ARE YOU WRITING FOR A CHANGE?
Whenever you reach one of those writer's roadblocks, it helps to take
some time to reexamine what drives you to write in the first place.
I submit, however, that regardless of your reason(s) for being, or
wanting to be, a writer, or what kinds of writing you do, there is
only one, true underlying motivator that will consistently send you
back to your keyboard, or prompt you to pick up a pen, day after day:
through your writing, you must want to change something.
If you don't, I believe you'll remain stuck.
"No, I don't," you might say. "I write because I want to make
money." That might very well be true. But think about it--*why* do
you want to make money as a writer? To leave your unfulfilling day
job? To supplement your income so that you can travel more, or
redecorate your house? To enable you to support your children
through college, or your parents during old age? Note that all of
these purposes for making money provide you with the fiscal ability
to make changes in your life, hopefully for the better. Change is
the goal, not money.
"Well, I write fiction. I write solely to entertain." And what
happens to your readers if you succeed in entertaining them? You
make them feel--you get them to laugh, cry or wonder. You send spine-
tingling shivers of fear through them with your thrillers, warm them
with your romance stories, entice them with your mysteries, leave
indelible imprints on their memories with your characters. You
change your readers; how they think or feel after they have read
something you've written differs from how they thought or felt before.
Perhaps you write technical documents. In that case, you are looking
to improve a process by clarifying it. This means change.
Or maybe you write articles that provide readers with information
they did not previously possess. More change. Copywriters want to
change lookers into buyers. Grantwriters want to persuade people or
organizations to support an endeavor they may have never heard of
before. Business proposals are written with the hope of fostering
improvements within companies.
Do you confine your writing solely to your journal, or specialize in
first-person essays? What are you looking for when you write about
yourself, your experiences, your observations? My guess is that you
want to arrive at a more complete understanding of what you saw,
lived through and felt. You want to grow from the experience, or you
want your readers to think about something in a way they might never
have done before. Change.
This applies even to this article. I want to help writers discover
the real reason for writing, enable you to refocus your energies and
perhaps become more prolific and successful by understanding why you
do what you do. I hope I've succeeded in doing just that.
As a writer, you've got a talent that many do not possess, and many
admire. So don't just sit there. Write for a change.
About the Author
Mary Anne Hahn is editor and publisher of WriteSuccess, the
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