3 Reasons Why We Write

3 Reasons Why We Write

What are the reasons why we write? There is no right answer, just a write answer. In this post, we will explore some of the reasons people write.

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Do you write to be free? To be more creative? Is it a hobby? Or do you write to earn money, to make a living.

Will Our Writing Ever Pay?

Bright eyed and bushy tailed I signed up to my MA Creative Writing degree, convinced that the whispers I’d heard about starving artists were nothing but myths in the night. Rumours made up to put the faint-hearted and weak off a writing career.  A lie the writing community had stitched together to keep all the newbies out and save the juicy well-paid commissions for the few.

However, all of the research, the facts, and the figures pointed to writers barely being able to make a living.  Yet, I started my course full of enthusiasm and passion, I was going to be the one to make a living from my work. I was going to prove them wrong.

A writing wage

The Royal Society of Literature conducted a recent survey analysing the current working landscape for writers, the findings are worrying. The majority of writer respondents in the UK earned below £10,000 from their writing.

This is a similar picture across the world

With writing work experience unpaid, writing groups often costing a fortune, and office jobs and part time work getting in the way of our precious writing time, will writing ever pay enough for a newly qualified student to eat?  Or will we be destined to live on the taste and flavour of writing for writing’s sake alone?

‘A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.’ – Virginia Woolf.

This quote is pinned to my notice board. As I look up from my laptop, it taunts me. I’ve got a room of my own, but I need a lot more than that to survive.

The truth

The truth is you can make money from writing.  But, more often than not, writing is its own reward.  In these unprecedented times, more people are turning to writing as a form of mindfulness, an expression of gratitude, and a form of escape. There are so many reasons why we write and if we only focus on the money, we miss out on so much.

3 Reasons Why We Write

1. Writing teaches commitment.

When we decide to write a book, a short story, or even a blog post, we are making a commitment. When we complete this task, even in the face of hardship, when we show up each day to write, we learn about commitment. About keeping a promise to ourselves to write.

2. Writing allows us to develop our craft.

The more we write, the better we get. If we keep going, we will improve. This is a huge reason why we should keep pushing forward. Even if success seems limited, we are improving our craft with each word we get onto a page.

3. We write to document our lives.

Writing helps us to imagine new worlds and build characters. Yet, it also allows us to write to document our own lives. Writing about the people we meet, the stories we live, and the things we see. Documenting our live through words is so important, it provides our legacy but also it provides a place of refection and learning.

When starting out with our writing we can lack motivation, we can feel like we are struggling. Dealing with disappointment and setbacks. However, our writing will pay, but maybe not in the ways we had imagined. Maybe it will pay in even more ways:

  • An increase in our mindfulness.
  • A documentation of our lives.
  • And a creative form of escape.

Money doesn’t define our writing career; we all have to start somewhere. What makes us successful is that we keep going.

I hope others can learn from my mistake of associating success with income and mistaking the things I’m learning as failures, and not what they are – one more step in the right direction.

Our writing will pay, but we must also keep focused on all the other reasons why we write.

Laura Stroud by Laura Stroud. Laura is a writer. Working across non-fiction through her travel and lifestyle blog. Laura is the Chief Storyteller at storiesfromabackpack.com, where she writes for an audience of women who want to live a life of adventure. She is studying a full-time MA in Creative Writing at the University of Derby and writing her first series of fiction novels based on her years of backpacking and travelling through South East Asia and Australia. Get in touch on Instagram @storiesfromabackpack

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Posted on: 21st April 2020

3 thoughts on “3 Reasons Why We Write”

  1. Hi Laura,

    Thank you for the article on Three Reasons Why We Write.

    I once heard or read that poets and writers teach us how to live because they have the burden and privilege of seeking, even suffering for wisdom and understanding, and the generosity of spirit to share their learning that explains ambiguity and complexity to others less inclined or able to endure the pain of enlightenment.

    Keep writing. 🙂

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