Writers write. There’s no rocketry science involved, but there is a “why cry” deep in the soul driving the process. I’ve been thinking about some of the reasons, and this is what I’ve come up with. (I’d love to hear yours!)
Why do you write?
You might relate to one of these.
“I’ve got a creative gene in my DNA that has to be expressed.”
These writers probably wear their heart on their sleeves and can’t resist the emotional flow toward the keyboard or the page. True creatives simply have to move the thoughts, feelings, and fabulous turns of phrases to the page. Resisting is futile.
If you’re this writer, you know it. The words pile up in your mind and react to one another. When a creative writer goes too long between pieces, everything gets a little angsty.
It’s not surprising the creative why exists. If it’s true we are made in the image of One who creates, then we get this from the One who made us. Creatives have freedom, and the best connection takes place when the art and emotion on the page is believable and relatable. Some may argue with “believable” art, but the too-far-fetched piece may cause confusion, unless you’ve got Lewis Carroll, Jabberwocky, skill set.
“I’ve got truth to deliver.”
These writers may fit in the category of a messenger. The words, wherever they come from, simply have to be delivered to the audience. Typically, I think of these writers as honest truth-tellers. The package may be a non-fiction story with powerful impact, or it may be honest, real content the writer feels the reader must know.
If you are this writer, one main difference will be the voice. Some speak gently, but the truth can’t be compromised, and that more often leads to a forceful writing style. Maybe the origin and ownership of the package makes a difference, too. Just passing something along is nothing like delivering your own heart conviction on the page.
I tend to think readers consider the source when reading pieces from these folks. Intelligent readers evaluate the information, research, and the message for validity. Messengers have responsibility to deliver the best, truthful content possible. Just because you believe it with all your heart, doesn’t make it so. You need to corroborate with reliable sources, too.
“I know something you should know.”
These writers are teachers whose whole being simply must instruct. That’s how they are wired, and this kind of writing reaches across every subject and genre. The best teachers present information in a methodical way, so it can be easily followed and understood. If resources were important to the messengers, they are more critical for these writers.
If you are this writer, you may find your pieces explain complex concepts in simpler terms. You probably want to unveil something to the reader, something they don’t know but should. The tone of the writing is often encouraging as educating takes place, rather than condescending. Occasionally an author chooses a stern or curmudgeonly character and tone. This why may be the most obvious when it hits the page.
I can’t encourage the research enough here. Teachers hold a unique position of influence, and it’s of utmost importance that the information is vetted for truth and validity. It’s a reader’s responsibility to know who they read and the worldview they are receiving. The best teachers vet their information for integrity before it ever reaches the reader.
“It’s really all about me.”
The reality is, writing can be a bit of guilty pleasure, a selfish endeavor. For these authors, writing is recreational. Some writers never intend to reach an audience. They don’t write for a specific reader of a particular age, gender, or interest. They write for themselves, and they often don’t consider themselves writers at all.
If you are this writer, it’s okay. Acknowledge who you are—a “recreational writer”—and be who you are. If you start here and always remain here (and you’re okay with that), enjoy the freedom to put words on the page. No pressure.
Can I encourage you in your recreation? Write whatever you write honestly. Pick up the occasional new tool in your writing toolbox and try it out. Take chances. Enjoy the learning curve in mistakes. See if you might be, deep down, a real writer who just hasn’t blossomed yet. Why would I say that? Because millions of people say, “One day I’ll be a writer…” What if that journey for you started today?
I think others have written different material on just this kind of thing. I thought I might explore my over-simplified experience with the writing whys.
Thanks for reading!