Why Do You Write?

I enjoy reading interviews of writers and their creative process.

In the past few days, I have been reading interviews of great authors, such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner and Gustave Flaubert.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

I noticed a common thread in these authors is narcissism.

There seems to be a correlation between creative genius and mental illness.

Ernest Hemingway shot himself. F. Scott Fitzgerald was depressed. William Faulkner was an alcoholic. Actually, all three were alcoholics. Gustave Flaubert’s personal life was a bit ‘out there’.

******

I’ve been lurking behind the scenes and observing writers lately.

Writers seem to be plagued by insecurities, much like great authors were.

Writers want to be known. They want their writing to be read and heard. They want to know their writing matters to others and is making a difference in someone’s life.

Personally, I don’t get many comments or traffic on my blog. Nor do I have a large following, audience or platform.

I have had to come to terms that it may always stay this way.

Occasionally, I’ll get a reader who tells me they enjoy my posts and likes my writing. But, not very many.

Truthfully, the more I write and share what God puts on my heart, the less people seem to like it and thus, I get less traffic.

Which is why I had to ask myself the following questions:

1) Am I writing for God, myself or others?

2) Why do I write in the first place?

3) Will I continue to write even if no one reads it and/or my audience never grows?

My answers:

1) I write for God and myself.

2) I write because I love to write. I love words. I love the artistic expression and creative process. I love reading books and writing.

3) Now this one was a hard one to answer, because as I mentioned above, all writers want to be heard and appreciated. But I’ve come to the conclusion, that I do not want my writing to be about someone else liking or accepting it. I want God’s approval. I want to write what I’m passionate about whether anyone else agrees with it or likes it or not. Other people liking my writing is just the icing on the cake.

I’ve discovered that to continue writing, the ‘why’ has to be bigger than the ‘obstacle’.

If your why isn’t bigger than your obstacle, then you won’t keep at it.

If you are only writing for man’s applause or recognition, you will eventually be disappointed and give up.

Writing for others is the wrong focus and motivation.

Writers have to be comfortable and content  for art’s sake.

Even if no one reads your writing, you should still want to write anyway.

Writing should never be about other people, but about God and you.

This is the reason why I write.

Now it’s your turn, why do you write?

 

  • Shannon Deitz

    I write because it is how I communicate best. I’m drawn to it and simultaneously fear it at the same time. Anxiety builds before I sit at the computer each and every day…have yet to find a remedy. However, when I DO write I get lost and when I get the courage to read what I’ve written I’m often pleasantly surprised.

    Writing is tough on insecurity especially now with social media. Why doesn’t any one comment? No one comments on my blogs either and I see how many read them…honestly the only time I’ve seen people really ‘respond’ is when it’s controversial.

    So you pose a good question…who am I writing for?

    Just so you know, I read but don’t comment (usually). I value your reviews on books as well and keep them handy when I’m looking for something to read.

    Blessings
    Shannon

    • Hi Shannon, thanks for your comment. I appreciate it. I know what you mean about the whole social media circuit. I was talking about this with my husband. People read, but they do not usually comment. I find that social media is much like life, people and their cliques. Who knows who, who does what favor for this one or that. The same politics apply online as they do in life. When it comes to writing and creativity however, I couldn’t be bothered with all of that. It actually annoys me. I expect it in the secular world, but not in writing circles amongst supposed believers. People are out to get theirs and I have determined that I am not playing. Thus, no readers or comments. At the end the end of the day, I live for truth and what is genuine. I have no time for those who are solely out for what I can do for them and get token gestures of attention, based on that. I rather build an audience who truly resonates with my writing and my message. Thank you for being one of those people, Shannon. God bless you.