Why Do You Write?

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We see and hear this question a lot: Why do you write?

The funny thing is that I’ve seen some people answer this question differently every time it’s asked.  Typically, this is part of an interview, so we feel like there’s limited space to answer.  Maybe that’s why an author plunges their hand into the bag of ‘why’ and pulls only one of the reason out.  It’s unfortunate because an author who answers ‘I do it for the love of words’ one time and says ‘to pay the bills’ a few months later can get labeled as a hypocrite.  Then the backtracking occurs even though they were correct both times.  It might even be that reasons change.

Personally, I write because I love writing and enjoy sharing my stories.  That’s the main reason and I think every person has a core reason.  Other answers come about to connect to the core, so I can’t really ignore them.  I do want to make enough money to live on with my writing.  Through this, I can continue writing full-time and more of my stories can come to light.  I won’t deny that part of me wants to leave a literary legacy behind as well, which is why I’m trying to create a vast world with Windemere.  Only one series that I have planned will appear outside of Windemere and only because it’s in outer space.  This could change if I feel that I’m not up to tackling science-fiction due to my lack of science knowledge and desire to explain the inner workings of some tech.  Finally, I truly can’t see myself doing anything except writing.  So, it boils down to:

  • Love of writing.
  • Desire to bring escapist joy to others.
  • Money.
  • Leaving a legacy.
  • Don’t know any better.

So, one could say that it really isn’t a simple, cut-and-dry answer for me.  Though that’s just me.  I’ve met people who really do boil down to a single reason such as ‘easy way to make money’, ‘easy way to get famous’, or ‘I have a story to tell’.

What are your reasons for taking on the mantle of author/writer?  I’ll be making a post at the end of the week with everyone’s answer unless a person requests not to be included.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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60 Responses to Why Do You Write?

  1. K. A. Brace says:

    I’m on board with most of that but I write poetry and know there is no money in that. >KB


  2. Insight says:

    I love writing because I’m totally addicted to it since the day when I started reading “anything” so seriously! Have you ever personally felt that connection? I mean, between reading and writing?

    – Rahul


    • Definitely. The stuff I read have been very big influences on what I write. It took a little while to consider that if I enjoyed reading then I could try writing. There’s that confidence that one needs to build up as well as the idea that the author is really another human being instead of a name on the cover.


  3. I’m with you Charles – I love it. For me as a total readerholic and mental escape artist all my life, the writing came late, but now that particular joy of creating worlds, people, dragons, scenarios – whatever – can’t be matched by anything else that I’ve ever done.


  4. I think the reason evolves over time. I began writing as a way to express myself in a healing way. But then I began writing poetry. Poetry is a great self-expression for me and I must admit that I still write for myself, but I love to write something that will evoke powerful emotions in other people too.


  5. twixie13 says:

    I know that one of my reasons isn’t anything about making a living off of it, as I really can’t imagine my work making a lot. Of course, I would not be at all opposed if it did. I think the main reason for my being a writer is because I just enjoy creating, in general. Also, it can be an excellent way to relieve stress. Plus, there’s something sort of fun (though mildly terrifying) about sharing my work with others.


    • Creating for the sake of creation? You don’t hear that reason very often, but it’s certainly a big one. I agree there is an exciting terror in sharing work with others. You’re so proud like a child with his/her first drawing, but you have the anxiety of an adult. At least that happens with me.


      • twixie13 says:

        The first time I’d sent a copy of a book I plan to polish next month and in June, I remember feeling like a parent sending their kid to school for the first time: partially proud, but with that fear of “What if they don’t like him?”. I do know that my work is something that not everyone would like, though. But one thing that keeps me going is knowing that there is an audience for just about anything out there.


      • Took me a while to accept that I wasn’t going to ‘wow’ everyone in the world. Strange how that isn’t something I figured out right away.


  6. sknicholls says:

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you said reasons change. Today it could be one reason, tomorrow another. That’s not so hypocritical as it is self reflective. Some of my reasons are sort of selfish. It’s therapeutic. it’s a creative expression outlet. At least recovering the costs of publishing has that reward. I don’t know about getting rich. it happens to a few, but I’m not holding my breath. Sharing a story. That’s my primary, or core, reason…today. It’s fun, should always be a reason, else you are doing something wrong IMHO!


    • I think the ‘hypocrite’ word is thrown around by people who either aren’t in the field or are simply angry. I remember being told by one person to ‘not bullshit myself and admit I do everything for the money’. Everyone has a different idea on how reasons and success work, which is where some odd debates turn up.


  7. Hmmm … well, it started off for me in fanfiction, because I was absolutely furious that Sirius Black died in the Harry Potter series, and I just couldn’t rest until I wrote a version of his story where he survived and had awesome fun times with Harry (and a resurrected James Potter). That showed me that I really enjoyed writing — mostly the coming up with stories part, although not necessarily the writing them down part. So I suppose I write because A) I love coming up with stories, and the transition from thought to paper just seems like a natural progression to me, B) I love reading, and I write books I want to read and that I think others will enjoy, and C) To leave something behind of myself when I’m gone. The last one is a bit depressing (or possibly inspirational?), but I was really affected by the movie Troy — there’s this one scene where Achilles can choose to stay home, live a long life, and die an old and happy man, or he can go to war and be remembered forever as a hero. I like the idea of being remembered 🙂


    • SPOILERS! Joking. 😛

      It’s interesting how often authors come from reading something that they disagree with. Death of a character or a romance they don’t like can be a real spark.

      If it makes you feel any better, I go along with C too. It’s a big factor in what I do and you can see it in the way I have ‘destiny vs free will’ in my stories. We always want to leave something behind to prove to future generations that we were here. Some people are fine with survival, but creative types like us want more.


  8. Olivia Stocum says:

    I write because if I don’t, the voices in my head take over and I can no longer function as a normal human being. Recently a new friend asked me if Schizophrenia ran in my family. She didn’t mean it to hurt me, she was honestly just curious about the writing process and how my mind works. I laughed and told her than Writing was the only socially acceptable from of schizophrenia. She laughed back and said something like, “Well, that clears it all up then!”


  9. Great topic, Charles! I write mostly to get the characters in my head to stop bugging me (although in some cases it simply encourages them) and sometimes as a method of wish fulfillment, or living vicariously through them. Mostly though, it’s because I simply enjoy the story that spins itself out.


  10. Oloriel says:

    Im pretty much on board with what you wrote, except for the money. Id rather have one crazed fan, than a million bucks.


  11. M T McGuire says:

    I write because…
    1, I love it.
    2, Now I’ve started I can’t stop. I don’t call myself an authorholic for nothing. To be honest, my life would be very much easier if I didn’t write but I can’t give it up.
    3.Real life is wonderful but I need to pimp it in my dreams. And since I live in this dream world, I guess I may as well share it.




  12. Writing is what calms me.
    My therapy
    My calling – figuring I have something someone needs to hear.
    Would be fun to be paid, but whatever.
    I just really love it, mostly, that’s it. 🙂


  13. The tougher question may be, “How could we not write?” 🙂 I was writing avidly many years before publishing became a viable option or before I discovered blogging. This seems to be true for many writers.


  14. Ellespeth says:

    Love and life look and feel better in one poetic frame or another 🙂


  15. melissajanda says:

    For most of my life, there has been a yearning for something, an unquenchable thirst that I could never satisfy. I tried different things and while many signs pointed to writing, I always dismissed them. I could never be a writer. I lacked the knowledge, the skills, the experience, and most importantly the voice. But one day I wrote a story (not a school assignment, but one I wanted to write) and the feeling I got from the experience was exhilarating. The unquenchable thirst had finally been satiated and the reasons I shouldn’t write didn’t matter anymore. I had a story to tell.

    I certainly don’t write to become famous. As an introvert, the mere thought of that spotlight, no matter how remote, fills me with trepidation, but I press on anyway because I have this burning desire to create worlds, to give life to the voices in my head. I write to explore my thoughts and to learn new things. I write to highlight some injustice that won’t let my mind rest. I write to reflect on something I find particularly moving or beautiful. I write because I love the way a solitary sentence can stir my soul. Writing is like a drug for me. I’m utterly, hopelessly addicted to the high and I love every minute of it.


    • Interesting how people don’t always look at writing as something to satisfy the craving. It can be placed in a ‘mindless hobby’ category so easily because there’s a strange mentality about it. Many think it’s great to be an author, but it’s only luck to get there and trying is pointless. A very big ‘probably not going to be me’ belief when so many other careers work off believing that you can rise the ranks with hard work. Or backstabbing. That seems to be popular in some businesses too.

      All good reasons to write. That introvert thing is a tricky monkey though. I’m not a fan of crowds, but it’s something to get used to if I ever do book signings or bigger conventions.


  16. I write because it’s fun. Is that crazy, or what?


  17. Kirsten says:

    I write because it makes me whole. When I’m not writing, I don’t feel complete. I also write because it is a way for me to resist temptation when it comes to addictions! I also write because I love to write 🙂


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