What Makes Writers Write?

By on November 13, 2015

Writing is a torturous and glorious process. It hurts and satisfies, exasperates, frustrates, and pleases. It makes us feel on top of the world one day, and completely miserable the next. It sees us staring at walls for hours. It keeps us up at night, it takes up all of our time, and is all consuming - so why on earth do we continue to do it?! The answer to the question of what makes writers write has fascinated people over the years, with many studies and surveys carried out to try to capture what exactly it is that inspires us to keep coming back for more.

One of the most interesting points to note is that writing is unique in its effect on us. The desire to write appears to come from an inherent need from within. Fame and fortune are what many writers dream of. However it doesn’t appear that money, or securing a publishing contract are motivations that keep most writers writing. Of course there are lots of things we do that aren’t motivated by money, and people have many hobbies which bring them satisfaction in other ways. Gardening or taking up a sport for example, are how many people choose to spend their spare time. They continue to do it because it interests and satisfies them, they can see results from putting the effort in, and reap the rewards of feeling fitter, getting better, learning and improving.

Writing offers little of this. Even getting started is tough. Actually sitting down and putting pen to paper is something many writers put off as best they can. We fill our heads with excuses as to why we can’t. We’re busy, or need to clean the house, or simply ‘aren’t in the right frame of mind.’ We try to convince ourselves not to do it, then agonise over why we don’t, filled with an unconscious desire that keeps reminding us that we really, really should. When we do eventually sit down and get writing we are filled with a strange mix of emotions. Anticipation, excitement, anxiety and dread. Let’s face it, these are not feelings we have to endure with when planting some bulbs or heading out to play tennis!

The reason why writers write is to express themselves. This can be applied to any form of writing. Fiction writing allows authors to construct imaginary worlds, to build relationships and to explore the very extremes of human emotion and experience. Think about the books that have made us laugh out loud, or sob into our pillows. Now think about how the author felt when writing it. Writers write to make sense of things, to connect with people, to tell stories and invite the world to listen to them. They are imaginative and selfish and brave. They demand to be heard, be it by an audience of one or one million. For many it is a desire to influence, to educate others, to shape people’s view of the world, or simply to change their perspective, to motivate them to act, or to appreciate things that they did not before.

Writers want to help. They write because the idea of even just one person reading their writing and being able to relate to it, to find magic in it and be, in however small a way, somehow inspired by it is the greatest achievement of all. That’s what keeps us going, regardless of the roller coaster of emotions that we endure. It is our passion and, much like an irritating sibling, despite everything it puts us though, we just can’t help but love it.

Bethany Cadman -contributor

Bethany Cadman -Author & Contributor

About Ty Cohen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *