Friday Fun — What drives you to write?

Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.

QUESTION: This is a “Big Question,” but we’re going to ask anyway – in a light-hearted and stress-free way: What is your biggest motivator to write? Is it curiosity? A need to communicate? A desire to educate, entertain, or influence? Fame and fortune? 

headshot_jw_thumbnailJamie Wallace: My answer to this question is always evolving, but I think that mostly I write in order to figure things out and create connections. Journaling was my first writing love. I began journaling to capture experiences, but soon graduated to processing experiences – exploring my feelings, the context of what had happened on a broader stage, the history of ideas and happenings. Today, most of what I write continues to be an expression of my own curiosity and desire to explore and learn about the world, everyone and everything in it, and my own place and thoughts and heart. My writing also gives me a way to connect to myself, the world around me, and other people. And then there’s the idea that writing is a kind of rebellion as well as a path to discovery. That’s an idea I’ve continued to mull after writing that post. Lots to think about. Love to delve into “The Why.” How about you?

hennrikus-web2Julie Hennrikus: Wow, this is a tough one. I write because that is how I channel my creativity. And I like a good story, and creating one. I also write to entertain, hence the genre. I do like Jamie’s conversations about connections, because that is what I like about social media, and blogging–the connections you make with readers, and with your fellow bloggers.

Lisa J. JacksonLisa J. Jackson: What drives me to write? An incessant need to learn. And the bottom line to that statement is that it’s a need to learn about myself and how I perceive and interact with the world. I can be in the exact same moment as someone else yet have a totally different reaction/interpretation to that moment, and that intrigues me to now end.

I like recording my thoughts and observations, and when writing for businesses, I like bringing my perspective to the table and seeing where the discussion goes. I’m constantly learning something new and writing is the best way (for me) to record my life. And I also write because it’s something I feel I can always improve upon and never master. There is so much variety to what to write and how to write it and why it should be written — like a kaleidoscope or a snowflake — the words won’t come to the page the same way twice. I could write about this forever.  🙂

Diane MacKinnon, MD, Master Certified Life CoachDiane MacKinnon: I write, first, to know myself better. I’ve kept a journal since I was 11 and I found, over the years, that I could better know myself when I wrote in my journal regularly. My journal entries are a dialogue between my superficial self and my deeper Self and one usually has very different thoughts and motivations that the other. I write, second, to tell a good story and to explain my view of the world, if only to myself. I tell the truth in my writing, as I see it, even when I’m writing fiction. I just posted about my recent procrastination with my writing, but answering this question gives me even more motivation to get back to the page!


Deborah Lee Luskin: For me, writing is about epistemology – the theory of knowledge and understanding: How we know what we know. It’s also about process, discovery, recovery, and the geological plumbing of the soul, as well as the plate tectonics of ideas jamming together; subduction, inclines, sink holes. Writing is about language and the illusion of control. And writing stories is  about teleology – everything tending toward an ending. So why do I write? I can’t help it.


Susan Nye: For many years, I wrote because I could. As a marketer in a new venture, I knew our product better than our agency so I ended up penning brochures and ads. When the company folded, I moved to a Fortune 50 company and the same thing happened. At the time, I never thought of myself as a writer, just someone who was pretty good at it.

Now I write to pay my bills and, even more important, because I love it. I love the process of writing; stringing words together and building a rhythm and flow. I love storytelling, revealing simple, universal truths and coaxing a smile from a reader.

17 thoughts on “Friday Fun — What drives you to write?

  1. I came a little bit late to writing. It was always easy for me to write a paper in school or something professional for work ,but I felt like I was regurgitating what I had read and trying to put the words together to make me sound intelligent and knowledgeable. Boring, no creativity. Then when I was staying to home to raise my family, words started coming to me, mostly feelings, so I began to write them down. Now that I have opened the floodgates it seems that story ideas swirl around me all the time. The difficult part is trying to stay with the one idea and see it through while still being able to capture those other ideas, but set them aside and not think about them.

  2. Right now, I write to make people laugh. It’s totally egocentric, I suspect. Nothing makes me happier than someone saying my blog has amused them or made them chuckle aloud. There’s nothing profound about it, sadly.

    I also write to make my children proud. I’m working on a children’s chapter book (and yes, it will be amusing in parts – I get such joy from hearing my sons laugh at something I wrote).

    I don’t think I’ve got a deep urge to unburden myself. But I enjoy writing and it makes sense to use my talent. I’m no good at sport and don’t put myself out there to ‘compete’ in that arena – but I’m quietly confident that I can hold my own with a pen and paper (okay, keyboard) to hand.

  3. I write because I have to – as stark as that may sound it is one of the fundamentals in my life. I write to laugh and make others laugh, to express my opinions and to open debate. It is who I am and what I do whether it be a few lines of random thought or a scathing diatribe on whichever subject has me ticked at the time.

    In all things it is to tell a story and engage the minds of others to think on new things, debate old arguments, share histories and finally to leave a piece of myself with those who read my words.

    I may never write a novel – I am trying but my words don’t seem to flow that way. But I believe what I do is storytelling, if only in the oldest sense of the word. Harking back to times when history, ideas and beliefs were couched not in dry or academic form but as stories to tell others of lessons learned in a way that is interesting and easy to remember so that many can relate.

    In my head I see the hearths of old and reaching back I say gather round – I have a tale to tell.

  4. My motivation to write is to improve my writing skills over time, in the hope that the one massive idea I’ve been building since 2004 can come be realised in the best way possible.

    My completed short stories (130 pages, 110 pages, 150 pages) came about from a need to occupy myself during my first round of unemployment. Now in the second round, and have another 3 concurrent projects.

    The joy of getting that seed of an idea, doing the research to flesh out the story, rereading and rewriting when a new bit of knowledge comes into play, gives me that warm fuzzy feeling. In essence, it is the joy of learning, and the satisfaction of using your mind to put the pieces together into a cohesive piece of writing.

  5. I write as a form of release, I think. Most of the time I don’t even know what has been going on inside of me until I’ve written it all down. It unlocks something that can’t be unlocked any other way than through writing. And yes, to get my opinions out there. I often find myself surprised at what I’ve written when I’m finished and that’s what I like about it: It can never be planned.

  6. Reblogged this on Book Reviews by Mary DeKok Blowers and commented:
    Interesting blog post from the New Hampshire Writers’ Network on why we write. For me–it started in high school when a teacher told me I was a good writer, particularly of essays. I reminded her of Emerson! So then I had to look to see who Emerson was, and I was flattered. It made me want to write and I took further writing classes in college. There I began writing my Prophecy of Enchantria, now available at on Amazon. Later, I thought writing would be a great job to do from home as freelancing is my desired career situation. I joined a local writer’s group, learned a lot, and then started eliminating things that took time away from writing. Once I started writing book reviews I really grew to love it and develop a mindset. Repetition really does make it a habit and make it easier.
    What’s your reason for writing?

  7. When our children had grown to be adults, I needed something else to challenge the mind. Writing gives me this challenge and lets my mind wander like it always had. It gives me a platform to release some of my comic activity at times.

  8. Very interesting question and really thoughtful answers. I have different answers depending what I’m writing. When I write my blog posts I love the research and discovering new ideas and ways to connect with other bloggers.
    When i’m working on my novels it’s more a question of pushing myself, going deeper and developing my characters or getting a scene just write. That gives me great satisfaction:)

  9. I agree with Jenni above: I write because I HAVE to write. I have been journaling for 30+ years. Journaling is my self-therapy tool, I process what’s going on in my life. When I write, my emotional and physical bodies are relieved from whatever stress, anxiety, or sadness has invaded them. But I also write for the pleasure of it – savoring words and expressions, finding just the right way to clothe an experience into words.
    I use words as a gift – a letter to someone I want to re-connect with after some time has gone by, a letter to my husband for his birthday…Culturally, we rarely take time anymore to gift each other with letters.
    And I love to connect words with photographs that I take, to deepen my own response to the image and share it with others (there’s a word for combining words and images: ekphrastic). Photo essays are my favorite way of communicating on my blog.
    When I don’t write for a few days or a week because too much is going on in my life, I come back to writing as a way to anchor myself, and touch base with myself, almost like taking a deep breath.

  10. I’m not entirely sure what drives me, I guess it’d be a number of things – self assurance, keeps me at ease, the demons quiet, an escape from a mess of reality…it seems endless. I’ve always enjoyed it, I started writing at the age of eight, nonsense tales of things I observed, listened to, or just thought of. I wasn’t sure what drove me even then. I’ve always enjoyed writing, there was something about it that just felt right, that I was meant to scribble a pen across a page, have my fingers dance over a keyboard like a famed pianist. I guess the right answer would be, writing doesn’t judge, mock, or abuse. It’s an escape from my own fears, and some part of me hopes that by writing them out I will overcome them even if it’s just for a moment. All in all, I write to be free.

  11. I write to explain things to myself. The process of telling a story helps me understand situations and people better, by developing characters, their points of view and desires. Writing is a process of creativity and also control. As writers, we control what our audience sees and what they do not. The questions of how, when and why certain details will be revealed to the audience is ultimately what makes a story worth reading. We read and write to learn things about the human condition.
    I write my blog to tell stories; to share something with my readers by showing them how we got from point A to point B. Writing is like a puzzle to me. It is the writer’s job to fit the pieces together in a way that is interesting, creative, and engaging to an audience.

  12. I mostly write to entertain and lighten people’s day with humor, but often have a point to make…and you soften people up with the funny stuff, then–Boom, make your viewpoint known, subtly or directly. Thanks for another great discussion!

  13. I have not written so much at this point in my life but everytime I shared my piece they would say I could write. I feel elated when I hear them appreciate my work and I am dead serious in enhancing what I have. To me writing is a channel for our soul. It is the manifestation of our emotions and our whole being. The outpour of our ups and downs and other peoples perception of life. It is how we record the things that surround us and its effect to ourselves or certain people and how we react on it.

  14. I write because of the overwhelming need to communicate. I like exposing the other side of the coin or even taking a closer look at the coin to reveal the parts often missed or misunderstood. The reader should be allowed to decide if there is a lesson to be learned or ideas to further investigate later.

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