4 (Possible) Reasons Why We Write

4 (Possible) Reasons Why We WriteIt is the nature of writers to wonder. We wonder about others and we wonder about ourselves. We even wonder why we write.

For most of us the compulsion to write is so… ineffable. Why do we write? We just do. We desire the stories. We love the words. We are compelled to communicate our wonder with the world. We write because we must.

But why must we?

Money, fame, success?

Maybe. In a way. But that’s not really it, is it?

The need to tell stories is universal—across time, across space. Indeed, we might even say the world itself is a story–the structured turning of the planets, the rise and fall of seasons, the beginning and ending of lives beyond number.

Something in the soul of the human recognizes this, resonates with it like the plucked string of a violin, responds to it with passionate verve.

But why? Why, why, why? 

Even the word itself is an undeniable call for a story.

So today, let’s tell ourselves the story of why we write. It will be just one story among many, one tiny part of an answerable answer. But it is a worthwhile narrative for any writer—indeed, any creator—to pursue. Why we are driven to tell stories is at the heart of everything we write. Realizing this can help open up a new understanding of how to write bigger, better, clearer, and keener.

4 Reasons Why We Write

I think one of the reasons we find this question fascinating is that it has no absolute answer. Indeed, the answer is a part of Truth itself—infinite and ultimately ungraspable by our finite minds. As a result, our response to the question of why we write must inevitably be broken down into any number of smaller truths that, although incomplete (and sometimes subjective), help us glimpse the larger Truth.

I started out the year by finishing the excellent essay anthology Light the Dark: Writers on Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic Process. In it, respected authors were invited to share passages from their own reading that they felt were formative to their journeys as writers. The insights are vast, and as varied as the authors, but those I found most enlightening directly responded to why these people were inspired to become authors.

It also made me ponder my own influences, which is something I hope to share in a future post. But for today, I want to share four of the major reasons we write, all of which jumped out at me from the responses in Light the Dark.

1. Writing Joins Us to a Community… of the Like and Unlike

Junot Diaz

I used to loathe the idea that stories were escapism. This was for two reasons:

1. I resented the notion that, in enjoying stories, I needed to escape—that I wasn’t brave enough or honest enough to face the world as it is.

2. I instinctively, if inarticulately, rejected the idea that stories weren’t essentially important—that they were little more than a soporific for the ignorant masses.

Now, however, I see the truth that, yes, stories are adamantly about escape. But rather than allowing us to escape out of our lives, they instead allow us to escape into the broader community of the world itself—both present and past.

Good stories bring us face to face with ourselves. They are a mirror of our faults, our strengths, our quirks, and our experiences.

Life is nothing if not dichotomous. We’re all in it together, and yet each of us must face it alone. We all walk side by side down exactly the same road, from birth to death, and yet no one can truly accompany us on our own journeys. No one can truly know us; we don’t even ever truly know ourselves.

But in stories, in writing, we tap into a collective soul. How many of us, as young readers, happened onto some random passage that suddenly made us sit up, made our spines go cold, made us almost gasp with the shock realizing that someone else was like us? Someone else knew exactly what we were thinking, maybe even before we knew we were thinking it.

The more fiction allows us to resonate with all the ways we are alike, the more it also allows us to accept and appreciate and learn from the ways we are different.

2. Writing Lets Us Unmask Ourselves… to Ourselves

Sherman Alexie

First comes that moment when a story tells us: Yes, this is who you are. I see you. I know you. I accept you.

That moment is a doorway of no return (a First Plot Point of sorts). Once we step through it, we are then further challenged to use our experience of stories, both as readers and writers, to be honest with ourselves.

After all, if even the books of strangers recognize us, then mustn’t we be brave enough to also recognize ourselves?

In its brutal demand for honesty, storytelling is but a microcosm of life itself. If we hope to succeed as writers (or as human beings?), we must pursue Truth to the end of every horizon. Will we ever catch it? I don’t know. I tend to think not. I certainly haven’t yet. But I know I must chase it.

This would be true for me whether I was a writer or not. But as a writer, I am given unique and powerful tools for discovering the masks I wear, the reasons I wear them, and how I may shed them to live a better life and write better stories.

Good stories change the world. They do this for the simple reason that their authors caught a piece of the Truth and were brave enough to write about it. The Truth is ever-frightening. Perhaps this is because, in looking into its face, however briefly and sidelong, we look into the enormity of the infinite. But these pieces of Truth change us forever. They show us the commonality in our individual stories. They are what allow us to tap into that community of the human soul.

3. Writing Tells Us Who We Are and What Life We’re Living

Amy Tan

We will never know anyone as well as we know ourselves. And yet we will never be blinder to anyone than we are to ourselves. As much as our writing is a discovery of the world around us, it is also a discovery of ourselves.

Dreamlander (Amazon affiliate link)

My writing teaches me who I am. So often, without even intending it, I discover the themes I’m writing about reverberating in my own life. I was shocked a few years ago when a reviewer of my portal fantasy Dreamlander pointed out that the integral themes of my life were also the integral (if unintended) themes of my fiction:

The consistent theme in each of her books is finding the best in human relationships and coming to an understanding about who you are and what you believe.

I resonated with Amy Tan’s quote because her words were almost exactly my own in reading that review. That review was a lightening of the veil that allowed me to see start seeing myself more and more clearly through my own fiction.

I never consciously write about my own life; I never use people I know as characters. And yet, of course I do. Every character I write is me. Every word out of their mouths tells me truths about myself that I have yet to realize. And, in so doing, they offer me the opportunity to understand what it is I’m really doing on this earth. Why am I here? What is my mission statement? What is my story?

Subconsciously, that is the story I’m telling whenever I sit down to write.

4. Writing Lets Us Speak the Truth

Roxane Gay

The truth is hard to speak, for many reasons. For one thing, it can be dangerous. In some societies, it will get you jailed, or worse. But even when it’s supposedly socially acceptable, the truth is rarely considered good table manners. An oft-quoted proverb says:

The truth will set you free. But first it will make you mad.

The journey toward truth’s freedom is laborious, painful, frustrating, and terrifying. (Just ask any of your characters.)

The act of writing—the construct of putting feelings and instincts into words—automatically places a degree of distance between us and the truth. It lets us take a step back and examine it from a safer distance. If it also happens that what you’re writing is fiction, you’re given an even darker pair of shades through which to view the sun without nuking your eyeballs.

In writing fiction, we are becoming our characters—we are becoming something other. In essence, this allows us to step outside our lives, even outside the world itself. It’s an out-of-body experience that grants us an unprecedented opportunity to view the larger picture with all the objectivity we can muster.

And then, as writers, we get to share that objectivity with others, in the least threatening way possible: through a lie that tells the truth.

And the greatest irony? In telling truths through the untruths of fiction, what we’re really doing is wielding one of our greatest weapons against the larger lies of real life. As Ayana Mathis (also in Light the Dark) put it:

…writing is a way of working against belligerent unreality.


Why do we write? For all these reasons. And for more. We might as well ask: Why do we love? or Why do we live?

And yet, as with those questions, we must keep seeking the answers. As a paperweight someone gave me says,

Be wild and wonder.

We’re writers. It’s what we do.

Wordplayers, tell me  your opinion! Why do you write? Tell me in the comments!

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.


  1. I’d written a regular humorous ’gossip’ column for a motorcycle racing club’s members’ magazine in the past, and enjoyed stringing words together cleverly (Or so I thought at the time). I’d always sporadically written poetry… as child of the sixties, it had been the norm, so words weren’t strangers to me, unlike many of my friends.

    However, it was the acquisition of an old Mac (my first computer) when approaching sixty years old that spurred me to write the first novel. – I’d had ideas for a novel, but writing longhand wasn’t for me. Realising that my old Mac was both typewriter and word processor/ editor (of sorts) all rolled into one gave me the kick in the arse that I needed.

    Once the first book was well under way, I fell in love with my characters. Writing about them, and hopefully their ‘real’ world, was the only way to keep them alive, so I had to continue writing.
    After the first book was finished, they still needed to live and breath (except those I killed off – I write crime novels). There was no way out. I had to write more of their stories, if I wanted to continue enjoying their company.

    • Lyn Alexander says

      Yes, it’s the characters who pull us in. My main character (see below) kept me busy through a series of four historical novels.
      You with your crime novels could take your character as long as you like.

      • True, Lyn. My setting and characters are due to see their fifth print edition released in a week or so ( the e-book version has been out for a couple of months)

        There’s also been two short e-book only prequels published. (written after the first three full length books – but before I got accepted by a publisher – and released before them as a taster).

        There’s another full length book with my editor, and I’m writing the next book in the series at present.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I think I would have ended up writing regardless the tools available, but looking back, my family’s first acquisition of a computer (when I was about 12) was a big turning point for me too. I wrote my first novel on that computer. 🙂

      • Much easier, Katie… I’d had no experience of computers (I was a driver) until I became redundant, and all job searching opportunities seemed to be on line. I was given an old PPC iMac to learn to use. (I’ve now got a current Intel iMac). My column and poetry were all either typewritten, or written long hand.

    • Chelsie Johnson says

      I’d written a regular humorous ’gossip’ column for a motorcycle racing club’s members’ magazine in the past, and enjoyed stringing words together cleverly (Or so I thought at the time). I’d always sporadically written poetry… as child of the sixties, it had been the norm, so words weren’t strangers to me, unlike many of my friends.

      However, it was the acquisition of an old Mac (my first computer) when approaching sixty years old that spurred me to write the first novel. – I’d had ideas for a novel, but writing longhand wasn’t for me. Realising that my old Mac was both typewriter and word processor/ editor (of sorts) all rolled into one gave me the kick in the arse that I needed.

      Once the first book was well under way, I fell in love with my characters. Writing about them, and hopefully their ‘real’ world, was the only way to keep them alive, so I had to continue writing.
      After the first book was finished, they still needed to live and breath (except those I killed off – I write crime novels). There was no way out. I had to write more of their stories, if I wanted to continue enjoying their company

  2. Lyn Alexander says

    I don’t fit into any of those reasons for writing. I’ve no idea why I write, except that it takes me out of my present reality.
    And now that my present reality is stress-free and comfortable, I seem to have stopped writing fiction.
    Here’s a fifth reason why we write.
    While I was a practising veterinarian (now retired) I was taking home the problems of the day, reliving the surgery, the patient that died, the argument with the client, the bounced cheque. It kept me awake nights.
    I’d already written a couple of novels, just for the fun of it. But now I began writing seriously about a character whose problems were much more difficult and dangerous than mine, a character as different from me as I could devise. He was a general in Hitler’s army, and the novel encompassed all of World War II.
    Now, how different does one get, from Canadian woman veterinarian to a German general?
    Can you imagine taking on the part of a German general? To get into his head? The research for facts? The need to somehow make him sympathetic? (And yes, he was part of the failed conspiracy to assassinate Hitler in 1944…)
    And of course writing that novel took me completely out of myself. The only sleep I lost was thinking about the next scene.
    Which is a fifth reason to write.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Ye! I’ve always said that writing is one of the best forms of catharsis.

    • “To get into his head?” Yes, Lyn, I can easily imagine that, having done it. I used German generals as minor characters–a fascinating bunch, more aryan veterans than veterinarians. I presume you’re referring to Schellendorf. It sounds as if you write as much to comprehend the human mind, the ultimate mystery, as to escape.

  3. Daeus Lamb says

    I wrote a poem once about what you’re talking about.

    I compared the wider visions of the universe we glimpse through our writing to the wind. At the start of the poem, I was trying to hold the wind in a cage. In the end, my triumph was to rest and feel the wind in my hair.

  4. I love limitless creativity, but also the way to communicate truth in an accessible way.

    I can tell someone about insecurities or write a story whose character overcomes insecurities which helps a reader understand insecurities and how to overcome them via the story.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I think when we “get” something in a story it’s often a deeper “getting” than when we’re simply given advice by others.

      • Engendering empathy in the reader enables that process through what characters go through. It, I believe, can help take a reader through a process of getting it” but on their terms.

      • So TRUE!!

      • Oh, definitely.

        Just watching–as in a story–someone do something more eloquently proves how it can be done and allows the reader to grope the consequences.

        A video for socially withdrawn children showed a boy playing off by himself, watching the other children play, then (at his own pace) joining in. (Cialdini, 2004)

        The very painfully withdrawn children who watched the video became far above average in social activity. No amount of advice could have done that.

        Story allows people to experience things as if they had done them and decide whether they like the results. They feel as though they are discovering, not being controlled, so they can embrace the learning.

        In short, as you say, “it’s a deeper getting.”

        Cialdini, R. (2004). Influence, science and practice.

  5. Powerful appeals all, various drives to understand and share ourselves, our world, and our connection to each other.

    A PS I’d add is, “being good with words” is almost unconnected to these, except how we learn to connect it. People who write only because it comes easily enough for them might become ad writers or other professionals and leave it there.

    What makes a WRITER is stronger drives like this, that make us obsess over what stories can be and how we need to create our own– even when we don’t know how. And the more we learn, the more we’re aware of how much we still haven’t mastered. The drive only gets stronger, and often more frustrating, until we look back at what we’ve already learned and whose lives we’ve touched with it.

    “A writer is a person for whom the act of writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” –Thomas Mann.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      This is why I tend to differentiate “writing” and “storytelling.” Ultimately, they’re two totally different skillsets–and mindsets. We need them both if we’re going to tell fiction.

  6. “In the beginning, God created….”

    As a creature made in his image, this is my initial imitative impulse. I do not create with oils and canvas or colored ink and paper like my artist friends. I do not create with stunning athletic moves or graceful dance as others do. I do not create with voice or musical instrument as my daughters and other musicians do.

    I create with words on a page.

    I push them, pull them, stretch them, lay them in a line. I stack them in blocks as paragraphs and invest them with shape and sound and sometimes sibilance. I either affect alliteration or effect elliteration because I am creative, breaking rules to make something new.

    In the beginning, I created….

    That’s why I write.

  7. Ms. Albina says

    Great article, I love to write when I was in high school I didn’t like it because I had to write about a subject I didn’t love so when I become older it shifted to a one eighty and now I do. My current WIP is a journal about the main character life and adventures. What is the m for in your name? I want to be published one day so they can see my work as in teens and young adults.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I don’t like to share my middle name online, for security reasons. 🙂

      • Ms. Albina says

        Okay, in my WIP Leilani found out she is related to this evil sea deity and not taking it will because it just sank in. question- if my book is about 90,000 for ya is good yes?

        • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

          I think 50-80k is what’s usually looked for in YA.

          • Ms. Albina says

            Thank you. My young adult is also is fantasy and has fantasy in it. Do you put fantasy maps in books or in fantasy books authors put maps on the first page after the title.

          • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

            Yes, I always include maps in my books.

          • I also have runes or Norse-runes in the story the older ones. Leilani learns how to write in runes. Do all story that are fantasy have this too?

          • Here is my scene where Leilani finds out about being related to the evil sea deity. Today, my grandfather Kai had gotten a letter from one of the elders from the indigo clan mer-folk which was Zane in. In this letter said about some of the mer-folk were ill with the grey death. The letter was also written in norse-like runes or symbols. Would Zane want to know that a member of his clan was ill. The elder from Zane’s clan now was on the Sirena isles not where I was.
            My grandfather Kai came to me where I was outside swimming. “Leilani, my dear, one of the elders from Zane’s clan has the grey death,”
            “What?!” I shouted looking conserned. “Does Zane know of this and out the grey death?”
            “You, Leilani, and also Zane did hear about the story about the grey death, there is also something you must now. The evil sea deity is also related to us because he is Seraphina’s grandson who is from our mermaid ancestor Regina,” My grandfather Kai told me this.
            “Is this true where is our clans family tree?”
            “It is in a wooden chest in the library. The family tree is written on a scroll,”
            “I would like to see this scroll, if I may,”
            “Leilani, since you are the princess, you cannot see the family scroll until you are married, you need to phiphel your destiny on what you are going to be a healer or a queen, you can be both if you wish. You need to continue your training and help with the grey death. I don’t want you to become sick too since we can breathe underwater with our gill slits our tiny flaps of skin-we have when we breathe underwater. There is also our clan book that has the family tree in it. I and your grandmother Jewel know where the clan book is,”
            The clan book was under the painting of our Mera clan ancestor Regina. I needed to find the clan book to see if my grandfather Kai was right. I came to the painting of our ancestor then under it was the clan book. I opened it to find where the family tree was then I found it. It did say that Ruben was Seraphina’s grandson and also being related to me also. Should I show this to Zane to let it know about it and explain it to him.
            Zane found me then tires followed down my oval face then my jade-green eyes changed to sapphire or lapis lazuli. I didn’t want to be related to the evil sea deity but this was true I would ask our “Mera” clan priestesses Zarya and Cara about the family tree. Did they know themselves?

            This is in the journal. Leilani was not happy when she found out about this.

          • K.M. Cool, did you read the comment below of the scene that was in the story journal?

          • Did you like the scene that I wrote? Like or Not?

          • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

            I’m sorry, as I’ve mentioned before I don’t do critiques.

      • Now there’s a plot idea… Thank you.

  8. Eric Troyer says

    Good reasons. I guess my writing is best described by this statement:

    I write to be part of a larger conversation about what it means to be human and how we can be better at it.

    I tend to avoid the word “truth,” since I see truth as relative and malleable. My truths have changed over time. Still, I like the concept of chasing truth, as long as I accept that truth is not static or absolute. Heck, my own “why I write” statement is filled with relativity and malleability!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I really like the Chinese proverb that says:

      “There are three truths. My truth. Your truth. And the truth.”


    To be honest, I started writing because I was bored. Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored. And, because a half-dozen-years back I had something akin to an epiphany. If I died at that moment, how would I be remembered? Would anyone remember me!? Would anyone bother to remember me? It just so happened that I shared research space with a writer – Rachel was pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing, while my research area was Applied Linguistics. And the more I got to know her, or, at least, her academic pursuits, the more I became interested in creative writing. I mean, I should’ve been, since I had studied literature, language and communication during my BA. So, I wasn’t a complete ignoramus. But I was naive. I was a romantic – still am – but saw everything through my ‘Poelian’ eyes. I was drawn to dark romanticism, indicative of the literature I preferred to read as a child, a young adult, and then older. But I never analyzed my reading ‘preference’ – just went with it. But, the more I became bored with ‘reality’, the more I wanted to be creative. I guess, the great catalyst for me was statistics. Just over halfway through my PhD doing the stats part, I was tearing my hair out. Then I had conversations with Rachel about creative writing, and voila! I had to get on that train. So, I bought a ticket and haven’t looked back. Except to reflect on the journey. As for the question about being remembered after the final curtain call, is something I can’t honestly answer. And, perhaps, isn’t my place to. But while I breath, I can write.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Boredom makes complete sense as an entry point to art. There’s a depth to creativity, of any sort, that not only entertains our minds but provides a lens of deeper meaning to the rest of life.

  10. KM… you’re flirting with some deep stuff here. I think “flirting” is as far as one can effectively go. So, congrats, you’ve done good here.

    Myself, I tend to go too far. For instance, when you say, “Writing teaches me who I am,” I want to add, “Actually, fiction writing teaches us who our characters are NOT.” Because it’s that “NOT-ness” that leads to their misery at the Act II crisis (or as i call it, the heart of the story). Likewise, then, we might say that writing teaches us who we are NOT. And that’s why writing is a most appropriate way to go through life.

    Was that ‘too far’?

    ~ PJ

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Nah, I dig that. 🙂 It’s a good flipside to the way I look at story as a tug-of-war between Lie and Truth.

  11. I started writing my WIP in my late 40’s. Several people had told me over the course of my life that I should write a book, but I never thought I had the necessary talent to ever get published so I didn’t.
    A couple of years ago a friend asked me what I would write about if I ever wrote a book. The answer was easy- fantasy. My next thought was literally ‘and I know the greatest fantasy there is- women rule the world’. So I started writing that book- a fantasy where women rule the world.
    I didn’t know what I was doing. I knew there should be a mirror moment and a turning point at about the one quarter or one third mark. I knew I wanted it to be part of a trilogy with the first book being about the same length as The Hobbit. I pantsed everything else.
    I wrote my first draft in long hand. Then I found your invaluable website, Katie, and started my rewrite (typing up)armed with a lot more knowledge of story structure. I’m on break at the moment whilst I mentally prepare for my next round of edits focusing on setting and character.
    I don’t know if my book will ever be published, but writing is now like an addiction. I will not be able to rest until I’ve written the final draft of all three books.
    A long time ago I read an interview with an author who expressed sympathy for writers. He said being a writer was like being constipated- your mind is filled with trying to get your story out. I get it now.

  12. For years, I solved engineering problems for work and brainteasers for amusement. So I love to write stories that involve a puzzle: mysteries or psychological stories, the mind being the biggest conundrum of all. Who could resist the challenge of psychoanalyzing Hitler? And when I learned that his niece was found shot in a locked room with the gun beside her . . .

    Revealing answers to great mysteries drives me to write.

  13. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. I identify with all four reasons so much! <3

    As I recently heard in a song called Just Being Me by NF (a Christian rapper), "I don't rap so millions of people will like me, I rap because there are millions of people just like me." The same holds true for my writing, I think.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Nice. I like that a lot. I’m pondering a post about the fallacy of writing “for” an audience. Really, the reader we’re writing for is ourselves–and anyone else who just happens to share our interests and tastes.

  14. Marcus Grooten says

    Tolkien’s words from his famous essay ‘On Fairy-Stories’ always come to mind:

    The incarnate mind, the tongue, and the tale are in our world coeval. The human mind, endowed with the powers of generalization and abstraction, sees not only green-grass, discriminating it from other things (and finding it fair to look upon), but sees that it is green as well as being grass. But how powerful, how stimulating to the very faculty that produced it, was the invention of the adjective: no spell or incantation in Faerie is more potent. And that is not surprising: such incantations might indeed be said to be only another view of adjectives, a part of speech in a mythical grammar. The mind that thought of light, heavy, grey, yellow, still, swift, also conceived of magic that would make heavy things light and able to fly, turn grey lead into yellow gold, and the still rock into a swift water. If it could do the one, it could do the other; it inevitably did both. When we can take green from grass, blue from heaven, and red from blood, we have already an enchanter’s power — upon one plane; and the desire to wield that power in the world external to our minds awakes. It does not follow that we shall use that power well upon any plane. We may put a deadly green upon a man’s face and produce a horror; we may make the rare and terrible blue moon to shine; or we may cause woods to spring with silver leaves and rams to wear fleeces of gold, and put hot fire into the belly of the cold worm. But in such “fantasy,” as it is called, new form is made; Faerie begins; Man becomes a sub-creator.

    “Although now long estranged, Man is not wholly lost nor wholly changed. Dis-graced he may be, yet is not de-throned,
    and keeps the rags of lordship once he owned: Man, Sub-creator, the refracted Light through whom is splintered from a single White
    to many hues, and endlessly combined in living shapes that move from mind to mind. Though all the crannies of the world we filled with Elves and Goblins, though we dared to build Gods and their houses out of dark and light, and sowed the seed of dragons- ’twas our right
    (used or misused). That right has not decayed: we make still by the law in which we’re made.
    Fantasy remains a human right: we make in our measure and in our derivative mode, because we are made: and not only made, but made in the image and likeness of a Maker.”

    Tolkien sees Man as a Sub-Creator – our creativity is the result of being made in the Creator’s image – and that’s why humans write (or build a city in a computer game, for that matter; writing is one of the many forms).

  15. Donna Fields says

    I write because I am too shy to speak audibly. The thoughts in my head have to be loosed so typing them helps to keep me sane and grounded. I guess that is my truth.

  16. Great article KM. Just starting my writing career at 58, I guess it’s never too late to reveal the truths learned the hard way over the years. I can relate to all 4 of these reasons, and many more, like putting aside selfishness and pride to reveal our inner souls in our writing. j

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      It’s my belief that the quest to become a great writer necessarily is the same quest as that to become a great person. They go hand in hand.

  17. I think I am just addicted to stories. As a child I started to tell myself stories – I guess I have never stopped. And I love words being strung together to form sentences that resonate in the mind. There is one post on your website discussing the difference between writer and storyteller. I am not sure what I am. A bit of both?

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Ultimately, we all have to be both writer and storyteller. I tend to think most of us naturally enter the fray through one door or the other. But sooner or later, we have to polish our skills at both. Lucky us. 🙂

      • Yes, a boring story that is brilliantly written won’t attract readers … neither will a great story badly written. (Although, I have to say, there are lots of them around! And I feel the more I learn about writing, the less patience I have for either a bad story or a bad style! … Not that my own writing necessarily is better of course.)

  18. To know the truth and to share the truth.
    To know ourselves and to share ourselves.
    To delve deeper into the bottomless well.
    It’s powerful, daunting, and absolutely necessary. I thank God for all the writers who possess the courage to write.

  19. “I am a small pencil in the hand of a writing GOD, sending a love letter to the world.” A paraphrase, of course, of Mother Teresa, but it resonates with me and why I write. Even if none of my books become best sellers, I know that in my own small way I am demonstrating the love of GOD to all who read or come into contact with my writing.

  20. We write because we are made in God’s image. “In the beginning was the Word …” We create using words because He has created us the same way.

    It’s been said that everyone has at least one book in them. Writers are those who are compelled to break through the distractions of daily life to get the words down on paper. We are compelled to do so, because that’s what makes life real to us.

  21. There was a great interview with Dan Barber on JoeGardener a few weeks ago and he talked about tasting a carrot that scored a 16 on the Brix scale (measures sweetness). Carrots don’t score that high, he pointed out, but because of soil prep and seed selection they reached that level… and had flavor that lingered on the palette five minutes later (and he’s still talking about it).

    People are growing obese because they’re eating foods that are engineered for flavor but have no nutritional value and so the body needs to eat more to try and satisfy the deficiencies, yet not finding it in so much of the food available today.

    Last week there was a writing prompt on Twitter a picture not unlike the one posted at the top of the page. Nothing came to mind for nearly a week, when a thought emerged that prompted an interesting (yet rhetorical) question.

    Because writing/writer’s tend to bemoan their plight (especially on Twitter) I think in terms of cooking, as it can be equally tough, but for me is always enjoyable, so I think more in terms of why I cook.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Why is one of the most important words in the English language. Nothing is better at keeping us on point.

  22. I read this post yesterday and cannot stop thinking about “a lie that tells the truth”. I can relate myself to all the 4 reasons, but the last one is so close to my theme 🙂 Thank you, Katie, for writing this!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Stephen King has a great quote along the lines of: “Fiction is a lie. And good fiction is the truth inside the lie.”

  23. I recently started a blog about my struggle to withdraw from antidepressants. From my latest blog post On Being Human.

    ” I have since become more comfortable sharing my story with others. A friend of mine states that she finds it cathartic to journal about her thoughts. I couldn’t agree more. By going one step further and publishing my thoughts I am forced to write in a succinct way that also helps other readers to understand how I am feeling. Coincidentally, that others often are dealing with the same types of issues.”

    I can’t think of anything more satisfying than creating thoughts in such a way that capture exactly how I am feeling.

    Thanks for the great website. I will be visiting it often.

  24. Hi! I have been following this blog for a little while now but just haven’t commented yet.
    A while back I read this post about Light the Dark. The book looked good and so I decided that when I had time I would get it from the library.

    I got it a couple weeks ago and loved it. It was one of the most inspiring books that I have ever read.

    I have been a writer for a while now and I was starting to get burned out. Story writing has never been easy for me. I like it, but there are many days where I feel like pulling my hair out in frustration. I was beginning to wonder if I should even keep going with this.

    Then I read Light the Dark. It was like the book gave me permission to dream again. It opened my eyes to all of the things that I can do with writing. To the many different ways that I could touch people with my writing. I don’t have to write what everyone else is writing. I can write the things that have a deep meaning to me , things that touch me.
    I guess I knew that in my head, but it really hit me when I read that book.

    Writing isn’t suddenly super easy for me now, but I have new strength to keep writing, to keep pursuing this dream.

    I know this is a long comment, but I wanted to say thank you for posting about the book. It really helped me as a writer and inspired me to keep moving forward with my writing.

  25. One of the books that really connected with is John Buchan’s classic WWI spy series, The Adventures of Richard Hannay – not I have anything in common with WWI spies :). But I how Hannay always is protesting that he’s a perfectly ordinary person and isn’t brave at all, but he’s always plunging into dangerous situations for his country or his friends.

  26. Darrell Clausen says

    Once I discovered that I write to discover myself I declared that marketing my work was a different effort, and until now one that I was not willing to make. I want to share myself and my work with others, but am not willing to spend more of my time marketing than writing. That keeps a small stash of books in my closet for those I meet who say they want to buy my books. I never give them away for free, because I believe in myself and that my work is worth something. Yet it leaves me to judge the value of my writing in some way other than volumes sold or money made. I have to accept myself.


  1. […] https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/why-we-write/ “Good stories bring us face to face with ourselves. They are a mirror of our faults, our strengths, our quirks, and our experiences.” These verses stuck out to me. I think it’s the truest of the reasons. It allows us through our characters to fight the Big Bad that we can’t always in life, and survive. […]

  2. […] while I don’t disagree with it per se, it wasn’t until I read a recent blog post by KM Weiland that I questioned […]

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