Why do you write?

I have never thought of writing for reputation and honor. What I have in my heart must come out; that is the reason why I compose.
Ludwig van Beethoven
German Romantic composer (1770 – 1827)

I came across this quote today and it really made me stop and think – why do I write?  It certainly isn’t for money or notoriety, since I already have a fulfilling career.  Initially I think it was a challenge; ever since I could read I readily devoured every book I could get my hands on – fantasy, science fiction, mysteries – you name it.  Those books were a welcome escape for me at the time, and I always wondered if I could write a story worth reading. 

I had toyed with the notion of writing several different times, but a wicked little voice in my head would always whisper ‘You’re not good enough’ or ‘No one will ever want to read something you’ve written‘ or perhaps the worst one, ‘You’re not that creative.’ 

In 2002 a few months after the death of my father and my grandmother, my youngest son had to have surgery to remove a cyst behind his lung.  It was then that I realized that life was far to short to listen to such foolish thoughts and this particular inner demon was finally muzzled (although it occasionally tries to return).  

The result – I started writing.  To my surprise, I found that I loved the creative process.  I could create, destroy and re-create characters, creatures and the world around them as I pleased until I was happy with the result.  I have discovered a welcome tonic – if I have a rough day at the office, I can come home and work on a chapter or two and presto – I feel better!  (note:  the characters of my novel have learned that if I’ve had a particularly bad day, I tend to take it out on them – sorry guys…)

So why do I write?  Because the story inside needs to come out – I write because I love the process and the result.  To my fellow writers out there, why do you write?  How did you start down the path you now travel?

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6 Responses to “Why do you write?”

  1. Wonderful post and I especially enjoyed the quote. Thank you so much for sharing it. I feel as though we’re kindred spirits because you so aptly described the “why” of writing. Well done indeed. *sigh*

  2. As you already know, I agree with you entirely. I think writing is a skill that comes naturally. I know my entire day is comprised of writing or thinking about writing. I feel this somehow connects all writers. Great post, Michael!

    • Thanks, Tiffany! Whether we write for profit or pleasure, I think we should always encourage each other. I know that the critique group I am part of has always been very supportive and offered much advice and insight.

  3. Michael, I agree with both, you and Tiffany. Writing is so many things; it would really be hard to pick just one. I’ve always written on relationships and spiritual growth, but about 4 years ago I got involved with an online writing community that helped me refocus some of my writing into pleasure writing. I still write how-tos and relationship stuff, but I love to write fiction for me. In fact, I wrote a novel that is still in the editing stage that I had a whole lot of fun writing. I love to create characters and see where they end up and who they end up with. It’s relaxing and fun. Thanks for your article.

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