Earlier today I saw a friend re-post something an author had written on ye olde social network about what their WHY was for writing and it is something all authors really need to know and understand. I mean, heck, all people, especially artists, should take a moment to ask why they do the things that they love.
This isn’t something where we need to deeply self-assess whether we’re wasting our time, though, I mean, if that’s your bag then have at it, but more to gauge if why we are doing it aligns why we want to keep doing it.
In example – I want to write because I want to make money.
Well then, if that is your statement do you make money writing?
Enough to warrant the resources, time, and your own investment?
If money is your gain then you really need to go all in and do whatever it takes to make that money. It means writing things that are not necessarily what you’re passionate about and really, it’s about treating the work like, well, a job.
And that’s fine.
If you have a skill and can make money at that skill then you’re a very fortunate person indeed but in saying that, like all jobs, it can burn you out.
Be very careful.
For me, my why is that I like telling stories. No, I love it. I love writing stories. I even love reading them to people if I am honest – I am just shy to the point of causing my own wishes to suffer.
I want to make money.
I want to have readership.
I want people to want my stories.
More than all of that though I just love to write and want there to be a reason TO write. If no one wants to read the stories, if no one DOES read the stories then I can keep them to myself, in my head where they already are. Now, there’s a strange magic that happens when the mind and the fingers – or whatever – work in unison to create something because between the moments there is creation, there is editing, and there is a sort of communication that defies what we fully understand. You are summoning the god within and calling it down from the mountain to speak.
Pretty neat stuff.
But without that act, the act of focused creation, things are fuzzy. I can think of an amazing painting but the skill and the vision are not aligned. So it goes.
Art and creation needs participation.
It needs release.
Art for the self is just living. It’s just therapy. It matters. It means something. But it doesn’t mean or matter as much.
It’s about you.
And all of us.
It’s about the union of creator and consumer and the wonderfully parasitical relationship that exists there. The creator needs to create and the consumer – read: one who consumes – needs consumption.
We can break it and boil it and distill it to make it two dimensional so that any nuance is gone but truly, the Why is up to all of us to answer and it’s not for someone to really press.
If you don’t get my Why then that’s on you, not me.
If you’re in a band to get laid and don’t get laid, well, re-think your Why.
If you’re a poet but only like writing fiction, well then, you ain’t no poet.
It can go on and on and on.
But the Why is yours and yours alone.
It’s mine and mine alone.
And I like to tell stories.
In fiction, in blogs, in drawings, in paintings, or in whatever I am focused on creatively, I want to tell stories.
That doesn’t mean you or anyone else cares but that’s why I do what I do. Sure, it’s therapy, of a sense, purging the words like so many exorcised demons, but I can find other outlets or none at all. Lots of people swallow their passion like a bitter pill and learn to live with it. I don’t want to, but I could.
For me though, it’s a matter of making that passion fit into my life.
It’s a matter of seeing whether the business side of that passion can really exist or if it’s just a phantom I keep chasing.
Maybe I know the answer.
But even if I never put another book out.
If I never do another show.
If I just post weird stuff on the web from time to time I will still be pursing my passion, writing.
That’s what it’s about.
That’s my why.