40Reasons to write - it props you up, like this dragon sconce at Westminster Abbey., 2016

Writing props me up and supports all that I am. 40Reasons barely starts to explain how important it is to me.

This is my response to a challenge issued by Bryan Hutchinson on the Positive Writer blog, to list 40Reasons why I write. Listing it like this has been helpful in expressing my goals – the expected outcomes of writing. But all my main reasons were not about the results of writing, but the act of writing itself: I simply can’t not write.

Many years ago I deliberately stopped writing because someone thought I was spending too much time on writing and not enough time on him. Leaving aside my sheer stupidity in complying with such a selfish and cruel request, I found after a few months that I was miserable, and not just because of that person. Without my creative outlet, I felt heavy and sick. My mind wouldn’t operate properly. There were lots of symptoms, but basically I was ill. I feel now that if I had not stopped writing, I might have woken up to my (unpleasant and dangerous) situation a lot sooner. But that’s a story for another day. That’s one reason, right there, never mind 40Reasons. So now I write every day and it helps with everything. If I go a couple of days with nothing – because of travel or whatever – I notice it. I feel it. So writing is part of me, the same as reading. It’s not optional, not a hobby. It’s part of me.

Looking at the responses to the challenge on Bryan’s blog, I can see that for most writers, this is the case. No surprise, really. I wonder, though, did anyone write the list and think, actually, I’ll not bother writing? I can’t think of enough good reasons? What happened then? Did they throw their typewriter out the window and stride off to a new destiny? Or just drink coffee until they got their mojo back?

Feel free to check out my list, or write your own. It certainly made me stop and think.

Can you list 40Reasons why you write? If so, check out Bryan’s blog and answer the challenge. http://positivewriter.com/reasons-why-write-challenge/

I wrote this out in eight minutes just now, which surprised me. But anyway, 40Reasons why I write:

  1. If I try not to, I feel ill. My mind fogs up.
  2. I love the act of imagination.
  3. I love making readers laugh.
  4. I love making readers cry.
  5. I make up stories in my head constantly and it seems stupid not to write them down.
  6. I am always mentally improving on the stories I see on TV.
  7. I am a massive showoff.
  8. I am a person who needs to talk. Someone once told me this as a criticism, but I think it’s true and I don’t mind at all.
  9. I am a fast typist.
  10. I love a challenge – write a novel in a month, write a poem a day – I love it, cannot resist.
  11. I want to leave a legacy.
  12. I want to cheer people up.
  13. I think writing is one of the things I was born to do.
  14. I enjoy recording intriguing things I’ve noticed.
  15. I write to try out ideas about the world.
  16. I love practising different effects that can be achieved with words.
  17. I love the physical sensation of writing and typing.
  18. I like being able to create my fantasies.
  19. Writing is literally making something from nothing – that’s pure magic.
  20. I want to tell my own story one day.
  21. I am in a writing group and at some level some accountable – I have to write and share my weekly piece in The Write Practice’s Becoming Writer community.
  22. I love that writing is a job I can do anywhere.
  23. I write to make some money. Eventually. Events of the last few years have shown me it’s not being paid that I want, it’s being read.
  24. Ideas jump at me in phrases and images and I must write them down.
  25. I write to express joy and frustration and love.
  26. It keeps the anxiety off.
  27. It makes people laugh in surprise.
  28. I love the writing community of people who share my dream.
  29. It can make people think.
  30. I like to help people who are following the same path as me, sharing what I’ve learned.
  31. Because I can’t play any sports and don’t enjoy soap opera.
  32. Because I can do it indoors with the curtains drawn and the heating turned way up and nobody expects me to run round a field.
  33. I can’t not write. What would I do instead?
  34. It lets me capture dreams I’d otherwise forget.
  35. I can record my life for my descendants.
  36. I can create giant ideas and scenarios which would be too technical or too expensive to do in film.
  37. It makes me happy and energetic.
  38. I get a physical high from writing. Especially these words: The End.
  39. It’s intellectually satisfying to find the exact right word for a scene.
  40. I just love it.


This post was originally published in March 2017. Leave a reply and let me know what you think!