Why Do Writers Write?

Amid the client work, the endless pitching and the email exchanges, among the chatter of Twitter and the relentless demands of a blog schedule, sometimes it’s important to remember why we write.

I’ve been reading and listening to a lot of Jim Rohn’s stuff lately. He certainly had a lot to say on the business of becoming successful. The importance he places on words, the spoken word as well as the written, stood out in particular for me.

Rohn stressed the importance of writing things down, of keeping a journal, of reading and writing more in order to learn and to grow.

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>> I went from full-time worker to full-time writer online – from scratch. Find out how you can do the same RIGHT HERE.

Sure, he trails off a bit at the end of this clip… but it got me thinking: why do I write?

Why do avid readers write, and why do avid writers read? (You might need to read that last sentence again!)

What are the reasons for writing? What are the benefits? In other words:

Why do writers write?

From the obscure to the mundane, here are 20 reasons. (This list is by no means exhaustive so please feel free to expand upon it with your own reasons in the comments section underneath.)

1. To explore how they feel about something; to develop their own ideas or the ideas of others.

2. To provide a context from which other people can think and develop ideas.

3. To remember stuff (both the important and the seemingly trivial).

4. To tell a story.

5. To get paid.

6. To challenge.

7. To create. (A fundamental human desire?)

8. To feel significant.

9. To explore or make sense of what it is to be human.

10. To make observations.

11. To remember.

12. To empty the mind, to release stress.

13. To be truly alone.

14. To improve their writing.

15. To become a better communicator.

16. To simplify complexity.

17. To seek truth.

18. To leave something behind.

19. Because they don’t know what they think until they write it down.

20. Because they have something to say. As F. Scott Fitzgerald put it:

[Tweet “You don’t write because you want to say something; you write because you’ve got something to say”]

Of course there are many more reasons. Why do writers write? You tell me.

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Image courtesy of Nana B Agyei via Flickr.

10 thoughts on “Why Do Writers Write?

  1. Excellent list Kirsty. I write because:

    #1, it makes me a good living
    #2, I love the freedom to live where I want and set my own hours
    #3, I really enjoy writing

  2. Great question. The reason that comes up most often for me is,

    I write so I know what I think.

    It’s like what flows out through my fingers doesn’t go through the same filters as the rest of my thinking, or has a separate channel, and I can surprise myself sometimes.

    Does that happen to other people too?

    Of course, I also don’t mind writing to get PAID, lol.


  3. Writing for me is giving expressions to my wild, painful, idiotic, stupid, special & hidden fellings…….it’s about exploring myself………writing is this to me……..EXPRESSION…….
    wat u think a good reason enough?

  4. Glad u liked……actually these days really confused…I write one shots on webpage…love fiction kind….but d best part..jst 2 people knw it that m writing…its quite exciting..& it happened all of a sudden..I did it for fun..& wen my first post ws posted I ws jumping like a dumb maniac here & there & my heart skipp (special) beats wen I write………..& smile comes automatically wen I read d comments of my readers……but my mom is really tensed about my career…as I can’t live my whole life writing on web……tensed confused….but these days writing is my life….can’t help it

  5. Kirsty, this was an amazing piece! I was seriously staring at my screen as I read through it all at least twice on the spot. I’ve always understood the reasons why I write, in the sense of practical use, but I never thought of the deeper reasons. Writing does something wonderful to my heart, and that’s why I do it.

    I wrote a response to your article with a list of my own, if you want to take a look at my answers: http://www.alovingphilomath.com/2016/06/why-do-i-write/

    Thank you for all you do!

    1. You’re welcome Raquel, and thanks for taking the time to comment. Your response post is great – I urge readers to check it out.

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