Why people write and why they should write, though inseparable, are two separate topics.
Writing for Myself
When I began writing I was doing it for myself. I knew that I was good at writing and had the potential to be even better. I enjoyed the praise that my writing received. Being a writer seemed so romantic, especially through the rosy lens of my twenties. It was fun to write, too. The feeling of words trickling off of my fingertips into my story was almost intoxicating. So much so that it negatively effected my writing! I wrote a lot about my family back then. Little snippets, like photographs, of people I loved. Sometimes I was really adventurous and wrote parts of historical novels about them, in praise of their lives and their times. I think that writing about your ancestors is very much the same as writing about yourself.
Writing for Society
Writers of all genres ultimately have to connect with readers in some way, making their writing relevant to society, and that connection comes from their shared human experience. Yoga beginners often learn to meditate by developing compassion for themselves, then their families and after that, for others. I think my writing interests followed that same path. As I dreamed about immortalizing my family tree for my sake and theirs, I realized that my family wasn’t so different from all the other families. That was an “Aha!” moment. My writing improved because I was connecting my experiences with others in a way that worked with commonalities like fear, hardship, love, and betrayal.
Writing for You
My intent for writing has changed since I decided to write professionally. Now I write for you, since I hope to be read. I’m also intent on making a difference. Not on a grand scale, with big ideas. I’m interested in reaching out to individuals with my writing. I try to write so that ordinary people will hear. I write to make you laugh or cry, to encourage you to have a talk with God or to go out and make someone’s day better.
Writing for Art
I’m interested in the art of writing. I admire the great writers and I like how writing myself gives me a better insight into who they were as people. I also think that writing is a wonderful outlet for all the things we hold inside and a route to communication between people. So many people agonize over their writing. They forget that it is an art. Oftentimes in art, the artist creates something that represents an authentic experience of life and it’s up to the audience to interpret and critique it. The artist is done when the piece is done. More of our writing should be like that.
Writing for Money
Everyone dreams of making a living doing something that they love. Anyone who has tried to write to earn money knows that, if money is the top priority, you won’t be successful. Writing things that people will pay to read requires more of the author than just punching the clock. Each piece is a part of the author and is a result of their experience, ideas and skill. Like any other art or craft, you will never really get paid what Reading is never free, either. Even if you give your writing away for free, the reader still gives substantially of their time. So, I’m not sure that writing for money is really possible. Still, I hope to someday be fortunate enough to get paid for my writing.