Why Do You Write?

I wasn’t certain of what I’d find when I started blogging. I thought to write an initial story; polish it, edit it, re-write parts of it, and timidly make it public. I planned to use snippets, poems, and short fiction pieces I’d already posted on Facebook for most of my posts. I vowed to publish to the blog every day for a year.

When one person liked something I felt surprised.

When another re-blogged my scary story I felt embarrassed but pleased.

When I saw that another writer was following me, I followed back. I read all she wrote and commented on her posts. I did the same for the 10 others who followed my site.

In gaming terms, I was such a noob.

The real question, however, is Why did I even start writing? It’s a favorite to ask authors, besides When did you write your first story? and What’s your secret to successful writing?

I began writing seriously because I was working on a book. After spending nearly two years on WordPress I’ve learned this is not a unique situation nor an unusual reason to be writing on here. I continued writing because I felt it would help my writing overall and give me connections to people. Maybe those people would read my book one day.

Y’know, if I wrote it.

But life happens. In my case, the thick of life is happening. The book hasn’t been revisited for a while, though I felt inspired to open up another blog using my proposed title for its URL: I Didn’t Want to Be a Mother.

Also like many writers, I now feel stuck. I feel overwhelmed. I feel intimidated and lost in a gigantic pool of talent and time, without the will to paddle. I probably shouldn’t have thrown my compass overboard during that one depressive episode last year…

Until I find my North Star, or even a lost kite, tell me: what is your motivation? Why do you write? How do you keep writing?

thought-catalog-354861-unsplash.jpg

—————-

I lagged a bit and back-posted, but we’re counting all I wrote over the last week:
Wednesday, April 24: Wrote “Where Did THAT Come From?” after pondering about heredity and genes with mental illness.

Thursday, April 25: “The Cure for Depression: Journal, Meditate, and Pray,” another suggestion in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.

Friday, April 26: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Bruce Goodman!

Saturday, April 27: Announced the 23rd Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. Spread the word! Enter! This week we’re doing rap.

Sunday, April 28: Re-blogged Frank Prem‘s fantastic “(what if I hear them) whistle and cry.
And posted “The Author of a Long Night,” to Charli, hostess at Carrot Ranch.

Monday, April 29: “Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Two.”

Tuesday, April 30: Inspirational quote by Og Mandine.

Wednesday, May 1: May Day!

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Steal Your Kisses if You Have To,” “Me Time Just Might Be Wishful Thinking,” and an okay limerick about kids making me late.

Photo Credit:
Thought Catalog

59 thoughts on “Why Do You Write?

  1. Hopefully you will get round to writing that book because you have real talent. Your so good at connecting people with real life. But I’m so with you on this. Life happens and our life’s don’t really fit the new reality. I got no real idea why I started the blog. Maybe it was because I thought you had to have a blog before your could read and comment on other people’s posts. Still bumbling around trying to work out what it’s supposed to do. I suspect one of my motivations is that it just allows me to connect with other people, life can be very isolating some days. So hopefully you will find an hour, make yourself your favourite drink and get back to writing that book I would love to read.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Hmm. How about, ‘to bridge the gap between imagination and realisation’? 😀
    Hmm, that’s more a what than a why. I feel compelled to cross the gap. And it’s fun!

    Do you think attempting a book is different? It’s not on my list of things to try. For one thing, I wouldn’t have the patience. Short stories would be my limit (hey, it’s international short story month this month).

    Liked by 2 people

    • I like it!
      And you’ve definitely a point about the long stories. I’m realizing I need an outline just to keep track of everyone’s names in the two ongoing stories I’ve written (Wilhelmina Winters and Skinwalkers).

      Liked by 1 person

      • I followed you too late to pick up on those, they were already in the high numbers. Will you publish them?
        The other thing about trying for a book is I’d find it hard to write one linearly. I’d want to do all the best bits first and then I’d probably never get around to doing the joiny up bits. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think I will.

          Yes; the joined-up bits are tedious. 😀 I glossed over most in blogging and will have to add more if/when I do publish. There are even some blog post continuations I feel to be terribly boring because they are connectors.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know why I write. I used to have several thousand readers but now I’ve got about 10 – on the blog! I guess I write because the few who are still here are nice! I’ve never had the courage to submit to a publisher except once – and that was to a “famous” publisher in New York who phoned me about my novel 3 times! He said he wanted to see it published but didn’t know if he could market it – he was looking for a “co-publisher”. He said he kept it on his desk for 8 weeks! That was the most exciting thing I’ve had happen! Anyways… I still don’t know why I write. I guess it’s because I’m neurotic!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I suppose the difficulty I have in answering this question is because it feels a bit like why do I breathe. I just do. There’s no purpose or grand design or goal. I want to do it as well as I can. I like to be read and am happy if people say they enjoyed it, even if they’re just being nice, because I have a positivity ego that needs regular feeding or it gets cranky, but even without any sort of affirmation I’d still do it. I enjoy it, it feeds something in me, some urge to be creative, maybe to leave more than a footprint (ego again) but these are there without my choosing them.
    More to the point for me has been to overcome the feeling that, because there is no specific point or goal – it’s not for fame or money – then isn’t it pure indulgence, like awarding myself chocolate if I’ve been ‘good’ in some undefinable way. And if it’s just me indulging me, then shouldn’t I use my time in something more useful – gardening, dog walking, helping at a food bank or homeless shelter, dusting the mother in law… Which then comes right back to the compulsion, the urge the desire. I neither Puritan nor Catholic. I just don’t do hair shirts and confessionals. It hurts no one, it helps my mental health, it makes me feel positive so I do some of the above with a smile and more energy because I’ve given myself time.
    I’m not a meditator or a mindfulness sort of guy – these happen without me giving them too much thought I feel – but I do get the need to do stuff purely for me. And writing is part of that. Now go and buy one of my books, tell me I’m great and it’ll all be fine.

    Like

  5. I think it’s my way of 1) working through my own issues OR 2)trying to connect with people OR 3) the teacher side of me wanting to share information. And there’s 4) Wanting to share my adventures with someone who might care more than my own family does. 🙂 I love your blog. You’re a great writer! I like your book idea. I always WANTED to be a mother , but boy were my expectations off by a mile. This job is hard!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. People write for as many reasons as there are writers. Some even write for the same reason that people buy lottery tickets in the hope that one day they might win the big one.

    Once when I was playing softball, a guy asked me if I was trying to become a famous author. In response, I asked him if he was playing softball in anticipation of joining the major league. It was my way of telling him that I write for the same reason I play softball.

    He didn’t get it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s a good analogy. I’ve enjoyed the writing and creativity; I’ve enjoyed the conversations with other writers even more.
      Writing for that reason is good. If I make it to a paid softball league, ‘twould be a lovely perk. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Years ago, we took our German exchange student to a Saint Paul Saints game. The Saints are a Minnesota minor league baseball team. She had never watched a game before and didn’t understand the rules, yet she loved the game. She loved the vendors throwing bags of peanuts and the between inning antics, like midget car races around the bases and silly contests involving kids.

        The thing is, the Saints organization understands that it is not in the baseball business, rather it is in the entertainment business and that is why anyone can enjoy their games. Beyond that, they play great baseball.

        To be a successful writer and enjoy the perks of paid writing, one must first understand what business they are in – and that is the entertainment business. One does not have to resort to silly antics to entertain, because you can do the same thing with horror or heartbreak, maybe even clever word play or just plain good writing – but in the end, it is primarily entertainment and we as writers are primarily entertainers.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. I write because I have to write. If I don’t I think I might explode. For me my writing is communication: my attempt to let the rest of the world know what I think. I’m a rather quiet shy person in real life prone to mumbling and writing is how I choose to talk.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I can feel the tingles of depression sprinkled all over this – and I think I get it. I used to love writing and found it a release from the day’s activities, but sometimes I think I ruined that modicum of happiness by trying to be more serious about it. At the same time, being serious has definitely improved my products, but I wonder if that even matters.

    External validation in the writing world seems a lot like winning the lottery but with more work involved.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s a pleasure to learn that I’m not so unique! Heck, I get writer’s block trying to comment on your blog.
    Some days are just like that. I write because I have to. I’ve journaled for many years. Words on paper, rather than spoken ones, fit my life. I find it therapeutic.
    AS for what I write for public consumption, it depends on whether it’s business or personal as in my blog. I would like to think others find some value in what I put out there but if I often fall into the trap of comparing it to others. That’s not always a good thing, so I try to stay true to myself and hope others find value. Trying to maintain any semblance of self-esteem is often difficult for most writers I know. The funny thing is, we do it anyway because that’s what we do – write.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for commenting, Gregory. 🙂 Yes, intended audience is important. You’ve helped me remember that part of my burnout is from working intently at a paid gig (focusing a lot on audience reception with keywords and such), then being let go.

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  10. To get well, I’ve been told I should write my story. I’ve tried, but I’m not so much a story teller so then I thought I’ll write poems I’ve written a few that relate to my story and I just keep writing bits and bobs to practice. And I’ve met some cool people here (you are one of the cool people). Thx for being here.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I like Professor Jordan Peterson and follow him on YouTube and his website. I was reading an article of his when I noticed a WordPress icon at the bottom of the page. Puzzled, I clicked on this icon which brought me to the WordPress site. I was intrigued and signed up on the spot. The only thing I felt I could write on this new blog was my life, so I called it lensdiary. I posted once a week about my life for about two months. Then I started doing word prompts and photo prompts and attempting short stories. I started following other blogs and leaving comments. I found that in leaving comments on other blogs I liked it actually stimulated my own thinking and gave me ideas for new stories. That was a year ago and I’m still muddling through. I have learned so much from fellow bloggers on WordPress and am grateful for the opportunity it has given me to express my thoughts. So now I like to vary my blogs between my own life experiences, short stories, occasional poems and real life issues which concern me. I’m an ardent follower of your blog Chelsea and I wish you well on your book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Len! I’m so glad you followed that rabbit hole so that I could meet you and enjoy so many of your writings. 🙂 Some days I consider binning the motherhood site, but I’ve some lovely bloggers through it. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I write for my sanity. I really started writing seriously I think when the latest president took office. I’ve written all my life, and wrote a novel before my present published one, but I really think the current events of the world lit a nice fire under my fingers to get me going and keep me moving.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I typically work a 10 hour day. Though I am passionate about my subjects, I struggle to get anywhere close to a post per week. You, however, are graced with real creative talent. Never, ever, sorry if I come by to read! Always grateful for what I find. Don’t let it go to your head. ;^)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You have the high calling of outfitting the next generation of Owens to shoulder the responsibilities that fall to them. I know how that works; you are formally employed, only without due compensation.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. For someone who is stuck, you sure do write a lot, Chelsea! Bravo! I’ve been ‘stuck’ lately and have not been writing. Why do I write? My overall mission is to help people lighten up in our heavy, serious world. If I can get them to think a little in the process all the better. I need to remember that mission to motivate me to keep writing – even when I’m stuck.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’ll be honest…I write because it’s a compulsion, I guess. There isn’t really any whimsy or “Oh it’s a calling” to it. It’s something I do and if I don’t do it I guess I’m failing at existing \o/

    I hope you relocate your North Star. I enjoy reading what you write (and am trying to catch up)!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m really not sure why I write. It’s not like I have characters that ‘talk’ to me and I don’t have any particularly interesting stories to tell because I’m pretty boring. I think maybe I like writing because it gives my brain an outlet that’s outwardly focused rather than inwardly (although not as inward as I’d like) focused if that makes any sense. And sometimes the game of trying to get something published is fun. I hope you get the time at some point to go back to your book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • At base level, your reason for writing sounds like The Reason to Create. It’s beautiful.

      🙂 I need to look at trying to publish as “fun.” So many writers on here have intimidated me away from it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The only bad thing about trying to have something published is that there’s a 99.9% likelihood you’re going to be rejected and a person can get used to rejection very quickly. And as long as it’s not a “contest” where you have to pay a reading fee then it’s free (we don’t even have to use a stamp and envelope anymore) so why not? I never thought that I like to create before so that was nice to read and it made me feel good. Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

  18. The question, Why do you write ? often tempts a flippant response. I ve heard (and given) answers like, Because, You might as well ask me why I breathe, or Why not? which are all kind of a cop-out. (I m aiming that at myself, by the way, lest I ruffle any feathers.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • One may be flippant in any response, really, particularly with time constraints or current energy levels. 🙂

      And, maybe one’s motivation for writing is different at one time than another. The “breathing” answer is probably an underlying one for all creators.

      Like

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