I have been thinking about why I write for the past several weeks, and it has not been an easy ride. For one, there are different kinds of writing, and reasons for writing do not fall into the one-size-fits-all bucket. Still, I think that, for people who mainly make a living out of writing, the question is a good one to think about – when you do not have urgent deadlines looming, perhaps.
Let’s get the “I need to bring home the bacon” reason out of the way, because, let’s face it – we need to provide for ourselves and families.
Instead, let’s look at specific reasons that may very well be wrong and may be a detriment to your online writing career.
To impress readers with highfaluting language.
Language is beautiful. Individual words can be music to the ears, and when put together well, a piece of writing can strike one’s soul.
But what if you find yourself using big words a lot with the intent of letting your readers know just how huge your vocabulary is? This may or may not be subconscious, but if this is one of the reasons you write, then you might want to think again.
Readers want to understand and relate to what they read. Sure, some may like learning a new word or two now and then, but a writer who constantly uses uncommon words to impress gets tiring.
If you have this problem, here’s something which you will want to read: Eschewing the Exotic for the Quotidian
To make it known to the world that I know my grammar.
So let’s say clear and simple is your writing style. Great!
But do you have this ever-present idea in the back of your head that you are writing to make sure everyone knows you are the King/Queen of Grammar? Again, this may be subconscious, but it doesn’t add much value to your writing.
Of course, writing using proper is important (you know we’re the first to stand up for that!), but if you’re shouting it out loud and proud all the time, it also gets old with your readers – and it may even alienate some.
To become rich AND famous.
Who doesn’t want to become rich and famous? Okay, maybe famous not so much, but having more money than you can spend is always a nice thing. This shouldn’t be the driving force behind your writing, though, as it will probably compromise the quality of your work.
Additionally, we all know that freelance writing is not exactly the highest paying job in the world…
“The freelance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps.” —Robert Benchley
Instead of focusing on becoming rich and famous, why not focus on giving your readers value with every piece you write? By doing so, you just might put yourself on the road to becoming rich (and famous).
I do think that we all have different reasons for writing, but here are a few things you may want to consider.
One, write because you have something truly important to say, and more than that, something that other people can relate to and can use in their own lives.
Two, write because you can’t help it. Some say it’s the true mark of a writer: you’re not really happy unless you’re writing.
Three, write because you have made a commitment to a client, and you want to deliver on your promises. This includes producing the best quality article/post you can come up with, no matter your mood or personal inclinations.
Forget being pompous. Forget putting yourself on a grammar pedestal. Forget impressing others. Forget thinking about money all the time.
What are your reasons for writing?
Jim Kimmons says
I write for the money … simple as that. I’m a business freelance writer with multiple ghost written books and hundreds if not thousands of blog posts and articles out there. I get paid by the word, write by the word, and have no illusions about my status in the “literary” world. But, I made around $85k writing last year, so my business plan is solid.
Vicki T. Lee says
I write to give those voices yelling at each other inside my head, a platform to say what needs to be said. I crave the satisfaction I get from putting on paper what I’d choke on standing in front of an audience. And I’d give anything to succeed in earning 100% of my salary from writing.
Marcia Frost says
I’m really not sure what this post is about. Why would someone write “for the wrong reasons?” I enjoy writing and I need to pay my bills. I guess there are some people out there who can afford to write for fun, and that’s a good reason too.