Why Do You Write?

Are you a writer? Do you say you’re a writer when someone asks you?

I do. And if you write anything regularly, you should call yourself a writer, too.

Now let me ask you – what do you say when someone asks, “Why do you write?”

Here are my reasons. Chances are, you can use one of these.

I Can’t Not Write

It’s hard to imagine a time when I wasn’t writing something – even notes from a book. When I was a kid, I wrote a “magazine.” It had articles, pictures, even commercials!  Unfortunately, it didn’t circulate past my parents  – and a few choice friends (maybe just one).

In my teens, I wrote to sort my feelings. What an awkward time of life that was. You’re not quite a kid anymore. You’re not a full-fledged adult, either. So what are you? A member of the limbo league? That state of confusion kept the ink flowing every day.

I Write to Express Myself

This one is gold. At night, when I was alone in my room, I would write to someone. It was like talking, without the conversation. Yeah, I was an introvert. I liked talking, but doing it on paper gave me a lot more control. If I messed up a sentence, I could crumple up the paper and start over. No one would know. I would edit until my letter was a work of art.

I loved people. I just didn’t understand them. I thought they were out to get me, wanted to ignore me, or didn’t care that I was alive. Pretty warped, huh? Ah, teenage logic. When I found someone I liked, I’d write them. Many of my letters were a hit and triggered a return letter. Getting that letter was always a thrill!

Writing then, was a chance for me to perform – uninhibited.

I Write Better Than I Talk

When I wasn’t writing, I was often reading. One thing I learned was the best writers write like they talk. When a book feels like a conversation with someone cool, it’s not just an activity – it’s an experience. One you’ll remember for a lifetime.

When you talk, you don’t care whether your sentences are complete. You don’t care whether you end on a preposition or dangle a participle. All you want is the other person to

  • get what you’re saying
  • enjoy talking with you
  • want to be your friend

When people listen and pay attention, you feel important. As a former shy kid, feeling like you don’t matter is the worst feeling in the world. Want to make a hit? Listen. Make eye contact. Nod your head. These little things make conversation magic.

Why I Write

Whatever your reasons for writing are, know this. Your reasons for writing will:

  • Motivate you to write
  • Determine what you write about
  • Shape the way you write it

You have a voice. That’s a trendy way to say you have an opinion. You have experiences to share. You’ve learned some things along the way. These three things comprise your story. Inside your story, there are lessons you can teach someone.

I’ve had a lot of experience writing. I’ve been paid for some of it. Along the way, I’ve discovered what good writing is.

Good writing is effective writing. Here are three traits that define it:

  1. Clear
  2. Concise
  3. Conversational

My mission on this blog is to help you achieve all this and more in your writing.

If you follow this blog, I promise to give you something every week that will make your writing more effective.

Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments. Or you can email me at [email protected]

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  1. Kathy Fannon

    I started writing as a kid because my mother wasn’t a good listener. She’d interrupt and completely change the subject. (She still does that, but I’ve learned to love her anyway!) When I wrote I was able to get a full and complete thought out without having to hurry to say it, knowing I could be cut off at any moment.

    Great post, Frank. Very encouraging!

    • Frank McKinley

      Thanks, Kathy! I’m so thankful your story has turned out well. I agree – writing is a great way to think freely. That’s where we mine the gold in our minds.

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