Sometimes people will ask me why I write. It’s a good question to ask yourself and it’s helpful to understand why you write, not just so you can tell people why, but also as self-motivation and reassurance in your skill and abilities.
I’ve been mulling over this question for a while, and I’ve come up with some answers that are true for me. I think perhaps most of them are true for you writers, as well. But I see this post as more as my mission statement, telling my readers a bit more about myself as a writer and what I want to accomplish as a writer.
I write because writing is my creative outlet.
Everyone has a creative outlet. Some have more than others, but it can vary from singing, to daydreaming, to painting to dancing. Code. Blogging. Photography. All these creative outlets are also hobbies and are often fueled by inspiration. As a writer, inspiration is what urges me to write. It’s not because “I simply know I’m good at writing so I’ll get a pen and paper and, well, write something, I guess.” No. My writing would be dry without inspiration. Music, reading, watching movies, sketching, photography, hobbies, quotes, and other advice from people are the main sources of inspiration that triggers my creativity and the words I create from that stimulation is my outlet.
I write because I have something to say.
People who have something they want to say who aren’t writers may go about this differently. Some may get up in front of people and give a speech. Some could even dance, sing, or compose music to express feelings, emotions, or even a story. Writers use the words they write on paper to get their point across. What they think. What they believe in. Persuasion. Feedback. Criticism. All of this can be found on a piece of paper, but where did all that come from? The mind of the quiet writer. This can also go to show that a lot of writers are introverts, and it makes sense; they’d rather stay quiet, but quiet minds sometimes have the loudest words. Sometimes you may know a writer who is an introvert, but you may never know them well until you read something that person wrote. It depends. Some writers are extroverts, and that’s awesome; they’re good at not just writing loud words, but also saying them.
I write because I know people will read my story.
I write for other people. For my future readers. In my novel, there are certain themes and an underlying message behind the story, symbolizing the importance of faith, loyalty, and love. These three themes are the roots of my story and I want to stress the importance of these things to my readers. As a writer, a lot of my life experience is grounded in my writing, and most of the time I don’t even know it’s there; it’s just natural. Sometimes that can be a scary thing, but looking at it from a perspective of potential, your readers can learn from you, from those little threads of your life that got secretly woven into your story. And your readers may never know that what really hit them deepest in your story was that little bit that came from deep inside you. Every writer has a piece of their own life story within their works of fiction.
I know that someday people will read my book (let’s say I actually did finish and publish it, a day I pray for). Why did I publish that book? Why the heck would someone want to spend an ungodly amount of time just … writing? And not just writing, but writing about things and people that never happened or could never happen? Because grounded in every story there is a message that readers will notice. Be inspired by. Learn from. Remember. Think about. But the amount of this impact depends on how well the story was written. I want to use my story to speak to my readers. I want to use my characters to express the importance of love, lessons from pain, the undying value of faith and loyalty. I want to write something that won’t leave my readers awestruck or undergo a mystical experience or a rush of inspiration, not even to really learn something specific, but just to leave them thinking. At least. All the other things I just mentioned would be amazing, but it seems too much to ask from myself, my limited skill and abilities, and characters. I just want to give my readers something to read that’s worth their while.
I write for myself also.
I think that’s the main reason, actually, why I started writing my novel. I needed to escape somehow, but not necessarily escape life. I wanted to explore it. I wanted to make something new. So I created new, strange, and wonderful worlds, creatures, and people, each unique in their own way. I began writing for my excitement in delving into my characters. I became best friends with each of them and got to know them so well that I began to see parallels between them and the story. I wrote the plot just so that I could enjoy, well, writing the plot. Making it all fit together with my characters, their desires and struggles. I grew to love the story itself, the world, and each of my characters. I felt like a friend to them, but also like a sister, or even like an affectionate parental figure to them, and not to mention fighting off an infatuation (though don’t we writers all?). I could do anything I wanted to them, but I didn’t want to make them suffer so much … just a little to bring across a point to my readers. In a sense, therefore, I felt kind of like God. And doesn’t that make sense?
Why did God create us? And why is there evil and pain in this world? I came at these two questions with a writer’s mind. As I am created in God’s image, and an author and creator, I can understand why I create people and worlds. Not necessarily for my readers at first, but at the beginning, it was just for my pleasure. I love writing, and so I wrote.
But what did I do with the characters I created? I loved them. I love them so much there’s too much feels. I’ll never be a father, but I think I’ve caught just a bit of that feeling. I’ve also caught a bit of an understanding as God is a father to us. Hold that thought: Now why is there evil and pain in this world? I kick myself before answering that with asking myself a question: “Why is there evil and pain in your world? Why do you cause your beloved characters to suffer like that? Suffer even more than you’ll ever feel? You wicked author! You vile creator!”
You see where I’m going with this, right?
I write because it is the skill God has given me to tell others about love, faith, and loyalty.
And also because He knew, that one day while I was writing a particular blog post, that I would understand just a little bit of how it is to be a creator.
I love my characters, but I make my characters suffer for a reason, to point something out, to teach others the lessons that pain gives. I afflicted my beloved to teach MYSELF a lesson. I don’t quite know exactly what that lesson is, but I have struggles with faith and fear. And it’s not a coincidence that both of these are themes in my novel. IT’S ALL CONNECTING TOGETHER. The feels, people, the feels.
Okay, I’m getting off track.
My characters are in pain. They don’t know why they are in pain. I can hear them loud and clear sometimes, begging me to have mercy. To be the gracious creator and author I promised to them I would be. But they don’t see the end of the story. They don’t see the good that will come out of the bad. Only I do. Only I do because I created them and because I loved them. Because I write about them.
I wonder if God made me a writer to realize just an inkling of the reason behind the pain in our world today. His reasons are hidden, mysterious, and sometimes He seems like a vile creator, and we all ask Him “Why is there evil and pain in your world, God? Why do you cause your beloved people to suffer like this? Suffer even more than you’ll — … ever feel?” NO.
And that’s one of the many differences between me and God in our role as an author and creator that stands out to me the most. Not only because we humans are real and my characters aren’t. Not just that I’m a lowly human who’s worth no more than the dirt except in my Father’s eyes. It’s also because I as an author and writer didn’t suffer beyond all pain or go to hell to save my characters from an evil sin. I was never tortured BY my characters to save them. I never felt any pain. I never died for the people in my story.
But God did.