Why Do We Write?
Why Do We Write?
I hope you all enjoyed the past few months of blogs where I looked at some of the strange and mysterious events and places that have influenced my writing. They were a lot of fun to write about and looking at each one also helped me to focus on my science fiction writing. There are so many possibilities out there in this world of ours that sometimes we forget there are some real stories that are stranger than fiction. For the next few months though, I’m going to focus my blog in a different direction. I’ve had many questions about the writing process, how to write, and how to become an author so join with me as we begin to explore the writing process.
The first question that I always ask someone who wants to be a writer is why? Why do you want to write? There are many answers to this question, none of them right or wrong, by the way. This is something that you have to explore within yourself. If you can’t quickly and easily answer this question, why you want to write, then writing isn’t going to be for you. When you know why you want to write, the writing becomes so much easier.
There are many reason people choose to be writers. Maybe you knew a real character when you were growing up and you want to put them into weird situations. It could be a personal triumph like being valedictorian or winning a game. Writing could stem from personal struggle like having a disability or mental illness. The writing could be from an unfair situation like a high school basketball coach being fired because a school board member and certain parents wanted to make sure the coach was in their pocket to give their daughters an undeserved amount of playtime. You could want to write about a theft of a special object.
Maybe you want to write because of the lifestyle that you lived. If you were constantly pushing the edge and living outside the law, you may want to share your story with others as a warning or to help those in the same situation get help. Maybe you’re an expert on something and want a larger platform to share your knowledge. If you want to help or teach others, writing a book can be a great way to get your message out there to a large group.
If your writing leans more to the fiction side of things, maybe you want to write because you love telling stories. Maybe you want to write because you have amazing characters, stunning worlds, or jaw-dropping situations in mind. Maybe you want to parallel current events in another world or show the consequences of people’s actions in a fictional setting. You may want to write about fiction simply as an escape from your life and the everyday events around you.
Any of these work as the motivation for writing. The point is to have a reason. If you think that you’re going to sit down and become a writer because you simply want the fame or money that comes with it, you’ve never going to reach your goal. There’s nothing major there pushing you. If you’re in it for the fame or money you’ll lose sight of what’s really important in writing, the creative spark that allows people to create worlds on paper, to relive wars or to see the beauty of the human condition. A good book or a well written passage can move people to tears, move them to action, or make them feel better about themselves and the world around them.
If you are only looking at what you can get out of writing, what benefits and achievements that will come your way, you’ll forget about the readers who will in turn forget about you. If you use your ideas, experiences, and mind to move the reader, help them, or benefit them they will return to your writing again and again.
One of the steps when you finish your manuscript is to have a log-line or elevator line. The rationale behind this is that if you were to get on an elevator with a publisher and had the time it took between one floor to pitch your idea, what would you say? The log-line is one sentence to get someone interested in your book. Before you even begin to outline or think about writing, you should develop a log-line to answer the question, why do you write? If someone asks you, you should be able to pitch to them in one sentence why you write. It should be compelling enough to keep the person interested to hear more.
‘I write to explore the fullest possibilities of the human condition and to expand the knowledge and awareness of my fellow man.’ That’s my log-line. That’s why I write. That’s what drove me to start writing novels and screenplays. That’s what motivated me to start writing blogs. That is what pushes me to write economic and motivational books. It’s easy to understand and compelling motivation to see what I am developing.
There are so many questions that people ask when they want to start writing; how long should it be? Should I have a publisher before I start? What perspective should I write from? How do I reach my target audience?
These are all questions that get addressed after you know why you are writing. Have you ever went to the store to make a major purchase, maybe even shopping around, and noticed the difference between salespeople? Some are truly eager and passionate about their product and helping you while others are simply going through the motions to get a paycheck. It is stunning how obvious their motives are as they are trying to sell you something. Knowing why you write is like the salesperson who truly believes that their product will help you and they are trying their best to get you the best deal. The writer who doesn’t know why they are writing, or writing because they thinks it’s easy or will lead to fame and fortune are like the salespeople who are only there to get a check.
I’m truly excited about the next few months of my blog. I’m going to investigate many different aspects of writing, including how you can become a better writer, how to write faster without sacrificing quality, how to develop characters, the mythology that ties great stories together, the role the characters play, how to turn the environment into a compelling character, and many other topics. Whether you’re thinking of writing the next great novel, your memoirs, a blog, need to write for work or school or you have a passing interest in writing and love great literature, stick around, this blog will be for you.
Thanks for reading, please head over to www.leifericksonwriting.com to check out my published books today.