Why Do You Write?


Writing the Breakout Novel, by Donald Maass opened my eyes to another world. I am not done with his book but that hardly matters. He asked the question that has been bothering me the most. Why do you write?

Why do I write? I haven’t the foggiest idea. Jumbles of pictures about people and locations and gripping emotional trauma creep into my mind, and I just want to spit it all out. I get excited. I think other people will be excited too. I like to hang out with myself making things, so stories creep to the top of my list of things to make and . . . I just write them. Yet I struggle. I can’t figure out why I am doing it.

It hit me the other day, “Wow! Jesus used stories!” Master storyteller. I learn something new every day from his stories. But I am not Jesus, and I am not one of the multitude of writers God spoke through to write the Bible. I am just a person, living life, trying to figure it out, crying when my heart breaks, jumping when I am excited, planning on graduating from college . . . you know, the daily routine. Why should I write?

If I were to die tomorrow without having written a single piece of world-class bit of literature, I doubt the world would notice, or even that it would be a worse-off place because I didn’t get my story written. Or if I were to live until  I was eighty-five, having written several amazing novels, would it really change the course of history that much? Would my work have any significance at all? I kind of doubt it.

Words are alive. They breathe. They move, and they beat out a rhythm we all end up accepting or rejecting, following or turning away from. In that sense, I know once my words were written and sent out, they would change something, but would it really be worth it to invest so much of my time?

I read these books because I want to learn and because I want to write. Is reading them worth it? It takes a lot of my time, and I wonder, should I be out, living life instead? I am not sure yet. Just like I am not sure why I write.

Which is a problem. If I don’t really care about my writing . . . or don’t know why I write, how can I expect my readers to care?




One thought on “Why Do You Write?

  1. Ah so true! You are on the right track, asking questions and seeking answers…they will find you. It is the journey that is exhilarating and frustrating at the same time.

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