If you follow my blog on a regular basis, this post might have you scratching your head a little bit. I always say there is just one reason to write: FOR YOU. So, am I changing my perspective on this?
Not at all! The fact is, to say that you should be writing “for you” is a pretty large and encompassing blanket statement. And there are various reasons people pick up a pen (or sit down in front of a computer screen) to craft a story, and all of them allow them to find the act fulfilling. Here are some. If you agree or disagree, or have others to add, please do comment! I think this is a fascinating topic to start a discussion about. (Reasons 6-10 are coming tomorrow).
- YOU WANT TO LEARN. Writing a good novel–a novel that makes you think, and examine the human psyche, and do research on historical events or science or medicine–will teach you tons about the world. Even more than that, it will teach you about yourself. For me, this is part of it: I. love. learning.
- YOU HAVE A STORY INSIDE AND WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS. The basic concept for a story just won’t let you rest. You have this idea, and you’re curious about the possibilities of where it might go, and you have to know how things shake out.
- YOU WANT TO KNOW THAT YOU’VE WRITTEN A NOVEL. Writing a novel is a common bucket list item and a genuine accomplishment that can bring us confidence and inspiration. In my mind, if all you want from the experience is to know that you’ve done it, and to be able to say that you’ve done it: well, that’s good enough. You’re writing for you.
- YOU HAVE EXPERIENCES YOU FEEL COMPELLED TO SHARE, FOR THE GOOD OF OTHERS. We all face hardships. And when we overcome them, I feel that sharing the insights we’ve learned to help others going through something similar is a commendable impulse. Sometimes people fictionalize their experiences rather than write memoirs. That’s probably what I would do if I ever decided to write something about me and the losses and growth I’ve known in life.
- YOU WANT A DISTRACTION. We all need hobbies and “me time,” time to let the real world sit apart while we go someplace else. That hour or two a day of writing that belongs to you, alone, can be a real sanity-provider and emotion-stabilizer. I know from experience! When I was most miserable in Chicago I spent a lot of time in Herezoth.