Why do you write?

Is it because you need to? Because so many stories swirl around your head, rife with characters so desperate to draw breath, even in imagined form, that they compel you ever onwards?

Do you write to seek some form of immortality? For what is the fear of death, but the fear of being forgotten? The fear that you cease to exist and no one remembers. Do you put pen to paper, words to screen, to preserve some part of yourself for the future generations, in some bid to live forever?

Or is it just to escape? Do you write the feelings so that you don’t have to feel them? Is it safer when they belong to someone else, some character printed on a screen who lives only in imagination and pretend? But do you not feel with them, every step and fear, so are they not still your own, even as you give them away to another? How can you escape yourself?

Why do you write? To share some deep wisdom with the world? To save some terrible heartbreak or reveal the pathway to peace? To hide your opinions between the lines and see if anyone can understand or care?

Why do you need a reason? Do the masses question why a photographer took a photo? Or why an artist painted a portrait? They took the photo because the picture was there, waiting to be immortalized. The artist painted because the subject was there, waiting to be shared. Why must there be another reason to write, other than because the story is simply there? Why must there be so much “over thinking”? Why is writing expected to contain so many complex “reasons”; so many secret wisdoms and symbols? Why must the motivation be so much grander? Why must this be some higher calling? Why can it simply not be?

Why is it that you carry on, day to day, and put pen to paper? Why is it that YOU write?


  1. This has the potential to be a philosophical discussion. However, I am philosophically deficient, so I will give a basic answer.

    I write because my characters refuse to let me sleep unless I write their stories, and even when I write their stories, another character or two will pop up and give me grief as well. It’s a never ending cycle of torment while I lie in bed and pray for the sweetness of dreams. But I suffer the onslaught of “write me, write me, write me” instead.

    Case in point? This morning is Saturday (no school!) and my kids were sleeping in for a change. Do you think this would be the time I would get some extra ZZZZ’s? Nope. A friend had sent me a link to a story the other day and suddenly–out of nowhere–I started dreaming about an idea based on that picture. Then I got all worked up and couldn’t get back to sleep. And before the morning was over, this one idea had stemmed into a series of novellas. All I can say is that these characters show no mercy!


    1. ha ha! i chopped off my opening explanation – teach me to post and not view my post after wards :p

      Yeah, this was done in response to a myriad of posts about how novels have to do this or do that or teach this or say this and it was like “I thought they should entertain you?” when an author writes a book you get six trillion questions about what does your book “mean” or “say” or “teach” but if I take a photograph no one asks those questions, they just accept it as is, and, in fact, in visual arts it’s preferred to leave it open to the interpretation of the viewer, so why isn’t it when it comes to writing? what’s wrong with assuming your reader is smart enough to find what they want – or not – in it?

      Ha ha! I know exactly what you mean! the characters can get so annoying – I once tried explaining that to my dad and he just gave me this look like I was insane and said “Um. okay….”

      1. Good point on how people expect something deep off a book. I remember those awful English classes where we had to see symbols in everything. It drove me nuts. After awhile, I just wanted to scream, “Maybe it’s just a white wall!”

        I don’t read to glean some hidden truth. I’d rather be entertained. 🙂

        1. exactly! even worse is some of the poetry – especially the ones that are random words:

          bird flies
          darkness falls
          from nothing
          jump up and down
          rhyme three circles
          find the moon
          and then
          you know

          etc. I mean that doesn’t MEAN anything, LOL!

  2. SAB says:

    Why do I write? I write because I need to. It is like breathing I can’t stop and I’ve tried a time or two (a story for another time). Writing is part of who I am.

    I was a storyteller before I was writer, but being a writer wasn’t far behind. There was a time when I wrote to escape my life and release the emotions I wasn’t allowed to feel in a safe place. But that is not the case anymore, I love to tell the stories in my head. I love to create worlds and people to fill those worlds. I love to see the characters come alive on the page. I love to show others the events in the lives of those characters and describe some of the places I’ve seen.

    Why do I write? Because I love it. I enjoy it. It is who I am.

    Do I need anymore reasons? 😀

    1. You mean to make a boat load of money isn’t there? 😉

      1. SAB says:

        Nope, that would be a great side effect though LOL

        Getting rich by doing something I love! 😀

  3. I also write because my story characters demand it. If I were to meet one of you in person and spend twenty minutes talking to you, I could develop a new story character using your human characteristics. Each of us is unique, and I can often find the real you hiding behind your eyes, your facial expressions, the way to look into my eyes, or lover them to the floor. The way you stand or shift your body while you talk, the way you tip your head as you listen to my point of view. Each of us speaks with their own special inflection in their voice that I can remember for days after speaking to you.

    I wake at night and have to get out of bed and write down the details of a new character that developed in my dreams. Have you ever met a person for the first time, found yourself in locked eye contact with them, then discover you are finishing each others sentences as you both talked at once? Those peoples human characteristics often become story characters in my writings. My story characters flow out of me as if they were multiple personalities stored within my mind. As long as humans roam the Earth, I will never run out of new story characters to write about.

    Ronald Dean Rellinger

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