Last week, I blogged about reconnecting with reading. Today, I came across a post asking why write…. and it got me thinking, as an aspiring writer, and someone who dabbles in short stories and fan-fiction (judge all you like!), why exactly do I write?
For the most part, I think I write for myself. It is therapeutic in a sense, an outlet for my emotions, a medium to express my thoughts in a sensible manner. I find that I am a much better writer than a speaker, and more often than not, I end up talking in circles while my pen (or the keyboard!) tends to spin those very thoughts with brilliant coherence.
I started writing fan-fiction years ago, when I felt like I had nothing and no one to turn to, and it became a huge part of my life. It helped me grow into a writer, practice my writing skills, make friends with people who shared the same interests from a variety of backgrounds, and gave me a new identity. While initially it was a way for me to channel my love for Harry Potter – a series that shaped my life and ideals in more ways than I can describe – over time, it became so much more. Not only did constructive criticism help me build as a writer, but to this day, when I am stuck in a busy routine and need to think, leisure writing (be it a blog entry or a one-shot fanfic or a short original story) is what I turn towards to get my creative juices flowing.
There is the other end of the spectrum too – writing for others. I also write because I have this need to share all these ideas in my head with others. Whether it’s a book or an online medium, it can create some sort of impact, bring about some sort of awareness, get someone thinking…. and in a world where everyone is entitled to their opinions, the more opinions we have out there, the more discourse it encourages, and the more we progress. After all, even if it’s only a handful of readers taking in my words, any knowledge shared is some progress, right? I may not be able to save the world like Harry Potter but what’s to stop me from trying to pass on some ideas of world peace to the young generation?
Regardless of which end of the spectrum you are at, writing is primarily about the writer. When you write for yourself, you’ve decided that you have a story to tell and you want people to take this journey with you. Some people will love what you’ve written, others won’t. But when you are done, you have the satisfaction of saying “I have a story to tell, and I told it how I wanted to.”
When you only write for others, you end up trying to please everyone which never happens. I express my ideas through my writing, my story the way I picture it, and sometimes people will not like what I’ve done, but that is the journey of writing. It helps me grow and, whether through a theme or a message or something else, it encourages thinking and discourse.