The Reasons Why

The question of “Why do you write?” is fraught with assumptions, expectations, suppositions, hypotheses and inferences. And that’s just from the writer. Does the audience really care why you write, or are they more interested in the story that you have written and are engaging with?

There are two answers to this question: One aspect of the question refers to genre: Why do you write fantasy/horror/sci fi/romance/suburban realism? The other aspect of the question is the philosophical underpinning of a writer’s purpose and their skill in the craft.

I write “suburban realism” (a term coined by @icypop). Therefore, this is why I write:

* I write because I can make the beautiful ugly, the ugly beautiful and because people’s lives matter.

* I write because it challenges, entertains, questions, pushes buttons, makes you laugh and cry, lets you escape.

* I write because it’s the little things about life that intrigue me.

I put the question out there on twitter. Here are a couple of responses.

@texistential (author of Crooked Fang) had this perspective: You know what, to be honest, it’s nobody’s goddamn business why you write. Just that you do.

Whether you’re nuts, desperate, attention whore, drama queen, or just looking to give is your business.

I write the stuff I want to read. I write because it gives this force within a voice and a life.

Writing is the perfect introverts’ pastime.

@icypop weighed in from a writer’s perspective: Always fascinated to hear what makes other people pick up a pen. 

Always curious!! Just don’t think any one person can state why writers write. We’re all different.

Check out her reasons for writing by visiting her blog, Icy’s Blunt Pencil.

The question sparked a twitter conversation between @Dannigrrl5 and myself.

revhappiness (Adam) – Is the reader really interested in why you write or they simply enjoying the story you’ve written? Or is it only writers who want to know?

Dannigrrl5 (Dannielle) – Non-writers always say “How do you come up with that?” but I think it’s a rhetorical question. If you try to answer, their eyes glaze over and they fall into a deep coma.

revhappiness – You see writers blogging about why they write, but I assume they are writing for other writers, not for their readership.

Dannigrrl5 – In general I think this is true. It’s for each other or for people interested in trying to write.

revhappiness – Assume not many readers want to know why. Some do, like I do with music. Others may be curious about the creative process.

From a muso perspective, I like to know why an artist composed a piece, but I also enjoy the music without knowing its story.

From a writer/muso angle, my appreciation deepens when I understand the craft behind it. I also listen/read for the joy of it.

Dannigrrl5 – I’m amazed @ how musicians compose & wonder how they do it, but I don’t want to listen to the explanation, I just want to enjoy it in my wonderment.

But I’m going to leave with this gem of a final statement from my best mate who is not a writer but a musician/computer whiz/all round good guy. More importantly, he’s also a reader. It’s a good summary of what writers are aiming for.

rotassator (Steve D) – I’d say most readers are more interested in *what* you write, and how the experience of reading affects them.

“I write because…” Every writer has their own answer to this statement. I write because it’s the little things about life that intrigue me.

I hope the reader enjoys the experience.

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5 responses to “The Reasons Why

  1. If you want to write, do as Nike say and Just Do It.

  2. Danni is painfully right about people either not really wanting or not often processing the answers to their questions about where our ideas come from. I wonder how well they’ll entire answers as to why.

  3. Thanks for the inclusion, even though I tend to be a bit more…brash than others. I stand by those words.

  4. Pingback: Why Do You Write? A Revision | A Fullness in Brevity - Adam Byatt

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