Although our reasons may not be the same, understanding our motives is a powerful thing.
I’ve always been fascinated with the United States space program from the 1950’s and 60’s. The buildup to Apollo 11’s moon landing in 1969 is one of the most exciting and creative periods in U.S. history. The space program employed hundreds of thousands of workers and was both incredibly complex and brilliantly simple.
It was simple because there was one goal: put a man on the moon. Yet it was also complex because there was an untold number of details, processes, systems, and personnel that had to be organized and coordinated.
This sounds a little like the writing process to me: simple yet complex. Any writer knows that it’s easy to get lost in the details of writing. Whether you’re writing books, articles, blog posts, marketing copy, speeches, scripts, or something else, you tend to get mentally embedded in whatever you’re working on.
But if you’re a writer, you must keep your main objectives in sight at all times. I can’t tell you what those objectives should be for you, but I can tell you what mine are. In this post, I’ll share the seven reasons why I write, and why they are important to me. These “big picture” items are why I write, and they give me clarity and focus. I hope they will also inspire you to think through your own reasons for writing.
I enjoy the creative process of writing. I love creating articles, blog posts, and stories. It’s fun to think that as a writer, you can simply create something that hasn’t existed before. That’s the power of creative writing: saying something that hasn’t been said quite the same way before, or conjuring stories out of thin air.
One of the strangest realities of being a writer is that whenever you write something, it automatically gives you a bit of influence and authority on that topic. Of course, not all writing is good, and not everyone gives automatic respect to a writer. However, it’s generally true that writers enjoy a certain amount of influence simply by virtue of having written something. People assume that if you’ve taken the time and effort to write something, you probably have some level of expertise on the topic.
When you put your work out there for others to read, it will go places you cannot. Others will read your work and grant you opportunities for interviews, more writing, perhaps speaking or consulting, or other ways of serving others and getting your message heard. If you want to build your reputation and get your name out there, I can’t think of any better use of your time than writing.
Let me be clear: writing doesn’t automatically lead to income. (In fact, none of the items in this list come automatically.) But it definitely can. You can sell books, but you can also sell products and services that are related to the content of your writing. Over the past year, I have definitely enjoyed seeing those monthly royalty statements from Amazon, as well as other paid work that has come as a direct result of my writing.
Writing gives me an opportunity to learn about myself and the world around me. Case in point: I recently interviewed Matt Charman, screenwriter of Bridge of Spies. That interview happened because I gradually took advantage of the opportunities offered to me through The Good Men Project. Because of consistently writing and editing for GMP, I was able to do the interview. That was a great learning experience, and it wouldn’t have happened any other way than by writing.
Each of us has a message; each of us has something important to share with the world. Writing, for me, is the best way to cast that message as far and wide as possible. My words will go places I can’t go, and they’ll reach people I will never personally meet. Writing on blogs, websites, and books is the greatest way I know how to communicate my message to the world.
In a hundred years, what will people remember about you? What will you have created with your life that will outlast you? It’s hard to predict what life will be like in a hundred years, but I’m pretty sure that writing will still be around. Writing seems to me the best way to communicate your thoughts, ideas, stories, and values to the generations that will come after you.
All through the years leading up to the moon landing, those working in the space program kept one thing in mind: the “moon shot.” Many other beneficial things happened as a result of the space program, but this was the primary goal, the main objective.
When it comes to writing, what is your “moon shot”? What are the key reasons why you write? Share your comments below; I’d love to hear them.
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