This evening I was listening to a Podcast by Simon Sinek from startwithwhy.com about starting with “your why”. And, of course, as any writer should do…I asked myself why do I want to write? Now, to be frank, I was listening to this while on the treadmill so it’s a little difficult to have pen and paper in hand to jot down the explosion of ideas that came spilling forth.
Whoa! Let’s slow down. Focus only on the basic question that Simon asks: Do you know your why? What is the purpose or what inspires you to do what you do? And, I think most importantly, what is the belief that drives what you to do or want to do.
With this focus in mind, here’s my take on why I want to write; and please note that this is not outlined or scripted, it’s simply me talking out loud.
Stay True To Your Beliefs
This is a tough one, especially when writers want to get on the next 50 Shades Of Grey bandwagon and spit out the next bestseller. It’s become a drive for money first and values second. 50 shades is not in me to write, that is not my passion.
My “why” for writing is driven by my beliefs. And what I mean by that is this: here are those things I value like family, friends, my job…you know, the standard stuff of a good citizen. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY (yes, I’m saying this out loud) is my belief that there is a meaning and a purpose to life greater than these.
Some call it God (in whatever form or religion that means to you) while others may refer to it as “the universe” (again, whatever that means to each of you). I refer to it as my spiritual self, that recognition that there is something or someone greater than me that I must discover here on earth and will know in full when I die.
Is it me or is this turning into a sermon?
My Beliefs Drive My Writing
And this is what writing boils down to for me — knowing what I believe and showing that in my writing. That is why I write…in one simple sentence!
I’ve written a Western novel but in that story, besides the usual gunslingers, I was showing how a man can rise above his fears of being beaten while pulling himself out of a whiskey bottle and helping the damsel in distress. Overcoming and helping — two things I believe in.
I’ve also written poems and thoughts about the struggle of living and why we’re here. I lived through these times in my early adult years and tried to capture some of my thoughts and conclusions on paper. Not always successfully (some of them are pretty depressing actually) but I was searching for those beliefs that would be mine through my adult life.
Crap, preaching again.
Why I Write
- First of all, to tell stories.
- Second, to create characters and situations that are meaningful.
- Finally…to explore life in fiction from my belief system but to also explore it from my character’s belief system, whether I agree with them or not.
I live in Western Canada. My perspective has been learned from life here, from the people and things I’ve been exposed to. That means I don’t know what I would have become or how I would have learned to think if I had lived in other countries.
But my writing lets me do that…to some extent, and I know that I will never become that person I would have if I lived elsewhere (the Internet’s not that good). But I can learn, I can look at pictures and videos and get a good sense of other people.
And then I write about that one thing that we all are…people!
People with hopes, desires, conflicts, and beliefs. Because I believe that at the core of each one of us, regardless of country, race, religion, or gender, we are a person with wants, needs, motivations, and goals. And I want to write about that…and that is why I write.
This is what it’s about for me:
Am I out to lunch? Is this garbage? Or is there a kernel of truth in what I’m saying and what I’m writing that resonates with you?
What is your why for whatever you’re doing or wish to do? Don’t just wander lost…at least know why you’re wandering lost. Leave me a comment below…why not?