The National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE) recently held a #WHYIWRITE campaign for its National Day on Writing celebration. I participated in it. It was fun.
Many people ask me why I write.
I know why I don’t write, right off the bat, so here goes:
I don’t write to make money (Stephen King has that taken care of). Plus, I’m not sure I’ve made enough royalties after three books to pay for a one-night’s-stay up the road in Niagara Falls, NY near my hometown.
I don’t write to get famous (J.K. Rowling didn’t, either, but she has that covered now).
I don’t write to make others feel that I’m smarter than they are (I have a lot to learn and always will).
So, one thing’s for sure . . .
I write for me.
I write and craft and then write some more after I have a book that is publishable. Although I’m a terrible marketer of my books and have little funds to really purchase advertisements and SEO frameworks that work for getting a book to be looked at or reviewed by Kirkus or other high-priced venues, I simply write for me.
I also struggle to purchase slews of my own books to give away to others for free because after hundreds of dollars and postage, I found that the return on my investment has never panned out to do much for me in terms of gaining steam with an audience, so I go on my merry way to take the time to write another book that may or may not get noticed—not for riches or fame, but for helping others to be the best that they can be in whatever it may be.
See, writers write for themselves, first, and then for an audience that they hope they will acquire someday. In the absence of an audience, writers love to have others read their work (even for free) because they want to simply connect with the human spirit. We want to have an outreach for all the right reasons and not for all of the wrong reasons. We want to get stuff off of our chests. We want to play with words on a page and wordsmith innovation. We want to be ourselves and then show others how they can be their simple, creative selves too. We all have a story to tell.
So, that’s why I write. I do it for me, first. It heals me. It strengthens me. It fulfills me. And, if nothing else, when I write because I love to write, maybe someone else might just want to love my writing too and walk away feeling something different than ever before.
So, that’s why I write. To the grave I will go writing away my fingertips on the keyboard that has food, sweat, and Snickers Bar remnants all over it. Maybe the spilled caramel will spark a new idea that will someday “stick” to others.