Why of a Writer

Hello again! Thanks for stopping by.

I realize, of course, that the title of my blog can be a little confusing. Why of a Writer? What? Who?

Okay, so let me do my best to explain myself. The title “The Why of a Writer” is actually the title of a talk I’ve given at a few workshops. And the reason why I decided to explore the “why” comes from some personal experiences I’ve had as a writer.

Once upon a time, I attended a writer’s workshop. Well, more than one workshop. Several, in fact. And as I attended (and continue to attend) such workshops, I couldn’t help but notice a pattern. Sure, there were the patterns of the pre-workshop jitters and the ridiculous amount of coffee consumed, but there was more than that. I watched the attendees. And I met the attendees. Made friends with them. Kept up with them. And let me tell you what I learned: there is an important difference between writers who feel successful or satisfied and those who do not. Years after those workshops ended, there is a clear difference in those two groups:

Those who know their why and those who do not.

Another word for “why” in this case is motivation: why you do what you do. I could go on and on about how important motivation is in everything you do, but your thumb may have scrolled once or twice already on your device screen, and I want to be respectful of your time. Let’s focus.

So if you are a writer, what is your why? Why do you write?

Here are some possibilities:

  •  Fun
  • Friends
  • Fame
  • Money (Sorry, the alliteration only goes so far. Funds? Meh.)
  • World peace

You might have instantly selected the one that sounded best, but be honest with yourself. What is the true reason why you write?

Now, here’s the key. If that’s your motivation, stick with it. Hold it as precious. Focusing on your why will help you in your satisfaction and your sense of success as a writer.

If you write for fun, don’t make writing decisions based on money.
If you write for money, don’t worry about whether you gain fame.
If you write for world peace, does it matter what your friends think about your message?

None of us can have it all when it comes to writing. Fame, fortune, friends . . . these things don’t always mix. When something’s gotta give, what is your priority? What is your motivation? What is your why?

Take some time to write down your why in an important place. When you’re faced with important decisions as a writer, go back to your why. If you’re true to that, you can count it as a success.