Why Do You Write?

Official Presidential portrait of John F. Kenn...

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“I write because I have a story to tell” is only one way to answer the question, “Why do you write?” It is a question sometimes posed by publishers, agents and others interested in our motivation. Do you write to get your name in print, to make a living, to simply be read? Do you have a deeper, more emotional reason to write?                             

I suppose, depending on your personality and on what you write, the motivations differ.

On May 6, 1957 John F. Kennedy received the Pulitzer Prize for Profiles in Courage. Kennedy was a member of the U.S. Senate from 1953-60 and had been influenced by his own experiences, as well as by Herman Agar’s book, The Price of Union, in which a passage accounted the fortitude of Senator John Q. Adams. As a Federalist, the Senator had supported the Louisiana Purchase and Thomas Jefferson’s Embargo Act, which made him unpopular with Massachusetts Federalists and cost him his seat in the Senate. When Kennedy was inspired to write an account of eight senators in history who exhibited integrity and the mettle to suffer the criticism and resultant unpopularity in standing up for what they believed, he enlisted the aid of his speech writer, Tom Sorenson. The book was published, his authorship becoming part of his election platform.

Kennedy was inspired by the work of others in his field and wished to make a statement to the world that having the strength and courage to stand by your convictions, no matter the cost to your reputation or position, was admirable and even advisable. I believe he wrote specifically to convey this message.

Do you write as a hobby or a vocation? Is it the creative outlet you need? Is being published your ultimate goal? Are you freelance writing to supplement an income? Writing a blog for the fun of it and to connect with other like-minded individuals? Do you have a message to impart?

As for me, I have always sought out creative activities. I’m a voracious reader and have a great deal of respect for all writers. Learning anything new fires me up, so researching is one of my favorite aspects of this craft. Blogging and participating in social networking has provided me a connection to a world of new friends. I’m inspired by people and events in history, as well as by the strength and courage of women past and present. In my work in progress, the message will be that we are all flawed and all worthy of love and appreciation; we all have the ability to succeed if we believe in ourselves. To create my best work, be published and to garner a large following of readers will be the ultimate validation and reward for my hard work.

I’d love to know your reasons for writing, what motivates you, what inspires you…what will give you satisfaction?

I always love to read your comments. If you would like to receive this blog in your email, please subscribe today!

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6 thoughts on “Why Do You Write?

  1. Hi, Marcia,
    We sound a lot alike. I have a great hubby, two grown children, and three grandchildren. I’m a retired teacher, a pianist, a reader, and I’ve just self-published my first book, BROKEN CONSCIOUSNESS: Reflections of an Epileptic. Take a look at my blog at maggiemendus.wordpress.com, or peek at the book at the Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Borders websites.
    I am a poet. My book contains 52 poems about the 54 years I’ve lived with epilepsy, and is meeting the goal I set for it, which is to connect with other people who have either epilepsy, some other neurological disorder, or who can simply relate.
    I write because I have to. A day without writing is like the proverbial day without sunshine. Nah, money’s not part of it. Unless we’re Steinbeck, Faulkner, Hemingway, Grisham, or Patterson, I think money can’t be the goal.
    I write for the creative outlet. My father taught me how to write poetry in the classic forms, and this is greatly satisfying to me.
    I subscribed to your blog. Maybe you’d like to subscribe to mine?
    Thanks for sharing your ideas.

    • Thanks so much for visiting and subscribing! You’re right, we do sound a lot alike! I’m sorry you have to live with epilepsy. I’ve not been exposed to it before, so I will read your blog and check out your book, too. I undrstand about a day without writing…and creative outlet…me, too. Heading over to your blog now! Thanks again!

      • Thanks so much, Marcia. I would be thrilled to have you read my book, and even so I would be interested in your feedback.
        So glad we’re in touch. BTW, I didn’t mean to send my last reply twice. I went in to edit, and poof, it showed up twice.

  2. Hi, Marcia,
    We sound a lot alike. I have a great hubby, two grown children, and three grandchildren. I’m a retired teacher, a pianist, a reader, and I’ve just self-published my first book, BROKEN CONSCIOUSNESS: Reflections of an Epileptic. Take a look at my blog at maggiemendus.wordpress.com, or peek at the book at the Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Borders websites.
    I am a poet. My book contains 52 poems about the 54 years I’ve lived with epilepsy, and is meeting goal I set for it, which is to connect with other people who have either epilepsy, some other neurological disorder, or who can simply relate.
    I write because I have to. A day without writing is like the proverbial day without sunshine. Nah, money’s not part of it. Unless we’re Steinbeck, Faulkner, Hemingway, Grisham, or Patterson, I think money can’t be the goal.
    I write for the creative outlet. My father taught me how to write poetry in the classic forms, and this is greatly satisfying to me.
    I subscribed to your blog. Maybe you’d like to subscribe to mine?
    Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  3. My writing has been a hobby since I was a young adult, because I needed the creative outlet. I’m so crabby I can’t stand myself when I don’t have time to write or suffer writer’s block : ). At 40, I’m trying to turn my hobby and passion into a vocation, while paying the bills with my “real job” in the meantime. I struggle with balancing work, writing and life, since my job tends to be insane, and that’s always what held me back before. I’m finally learning to just write the things I love writing and try to find them homes rather than the other way around (writing to a market whether I enjoy it or not). That way, it doesn’t feel like I have 2 jobs. It feels like I”m giving myself release and therapy and maybe will get closer to my goals in the process. I love your blog, and look forward to reading more!

    • Thank you for sharing a bit about your writing life…and for loving my blog! I agree with the way you’ve chosen to write, but I think you may find a market as well. Your writing is good and maybe, down the road a compilation of your blogs would make a great book-there may be your market. Good luck with it and continue to enjoy writing for the sake of writing.
      I’m so glad you’ve subscribed! Thanks!

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