I read a thread on a discussion board recently that got me chewing over a question. The question was, “What motivates you to write?” I was as intrigued by the answers as by the question.
Two respondents admitted that ego had something to do with it (I found that to be an enlightening and honest answer), although it was not their primary reason. One liked the idea of being called an “author,” and so, I imagine, she wrote as a romantic ideal. She also liked the challenge of creating something worthy for publication. Another replied that, apparently, nothing motivated her.
It’s a fair question to ask, why do you write? But how does one give only one answer? I have so many reasons why I write.
I’d say I write because I enjoy the very process of writing. I love the sequencing of sentences, chapters, and story lines to create a smooth flow. I love developing new and intriguing worlds. I love giving voice to characters who are all my creation. I also write just to get better.
I don’t write for my ego. After all, writing fiction opens a person up to a whole lot of ridicule if they’re not any good or they write things contrary to the belief system of friends and relatives. Nor does my ego get a boost from simply seeing words with my name attached to it. I’ve written and reported too many stories to walk out of the newsroom impressed simply by authorship. For me, writing a story well is much more impressive than simply possessing the byline.
None of this is to say my motivation is any better or worse than anyone else’s. Still, it’s an interesting idea to chew on. Just why do writers write? Or do we, like the person responding to the thread, simply need no motivation at all?