As a writer myself, I call myself a writer (obviously), but what does that mean? Why do we write? Why do we tell stories? Today we explore your questions.
“Would you not like to try all sorts of lives – one is so very small – but that is the satisfaction of writing – one can impersonate so many people.”
– Katherine Mansfield
Why do we write?
That is a good question. What is the point of writing? When I am often asked this question, I find that it is easier to answer the question with a question, “Why do we read?” In this question, we can see the answer. I read to learn and escape, but are these the only reasons? No, there are plenty of reasons why we read. We read to gain insight, be entertained, and indulge in fantasies, which brings us back to the original question. We write to escape, to entertain ourselves and others, and indulge in fantasies. Books are an extension of our imaginations and can be therapeutic in a way, for yourself and others. We write to solve problems and to work through issues in our lives. We all have feelings and desires, which is what humans are known for. Writing, either fiction, or personal, etc. can help a person think about those desires. Writing is a way of expression and communication. We write because we as humans have feelings and we need a way to express them. Know, though, that writing is not the only way of expression.
We Write To:
- Express our Emotions
- Solve Problems
- Indulge in Fantasies
Do Some Write for Financial Gain?
I have met some people who write for financial gain. The most specific example was a person I read about when I was a teenager. This man said that he absolutely hated writing and he forced himself to write. He said that the only reason that he wrote was because his books sold very well. He was a great writer, but he hated writing. He was writing for the money, which is understandable, but personally, I can’t force myself to write at will. I have to be in a certain mind for writing. What are your guys’ thoughts? Would you write for money alone? Why do you write?
“Write without pay until somebody offers to pay.”
– Mark Twain
Why do we tell stories?
The short answer to this question is that we are human. As humans, we are naturally curious and we look for an explanation for everything. We try to explain how Earth was created and how we came to be on this Earth. Did God create us? Were we an accident? We even try to imagine how things might be different. We are creatures trying to answer the unknown and explain why things are. We try to describe love, friendship, death, among other things. We use stories to try and make sense of everything around us.
Not only do we write to explain, we also write to entertain. Imagine back a few hundred years and think about what people used for entertainment. They had music, conversation, their thoughts, and books. Today we have multiple ways to entertain ourselves. One primary way is through television. If you think about it, television is just another way of writing, only you are seeing instead of reading.
What are your thoughts on this subject? Why do you tell stories? If you are a creator (such as short films or videos), why do you create?
“Stories may as well be lies, but they are good lies that say true things.”
– Neil Gaiman
What does it mean to be a writer?
Every writer has a reason to write and each answer varies significantly. For me, writing is a way to escape, imagine a better place or a more adventurous one. I love the look on people’s faces when I tell them a story. I love providing people with an escape, something else to think about instead. I want to feed their fascination and imagination. To me, being a writer is being the buffer between you and life. When things are not going well you can always sit down and escape for a while. You can think about something else other than the relationship that you wish was going better, that co-worker that badgers you all day, or losing that person that you never thought you could live without. I write to provide enjoyment to those who need it.
Want to Learn More?
If you want to learn more about why we tell stories and why we write I recommend reading this book.
Your Turn. Leave a Comment!
- What does being a writer mean to you?
- Why do you write?
- Would you write for money alone?
- If you are a creator, why do you create?
“The main question to a novel is – did it amuse? Were you surprised at dinner coming so soon? Did you mistake eleven for ten? Were you too late to dress? And did you sit up beyond the usual hour? If a novel produces these effects, it is good; and if it does not – story, language, love, scandal itself cannot save it. It is only meant to please; and it must do that or it does nothing.”
– Sydney Smith