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What Should I Write, and Why?

John is a freelance writer, ghost-writer, storyteller, and poet. He always tries to include a message or social commentary in his writing

Photo by Anthony Shkraba from Pexels

Photo by Anthony Shkraba from Pexels

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.

— Anton Chekhov

The Desire to Write

I have always had a desire to write, but never ever did I think I would one day be referring to myself by the term "writer." I only ever intended to write an occasional poem or short story for myself as a hobby, similar to sketching. Other than with family, I didn't expect to share my written thoughts with anyone, especially online.

But, like many other things, when you start to do something regularly, practice makes you improve, and if you really enjoy what you do, you begin to become addicted to it. Writing is just such an activity. Now the more I write, the more I am inspired to keep creating new and better content.

I am just one writer in the company of many fellow writers, and there are countless reasons why each of us write, how we started, and why we continue to write. Each one of us has his or her own unique story behind the desire or the reasons we write.

It is none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.

— Ernest Hemingway

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

There is no such thing as perfect writing, just like there is no such thing as perfect despair.

— Haruki Murakami

Why Writers Write

Every person has their own special reason to start writing, and some may do so simply as a way to keep a personal journal or diary, or as a form of therapy to deal with some stressful or distressing situation. They may have no intention of ever sharing with another soul, let alone the general public.

There are, however, some general themes that many writers tend to have in common. I will discuss some of those here.

Most writers have a desire to create something meaningful and strive for their writing to be valued. Each writer possesses an artist’s heart and the desire to share each beat of that heart with the world. As artists, we dedicate considerable time and effort to our work. We put ourselves on display and also the love and desire behind what we create. The words written on the page provide a glimpse into the life of the writer.

When publishing our first piece, we writers take a leap of blind faith, releasing our inner thoughts, and insecurities for the world to see. This is always a risk when it comes to writing, but if we want to succeed and connect with readers we need to share freely and openly.

Because it may be special to us, we hope that our creation will be received with praise and positive reviews, but there is always the chance it may be rubbished and torn apart by reviewers, or shunned by readers.

But writers need to be risk-takers, and put trust in our ability and also in our readers. It becomes a shared experience between writer and reader, the writer invests in their readers by providing original and genuine content that he or she believes is worthwhile reading.

The reader invests in the writer by following their latest blog posts, poems, stories, or articles while providing critically important insights, suggestions and constructive comments, which help the writer perfect his or her craft. Most writers value this feedback and it acts as their inspiration to keep writing more.

There is also a risk that through this interaction, many writers - and artists as well - may become vulnerable to the thoughts and opinions of their audience. Especially if a writer's main incentive for writing becomes money-driven. Then, as in all things that involve financial incentives, demand drives what is produced. We must try to stay true to what is in our heart and the 'real' reason we started writing, or at least balance the two.

If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, then don't write. Because our culture has no use for it.

— Anais Nin

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.

— George R.R. Martin

The Written Word's a Gift

Write about what interests you,

that stirs you and inspires,

that makes your heart do a happy dance,

that lights your inner fires.

Write about your passions,

your hobbies and your skills,

your aspirations and your goals

that make you feel fulfilled.

Don’t write just for money,

But if that comes well and good.

You must write because you love it,

And if you don’t you should.

Write to feed a hunger

that you just can’t ignore,

that eats away your very soul

until you write some more.

Write about your worries,

those things of deep concern.

Try to spread the knowledge

of lessons others need to learn.

Write about injustice,

about poverty and war,

the environment and poaching,

the gap between the rich and poor.

All writers must acknowledge

that the written word’s a gift.

It’s our job to use our skills

to entertain, inspire, uplift.

Finish your writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it. Finish it!

— Neil Gaiman

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

© 2021 John Hansen