I describe, I am able to somehow escape reality. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. I have a great wife and amazing children, but when you can create a world, and immerse yourself into it, some amazing things can happen. Don’t let your imagination erode away without letting it stretch its legs and breathe the fresh air.
2. It Was This Or Piano
I firmly believe that for the most part, people need an outlet. Some people play piano, and guitar, while others build birdhouses and fix cars. Not that I find the world of automotive repair dull or birdhouse building particularly boring, I just chose writing as my hobby. I think that if you are looking for an outlet, then it needs to be something you really enjoy doing. For me writing is that outlet, and I love to be able to spend time in it. Maybe not as much as I would like to, but I also have three children, who seem to suck time right out of reality.
3. Tell Your Story
We all have a story. A life that sometimes peeks out of the shadows long enough to want to be seen by the rest of the world. This was the main reason why I wrote A Father’s Guide. Was it an all-inclusive parenting guide? Nope. And that was not the intention. I kept thinking about all of the funny and interesting things that my children did, and I thought that I could share that with the rest of the world. The parenting book was just the car that drove it there. Your story doesn’t need to be the greatest thing in the world, just great to you, and worth sharing.
4. Share Your Passion
If you have a passion, and I am not talking about enjoyment, I am talking about a passion for creating something, then why not share that with the world? My mind begins to wonder away from writing, and onto other things. What would music be like today, if the Beatles never made a record, or if Slash never picked up a guitar? What about if George Washington was comfortable with British rule or Thomas Edison didn’t have a knack for inventing things, what would things look like today? The world would go on, but would it really be the same world? You will never know what kind of difference your passion can make until you put it out there.
This one is here, but not for the reasons you may expect. I don’t need to have my name on the most influential person list or win a Nobel Peace Prize. What I do want to do is leave my mark on the world in at least some small way. It is no different from finishing college or landing that big promotion. For me it is my children. I want them to grow up and see the things I have accomplished and be motivated by them. In fact, I’ll go up one more level. I want them to see the things I have done, shrug, and say they will do better. If there is one thing I would strive to do is to put my children in a better place than I am now.
These are the reasons that I write. Maybe we share the same ones, and maybe yours are completely different. The most important thing about having a reason to write is not the specific reason; it’s that you have one in the first place. What are the reasons why you write?