Top Ten Reasons to Keep Writing

Keep on Truckin'10. You Have a Dream

I suppose there are some writers who create simply for its own sake and put the manuscripts in a box or use them to wrap fish, but most of us would like to be read. It’s grand to have a dream! A dream can get you up in the morning with enthusiasm and put you to bed at night with hope. Just don’t take it too seriously or get too obsessed with it; that takes all the fun out of it. This one is number 10 for a reason!

9. You Love Words

Words are some of man’s most ancient and entertaining playthings. To rearrange them so they hang together so that each one supports the others, to really wring the music out of them is one of the most rewarding, fun activities to come along since eating. People who don’t write may not understand this, but writers do. We love this stuff! Why stop?

8. You Honor Your Ancient Lineage

Storytellers of the written and oral varieties are part of a long line of artists going back to the first people who told tales of the mammoth that got away or the bear that attacked while they were gathering berries in the woods. For centuries, they’ve entertained and enlightened their fellow human beings. As long as you’re writing, you’re part of the lineage of poets and bards.

7. You Won’t Let Your Readers Down

Whether you’re writing for millions or just for your mom because she’s the only person who’ll read your stuff, you’ve got an obligation to your readership. They’re waiting with baited breath, or at least polite attention, to see what’s going to happen next in your riveting tale. Don’t let them down!

6. You Love Crafting the Middle

Working through the middle, finding your way from the initial crisis to the resolution while trying to provide entertainment and perhaps enlightenment, is an excellent game. It’s like going on a long, exciting adventure into unknown territory.

5. You Love Starting

What could be more fun than starting the newest work? There’s sketching and planning and plotting and then, at last, the first words of prose on the paper, the first movement of characters, descriptions, dialogue! I suppose the feeling isn’t universal, but for me the fun of starting is one of the chief reasons I keep coming back to the keyboard.

4. You Love Finishing

Ah, the finish! Dealing out just desserts to the bad guys and rich rewards to the good… or crafting some variation thereof, if your tale runs darker or lighter. There are fewer greater satisfactions in life than tying up all the loose ends in a neat package and writing “the end.” And at that point you’ve earned a martini, which is pretty sweet, too.

3. You Want to See How the Story Turns Out

It’s the wise writer—and I’m sure you are—that writes for the enjoyment of the tale. If you keep going, you get to see what happens next. Even if you’ve planned things carefully, there are still surprises waiting that will change your story’s path. Stop writing and you’ll never find out what they are; keep on and they’ll reward you.

2. You Appreciate God’s Gift

Whatever it is that sends you to the keyboard is a gift from God to be treasured and used gratefully. If you don’t believe in an objective God but are spiritual, think of your writing as a gift of the universe, or part of your particular expression of Buddha-nature. If you’re an atheist, appreciate the fact that your evolutionary path led to your having this gift. Your writing is part of the unique set of traits that makes you unique; it was meant to expressed.

1. You Can’t Help It

The number one reason to stick to your writing is that you just can’t help doing it. Not writing for you would be like a flower not blooming. In Samuel R. Delaney’s novel Dhalgren, which I read ages ago, there’s a reference to some people having “a wound that bleeds poetry.” Maybe you have a wound, maybe not, but it’s certain that stories and words are flowing out of you like water from a spring and their destination is the page. Hold them in and the earth around either explodes or rots from the inside and caves in. Keep writing because you must.