Why do writers write? Authors talk about why they are driven, called, compelled, persuaded, or inspired to write. Do any of these match your reasons for writing?
“I just knew there were stories I wanted to tell.” —Octavia E. Butler
“If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.” —Lord Byron
“It’s being able to look at my stack of weathered notebooks and know that I’ve created something, just for the sake of it. For the sake of remembering that I am a human and therefore can create. And that when faced with the choice to either create or not create—I went forth and created.” ―Matthew Trinetti
“Create. Not for the money. Not for the fame. Not for the recognition. But for the pure joy of creating something and sharing it.” —Ernest Barbaric
“Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself . . . It’s a self-exploratory operation that is endless. An exorcism of not necessarily his demon, but of his divine discontent.” —Harper Lee
“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” —Anne Frank
“I write because I love writing. I think I became a writer in order to explore my ideas and responses to the world around me, which I often found it difficult to share with others. Also I liked my autonomy, and a writer can choose his or her own working hours—midnight to dawn or whenever. The difficulty of becoming a writer never bothered me. I knew it was going to work for me sooner or later. And if you’re a writer you don’t have to retire but can keep on doing the thing you love till you drop off the chair.” —Alex Miller
“So why do I write, torturing myself to put it down? Because in spite of myself I’ve learned some things. Without the possibility of action, all knowledge comes to one labeled ‘file and forget,’ and I can neither file nor forget. Nor will certain ideas forget me; they keep filing away at my lethargy, my complacency. Why should I be the one to dream this nightmare?” —Ralph Ellison
“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” —Flannery O’Connor
“When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art.’ I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.” —George Orwell
“I want to write because I have the urge to excel in one medium of translation and expression of life. I can’t be satisfied with the colossal job of merely living. Oh, no, I must order life in sonnets and sestinas and provide a verbal reflector for my 60-watt lighted head.” —Sylvia Plath
“Why one writes is a question I can answer easily, having so often asked it of myself. I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live. I could not live in any of the worlds offered to me—the world of my parents, the world of war, the world of politics. I had to create a world of my own, like a climate, a country, an atmosphere in which I could breathe, reign, and recreate myself when destroyed by living. That, I believe, is the reason for every work of art.” —Anaïs Nin
“And so I write. I write my life. I write to escape real life. I write to live moments over again. I write to rewrite the moments I’ve lived over in a way that makes more sense to me. I write the moments to heal. I write the moments I hope never happen. And I write the moments I hope will happen.” —R.B. O’Brien
“I believe there is hope for us all, even amid the suffering—and maybe even inside the suffering. And that’s why I write fiction, probably. It’s my attempt to keep that fragile strand of radical hope, to build a fire in the darkness.” —John Green
“I write for those that have no voice, for the silent ones who’ve been damaged beyond repair; I write for the broken child within me.” —Nitya Prakash
“I write so others might contemplate things that are out of the ordinary. I write to make people feel—to cause laughter and tears and anger at injustice. I write so the world will imagine and wonder at crazy, incredible truths. I write to have a tiny bit of influence on a universal conscience.” —Richelle E. Goodrich
“Write to amuse? What an appalling suggestion! I write to make people anxious and miserable and to worsen their indigestion.” —Wendy Cope
“I started writing novels while an undergraduate student, in an attempt to make sense of the city of Edinburgh, using a detective as my protagonist. Each book hopefully adds another piece to the jigsaw that is modern Scotland, asking questions about the nation’s politics, economy, psyche and history . . . and perhaps pointing towards its possible future.” —Ian Rankin
Why do you write? Let us know in the comments below!
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