Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Writer's Wednesday

Why do you write?  A simple enough question, but the answer is often more complicated than you'd first expect.

My experience as a mentor has taught me that many aspiring writers are often uncertain about their writing goals.  Some writers haven't even decided if they want to write fiction or nonfiction.

People write for many different reasons.

  • They may write as a form of therapy.
  • Some write because they get a boost out of telling friends, family, etc. that they are authors.
  • There are writers who simply enjoy the process without any real goal of seeing their work in print.
  • For many, writing is about having themselves or their life experiences validated by being published.
  • People write in pursuit of fame and fortune -- good luck with that!
  • There are writers who have valuable knowledge and/or personal experience to share.
  • And those who are storytellers at their core and write because they must.
Everyone has a story to tell.  A writer must ask the question -- For whom is the story being written?

  • If the story is for the writer, then perhaps journaling is the answer. 
  • Are you writing to share memories or experiences with family or friends?  Consider memoirs. 
  • Do you want to connect with others who have had similar life experiences?  Perhaps blogging is the option for you. 
  • If financial security is your goal, then you might want to keep these words from John Steinbeck (1902-1968) in mind: “The profession of book-writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business.”
  • Can you offer readers a fresh viewpoint on a well-known topic or a knowledgeable look at a new topic?
  • Do you have a gift for storytelling and are you willing to do the work required to develop that gift?

Many writers can benefit from a beginning writer's course or even a one day workshop where many of these issues can be brought into focus. While it's not possible to teach someone to be an effective writer in a day, writers can discover and clarify their motivations and develop some clearly stated goals to enable them to write more successfully.

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