What’s Your Motive For Writing?

If you’re a writer who doesn’t care about getting rich and famous then you can likely identify with the desire to write is one of adventure, challenge, and fulfillment. I’ll be frank with you. Writing must not be about getting paid. And writing must not be about getting famous. Writing must be a calling. A desire. A longing to tell the world your story even if it never reaches the bestseller charts or featured in any publication. It goes back to your motive. The reason behind why you write.

Why are you telling your story?

What’s your motive for writing?

I’ve asked myself this on numerous occasions. I’d be lying if I said my motive for writing has always been pure. It hasn’t.

So why do I write? Well, first I believe I have something to say. And, I’m sure, you have something to say too! This is a common motive for wanting to write. We all think we have something that needs to be said. I believe this is true as long as other motives don’t overtake you in the process.

Why I Started Writing

I started writing when I was twelve-years-old. My fifth-grade teacher was reading the first Harry Potter book aloud to the class and I was quickly hooked on both the Harry Potter books and the idea of writing. J.K. Rowling’s writing was what opened the door for me to the world of writing.

I’ve met people who don’t understand writers. Personally, I believe when someone wants to be a writer it’s because they feel compelled or called to do so. I know people who love to read but hate the writing process. I used to think only certain people could write but that was until I realized we all have a story to tell. Some of us have books inside of us. Some of us have blog posts or journal entries or poems or songs. I believe anyone can write. But not everyone will. (And I believe it’s because of the word discipline in the first sentence in the next paragraph.)

Writing Is Therapeutic

I’ve come to learn that writing isn’t so much a gift as it is a discipline. My writing has improved since I was twelve-years-old. And that’s because of the many hours I’ve put into writing. There’s been many long nights and long days but I wouldn’t trade it. The more you write the better you get at it. Just like the more you read the better reader you become. Reading and writing go hand-in-hand.

Writing is therapeutic. Why do you think people are encouraged to keep journals? Writing helps me gather my thoughts and work through unspoken emotions. Yes, I have something to say. But that’s not my only motivation, as you can see.

Again, so why do I write?

Well, like I said my motive — or I should say my motives —weren’t always pure. There was a season where I wanted to write simply to have my name out there. I wanted to be like Stephen King only not with horror stories but with the drama found in a Nicholas Sparks novel. And then I wanted to be like Mr. Sparks. My primary motive, or reason, to write was founded in the desire to be like another writer. That’s not a healthy place to be as a writer. Everyone is unique. Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone is living a different story. Imagine if every writer was like Stephen King. We would have no Ted Dekker or James Patterson or J.K. Rowling or John Grisham, just to name a few.

Envy will be the death of a writer. Avoid it. Flee from it.

Write Original

I did a poll with some other writers in a few Facebook groups. I asked: What’s your motive (or reason) for writing?

Here are some of the responses:

  • For me (the writer): I have to. For others (the reader): Encouragement
  • To help people
  • Having something to say
  • Enjoyment
  • Self-expression
  • I have a universe in my head and writing is one of the ways to get it out

The one thing I don’t see in their responses is the selfish ambition to simply make money, become famous, or try and be another writer (of which I’ve been guilty of all of that). Your motive might not be on that short list, but whatever your reason for wanting to write ask yourself — is it pure? When we remove “self” from the motive it enables us to write freely and helps the creativity flow more naturally. Why? Because if your motive is anything but pure behind every word you write will be the thought of how much money will I make from this story or how many people will know about me now because of this story.

I’m no expert nor am I suggesting I know everything there is to know about writing. I’m still learning. In fact, you might catch some mistakes in this post that I’ve overlooked. Over the years I have learned to let go of my desire to be like some of my favorite writers and be original — or write original! I am me and you are you. So, write like you would not like I would.

I say all of this to simply ask you: What’s your motive (or reason) for writing? Share in the comments below! Let’s talk!

– Aaron



This was first published on Medium. Click here to view it.

Featured image soruce from: https://www.pexels.com/photo/black-and-white-man-person-hands-6482/


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, off-topic, hateful or anything argumentative.

  • Sometimes I think I’m writing to help others understand something, when really it’s me that needs to write to understand anything!

    • Thanks for sharing! That’s one reason why I write too. Writing helps me understand certain topics.

  • This came together well! I’ll be sharing with my online writer tribe. It’s a valuable thing to keep our motives in check in all aspects of life. Making money writing is not a factor but I can’t say I’d complain about it if it came my way. 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing, Andrea! Yeah, I agree money is not a factor but I can’t say I’d complain either. It goes back to if we only write for selfish reasons we are missing out on the joy of writing. Making money isn’t a bad thing. 🙂