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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Why Do You Write?

I always give my Writing Habit students this freewring prompt: “Why write?”

It’s a surprisingly enlightening exercise, even for me and I’ve done it at least 4 times a year for 12 years. I recommend you give it a shot. I’d love to hear what you come up with.

After the writing, the students brainstorm their reasons to write, and after 12 years, I can predict many responses that will always be mentioned. For example:

            Because it’s fun

            To figure out what I think

            To make a difference

            To entertain people

But until just recently, I was always surprised by how infrequently someone would say, “To make money.”

I figured my writing students were thinking of publication and making money someday and just didn’t want to say so. After all, I teach in Minnesota where no one would want to say something that might sound crass or be interpreted as “thinking too much of yourself.”

But now I’m not so sure. I’ll won’t say more until my next post because I don’t want to influence your responses in advance. Please send an email or comment listing some of the reasons you write. Is making money one of your reasons to write? Has it ever occured to you that making money could be one of the sources of writing resistance?

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6 Comments on “Why Do You Write?”

  1. Nicole M. Grove September 15, 2022 at 7:52 am #

    Writing from the heart when you’re not passionate is difficult. If you only write as a job, you’ll eventually become bored!


  2. Theresa Ramseyer February 9, 2018 at 10:02 am #

    I can’t write for money. Not that I couldn’t, but my love is fanfiction, which is only publishable for free. You legally can not get paid for fanfic.

    You can pay for things like binding, shipping and handling, extra goes to a charity, etc.



  3. caro July 2, 2010 at 9:09 pm #

    Doesn’t pretty much every “how to write” book start out by warning that no one ever makes much/any money at it? Maybe we’re all just credulous readers!

    On another topic, did you see the NY Times article this week about how daydreaming and doodling make people more creative? I thought of you and wondered what you’d have to say about it.


    • rosannebane July 7, 2010 at 9:52 am #

      Thanks for your feedback Caro.
      I didn’t see the NY Times article, but I’ll go look for it. I’m not at all suprised daydreaming and doodling makes people more creative — that’s what I’ve been saying for years about process and daydreaming and doodling are excellent ways to do process.


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