Welcome to part 2 of this series on the A-Z of writing. In these initial posts I’m exploring the foundations of the art – what writing’s about (emotion), why we write, and what’s needed to learn about it. In a few weeks I’ll be moving on to some of the tips and tricks that writers use – some how-to posts, and a lot more.
Today – why do writers write? It’s not an idle question. Do writers write because they’ve chosen it as a hobby – a pastime, or entertainment? Or something more serious? I figure there will be as many answers to this question as there are people who write.
To me, writing is about doing. It is more than a pastime, though I do pass the time with it – and enjoy doing so. And for most people who write, I think, it is the doing that counts. Writing – practising, learning, doing – is the priority. Committed writers push at it, barrel out text, push projects to completion – make it happen. They will keep pushing – looking for agents, looking for publishers. Some even make a living from it – if they’re lucky.
They write because they have to.
I think that applies to most writers who make a career of it, whether they write fiction or non-fiction, whether they freelance as journalists or focus on books.
The pertinent question is why. Why is writing a compulsion?
Personally I don’t identify myself as ‘a historian’ or ’a writer’, or anything else. Writing is what I do, not what I am. I think writing is an expression. It is a way of sharing. It is also, I think, a way of understanding the world, and for expressing that understanding in ways that cannot be conveyed in speech. It is a way of communicating concepts – often flawed, maybe, but a way. To some extent, too, I think writing acts as a way of recharging the batteries. Know what I mean? Writing suits, I think, people who are more introverted than not. Sometimes.
Everybody has their own reasons why they write – what pushes them. Why they have to write. But there is, I think, always going to be a commonality. Maybe a surprising commonality.
Why do you write? Do tell. I figure we’re going to find a lot of like-minded people.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2013
Coming up: Inspirations – the city rising from the wreckage; more on kindness; sixty second writing tips, and more.