There are different reasons people write. Some write to educate, some to gain prestige, some to inspire, some to entertain, some to simply see their story in their own hands (or eReader), some to pay bills, and other reasons I hadn’t thought of.
There is no right or wrong reason to write. We are all different. Our needs and desires are not the same. In other words, there is no one-size fits all way of doing any of this. This is why you can’t pinpoint a specific formula on what someone did and get the same results. Everyone’s results are going to vary. Unlike the 2+2=4 equation, writing and the byproducts of writing are not fixed.
The first thing you want to figure out is why you are writing.
You can have more than one reason. Often, we have a couple anyway. I’ll list some possible reasons.
1. The love of writing
For some writers, they write because they love it. If they didn’t write, they’d go crazy. They need to write. It is an essential part of who they are. But there are some writers who could leave it all behind. If they never wrote another word in their lives, they’d be perfectly content. This distinction right here is where all the other reasons for writing branch out into different categories.
2. Writing to inform, inspire, entertain, gain prestige, money, pleasure…and so on
Nonfiction vs. fiction. There can be some overlap in these areas. A person writing fiction might take some experience in their lives or in someone else’s life and weave that into a story. A person wishing to inform people about a certain product might weave in a fictional example to help get their point across.
An owner of a business might write a book teaching people about their product to help gain credibility as a business owner. Or maybe that owner hopes to boost sales for the product or earn more money by selling the book. A professor might write an article for a journal to gain some prestige. A writer might write a book in hopes of becoming a household name. Someone who is the sole breadwinner of the family has a greater need to provide a living through their writing than someone who has a spouse who earns the living. Someone who wants to share their journey with others and help them through a rough time may not care at all about money.
3. Writing for yourself or others
Some people write for themselves. Some write for a niche group. Some for a wide audience.
I know there are some people who argue that if you write only for yourself, you have no business publishing a book, but I disagree with that. Everyone has a right to publish a book, regardless of their reason for writing. Not everyone writing is looking for money or has a plan to promote their book. If you just want to have a copy of your book in your hands and on your eReading device, there’s nothing wrong with that. If you want to write for a small group of people, there’s no reason why you can’t do that. One of the best things about self-publishing is that it’s opened the door for a variety that wasn’t there before.
For people looking to write for a wider audience, narrow down your audience. Even if you want the widest audience possible, your book will not appeal to every single person from 0-100 regardless of religious faith, cultural background, economic status, etc. For example, a hardcore 40-year-old science fiction lover is probably not going to want to read a New Adult romance. It’s possible but not likely. Knowing your audience will help you tailor your books to that group when you write them.
You can write for yourself and a wider audience. Usually, that seems to be the case with fiction writers. Perhaps you love writing horror and happen to find an audience who shares your joy for horror. That’s having your cake and eating it, too. And there’s nothing wrong with writing primarily for yourself and happening to build a fan base while you’re at it. Likewise, there are some authors who don’t care for a certain genre but write it for their audience. Again, it’s fine to do it that way if that is what falls into the writer’s goals. Someone on a forum mentioned that they write what they do because that is what pays the bills. But the stories this writer chooses is based solely off what the fans want, and I’m sure that affects the approach the writer uses when writing their books.
The reasons are not limited to these things but hopefully this will help you think of your own reasons for writing.
Next time I post, it’ll be about using the reasons we write what we do and developing a strategy for what you write and a publishing schedule.