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One Writer's Motivation....And Maybe Yours, Too

Why Do We Write?

I write for three reasons.

Not because I hope to make money, but because my head would explode from the pressure of unspoken thoughts if I didn’t let them flow from my pen.

Because the weight of words would drown my sanity if I didn’t set them free.

Because the continual bombardment of stray thoughts and weirdly connected concepts would paralyze me if I didn’t let them skitter around my keyboard.

NOT writing would be like NOT pushing during the final stages of labor.

Maybe other writers are like me. We write because of a need caused by the water-cannon-pressure of the idea-stream in our heads.

We write because we must.

Am I in awe of people who actually earn a living putting ideas on paper? Am I envious of people who talk about six-figure writing income when for me, a modest low-digit, five-figure seems like an unattainable figure?

You bet.

I love reading Tim Denning. Shaunta Grimes, Nicolas Cole. I appreciate their advice and applaud them for their success. (Any writer knows that success only happens with hard work and dedication to the craft. )

Maybe I’ll get there someday. (While I was thrilled to earn $5.32 last month, that’s not why I write.)

Three Reasons, Really…

I write because of the force of ideas.

I write because I love piecing words together to make meaning.


I write because I need to find others who understand me.

Writing is about connecting. My brain reaches out to yours. My heart expands outward. My soul searches for others who feel the same way.

Is it just me? Don’t all writers think, “I bet someone out there knows exactly what I mean….”?

Writers write because they have ideas and they love language. But it’s bigger than that. Maybe, like me, they write because they believe their ideas will connect them to someone else.

Writing What’s Not Trendy

My crazy ideas don’t always align with what’s trendy. Often a little offbeat, they don’t mesh with more popular topics like marketing, entrepreneurship, and self-development.

Books, literature, and history are my interests, and sadly, they aren’t popular topics.

That’s okay.

I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drummer, and I’m not stopping now. I’ll keep congealing my crazy thoughts into text, clinging to the hope that others will want to read about odd tidbits that don’t fit the norm.

Motive Is Everything

Annie Proulx once said, “You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page.”

Yep. That’s what drives me. The wonder of words. The shape of stories. The bloody, messy, magnificent birth of something worth reading for people I haven’t even met yet.

Occasionally, I think of Virginia Woolf and her theory that a woman must have “money and a room of her own in order to write fiction,” but it’s only when I’m low on cash, looking for my next freelance job, and thinking of the decades of non-profitable creative writing.

In my heart, I know that writing is about more than making money.

It’s not that I don’t want it.

It’s that I want to write without obsessing about whether or not my words will generate income.

More often than thinking about Woolf’s “money” theory, I remember her comment, “Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.”

She’s right, of course.

I do it for love. It’s fun. It feels good. I enjoy it. (Okay. It IS like sex.) Like sex for the mind, I do it for the passionate promise that my ideas will commingle with others around the world. A “hook-up” through words. A mind-meld in writing.

Money would be nice, no doubt.

But money as the ONLY motivation to write is the antithesis of a writer’s soul.

A prostitution of purpose and prose.

writing for dollars
Photo by Olga DeLawrence on Unsplash

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