Why do writers want to write?

Like many other teenagers around the country, my daughter is about to sit her English Higher exam. It is proving to be a bit of a trauma.

I’m trying to help, but I have to admit to finding it a bit of a puzzle, as I simply don’t remember worrying about English exams at all. I loved to write. I still do. Maths, on the other hand, was a complete nightmare.

Given that most people don’t make a lot of money out of writing, I’m pretty sure that love of the craft is one of the main reasons that writers write. But it is not the only one.

A post by US author Richard Nordquist on About.com gives an interesting insight into the motivation of twelve professional writers. ‘To learn something’, is one of those suggested. ‘To unload’, is another. ‘To leave a legacy’, is a third.

I’m afraid my motivations are not as deep as those expressed by Nordquist’s authors. I write because I can lose myself in it in a way that I cannot ever do elsewhere. It takes me to places and people I would like to see, to meet, and allows me to do things I would never be brave enough to do in the real world.

I’ve been lucky enough to spend the last ten years writing for a living. Blogs mostly, with websites and newsletters thrown in. It’s pretty dry stuff, but even so I rarely have that Sunday evening feeling at the thought of the week ahead.

I tried explaining that to my daughter. Who needs words when a roll of the eyes will do…?

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