Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

Why I Write

The other day, I was feeling depressed and didn’t know why. My emotions were all out of whack, and my thoughts were all over the place. So I turned to the only activity that makes sense when all seems lost. Writing.

Flan quote

The sun began to set, and the darkness of twilight crept in, but I continued to write, oblivious of my surroundings. Scribbling and scratching until I could no longer see the notebook in front of me, I journaled for over an hour. Which reminded of why I write at all.

The reasons I write

I write to express. I feel like myself when I’m writing. I write not for the purpose of being published or the intention of being read, but for the thrill of putting pen to paper. I write for love of the craft, for the sake of writing itself.

I write to understand. I don’t write because all the answers are in my possession. I write for the same reason Flannery O’Connor did — because I don’t know what I think until it is written. Because by writing, I am able to see things more clearly.

I write to remember. Writing lets me grasp life in ways that would otherwise escape me. It helps me connect with God and the universe and reminds that I’m still breathing and there’s a reason why.

So today, I am grateful for this gift of expression that helps me better understand my thoughts and remember that I am alive.

I write because I can’t imagine not doing so. Because in writing, I become a little bit more of myself.

Why do you write?

I asked some folks on Twitter the reasons they wrote, and here were some of my favorites:

I’d love to invite you into the discussion. You can share why you write in the comments. If you have a blog, feel free to link up to your reason for writing.

Why do you write? Share in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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  • Melanie

    I have never asked myself this question, but I am so thankful for it. I imagine the answer is so deep and wide and vast that I would have to write long and hard to discover it. Thank you for this edifying post!

  • Glenda Vidal

    I write because I think I write better stuff than the crap that is on television right now. Because I have a vivid imagination that takes me to faraway lands filled with magic, but also dark and scary places. I write because I want to share those stories. I also write because I find ways to simplify things due to my trial and error experiences. I write because it makes me happy!!!

  • Christina P

    I write because it let’s me connect with the inner me; it allows me to release many swirling thoughts or feelings of joy, grief, pain, opinions that I wish I could openly share, and sometimes don’t have the courage to; it takes me to a different place that allows me to let
    go of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of my everyday life to the Universe. Once it is written, it sets me Free. I write because I cannot help but write. Each word evokes emotions in me. Peace, Christina

  • Jennifer Rice

    Originally I wrote as a way to give updates and information (missionary, caregiver) Now I want to write because I believe God has been developing this gift in me and wants me to use it to draw others to Him and give Him glory. I write because I am a slow thinker. Writing gives me a chance to get my thoughts together, rearrange them, add to them or delete what’s not necessary or helpful. I write because I process better in the quiet than I do when there’s lots of talking. I write as a release and now it is a joy. Your posts, Jeff, are building more excitement in me to get my new blog up and going soon! Thanks!

  • Mary Jane S De Real

    I write when I’m extremely sad and extremely happy. That being said, I write to let go of the extreme emotions.

  • Lynn Assimacopoulos

    I have written since I was 6 years old. First it was poetry, then for Nursing Journals, and then for devotions—then two books in my senior citizen life. I write because I love words and it is interesting as to what they all mean. In fact at one job I had as a Nurse/Writer–every Christmas I gave each of my 20+ co-workers a word with the meaning sealed in an envelope in a Christmas card. They were to guess what that word meant—-only once in 15 years did only one person actually know what their word meant.
    My new book called “Separated Lives” is a true story about the adoption of a baby boy and years later a friend taking him on a fascinating but uncertain journey to search for his birth parents. It is available from Dorrance Publishing (in Pittsburgh, PA) http://www.DorranceBookstore.com, Barnes & Noble barnesandnoble.com and Amazon.com.

    Author: Lynn Assimacopoulos

  • Arfa Nazeer

    I write for many of the reasons.
    1) To unveil my thoughts.
    2) To deliver a message in the more convenient way that is writing.
    3) To understand better what I am saying :p
    4) To develop interaction with readers.

  • I write because I like it! I too have cathartic experiences when I write, especially in journaling after Bible reading. In writing, I minister to myself and others and I love that. Thanks, Jeff.

  • About 7 years ago, I was struggling with life choices, and in a lot of pain emotionally. I was told by a good friend to start a journal. She told me to ask myself in my journal, “what do you want to do?” At the end of that statement I put, “I want to write”. Two years after that I decided to go back to school, but I went for Computer Science. The math said, ” You do not belong here,” the English said, “Change your degree path and come on over here with me,” I had since forgotten about my “I want to write” statement, but while studying for my English degree, I ran across the left behind journal, and was moved to tears when I re-read it. It was what I was meant to do, to write. I graduated college at the ripe young age of 57 on May 7th, and I am a Writer. (tears), Thanks for being out here in this big wide world of those like myself that need inspiration to continue to have this love affair with words. I write because I am a bibliophile.

  • Katherine Harms

    I write because I can’t help myself. It is the way I sort out what is confusing. It is the way I learn. It is the way I pray and study and think and muddle and solve problems. My world is full of notebooks and scraps of paper. My computer file category “Manuscripts” is huge, and the rest of my file system is mostly resources for creating “Manuscripts.” If I ever stop writing, I will know I am dead, even if I can’t see heaven yet.

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  • Jeff I just finished ready The Art of Work and it is brilliant. I relate so much and kept saying out loud “Yes, exactly!” as I read through it. You’ve hit on a lot of good points, and as you say in this post, writing doesn’t mean we have all the answers but it allows us to think them through and get closer. I also resonate with your “writing to remember” point. I’m just branching out into freelance writing and writing my own thoughts down to perhaps one day share and continue the discussion. Thanks so much for providing this inspiration and food for thought…er…writing!

  • Matthew Williams

    Great post, and one that I can really identify with. Here’s my own thoughts on this topic: https://lovelaughtertruthblog.com/2016/04/03/me-my-blog-i/

  • Christy Mann

    Just finished watching your summit spot with Chandler Bolt! My favorite so far and the one I have taken the most away from. Validation! Thank you for that!

    I have been a writer almost my entire life. I just write, journals, free writing, thoughts, emotions, out of boredom, when I’m not bored, I write! (I have stolen school notebooks from my children to write in, it’s awful I know but when i have to write, I have to write!) It is what I do. It has never been what I was,though, until this year. I started in October of 2015 on a novel that I had planned to write the previous year. I wrote 50k words of it in November (Yes, I do NanoWriMo!! Camp starts July 1st) and I continued writing until the end. In the middle of December I had a completed, albeit god awful, first draft of my first novel!

    Since then, I have fought that novel into submission, and it is well on its way to being published mid-July! I have started and demolished 3 blogs trying to find my non-novel voice but I think it is nearly there and a website with my 4th blog is under construction. I am almost ready to publish my first non-fiction e-book that will be available on Kindle later this month!

    I mention all of this because, even though writing is something I have done, almost thoughtlessly, since I was old enough to hold a pen, it hasn’t been who I am. I have tried so many different things in my life, but none of them have brought me the satisfaction and enjoyment that writing does. That is not what made me a writer though, in my own mind. It was finishing something. The moment I had a completed first draft, awful or not, I felt I could justify calling myself a writer. It is the first piece of writing that I ever shared with anyone, That made the difference for me.

  • Tirsa Mazariegos

    My grandmother has been my greatest inspirations to be a writer. She taught herself how to read and write after her father passed away when she was around 9 years old. She had to spot going to school to help her mother raise her other five siblings and struggled with awful heartbreaking situations. I was born when she was 39 years old and she took complete responsibility of me. She taught me how to read and write. By the time I was four years old, I was already immersed in the world of reading and writing and memorizing Bible verses such as Psalm 91 and Psalm 23. I always thought who would have such a heart to write such beautiful master pieces as those two favorite psalms of mine and engaged myself in writing at a very young age. I wrote mainly journals printing my hear, spirit and soul in pen and paper. I can´t miss out on sharing the fact that I was also born with music in my blood. Running through my veins, so by the time I was four not only was I already reading and writing but I had begun singing at church since I was two and began to play the piano by ear at four. Later on as time went by, I began to translate some documents among them a book and children stories for Sunday school material for a Christian publishing company. I began to think of the possibility of writing my own book. Years have gone by since all of this took place. I will be soon forty years old and I have the conviction in my heart that the time has come for me to burst out and put it all in writing. I am a single mother of two precious teenage boys and I am dealing with an illness that could turn out to be cancer and somehow I find this time perfect to write with more joy, love, inspiration and dedication because my aim is to write to change my own life and impregnate the lives of others with love and hope. Therefore, I have committed myself to have my book finished by December this year and have it published in 2017.

    • Davida

      Have you given your book a title?

  • Dean Allen

    Writing is a compulsion. I have realized in the last few years that I have always been a writer and just did not identify myself as such. I have written three books, and ghost wrote another one for a fellow who paid me to do it. I have done some freelance stuff for friends, and organizations I belong to. Two of my many passions in life are freedom and history, therefore I write about politics. I write about many other things too and currently I am working on a book about Atlantis.

  • Debbie Richardson

    ditto

  • Michelle Pearson

    I write because I think my brain would explode if I didn’t let all those thoughts escape.

  • Stephanie K.R.

    I write because writing is my life. That’s all I know, and I can’t imagine not writing, either. If I don’t write I actually start feeling depressed. That’s why I started my blog, “The Secret Writer” @ https://stephaniekr-thesideblog.blogspot.com/. It forces me to write almost every day, and I’m so glad I even created a blog. It also allows me to share my own thoughts and journey with others. Before that I logged everything down by hand. I still do, but there was always something missing. Today I know without my blog I’d feel lost. All in all, writing is just something I feel I have to do it’s that important to me <3

  • Carole Sparks

    I write because of beauty and excellence. Here’s the whole story: https://notaboutme1151.wordpress.com/2014/09/25/why-i-write/

  • Alaska

    I’ve always been someone who expects the life to go the way I imagine and I imagined a lot of ‘fantasies’,so if I write about it then I’ll have a good memories of it and I won’t feel bad if my life don’t go the way I imagined .

  • Siddharth Kankaria

    I write because there are so many tiny, little entities – my experiences, thoughts and feelings – all waiting to manifest their essence, amidst a swarm of others. I write to channel this vortex within me into something tangible, something concrete, to give them a form and life, a representation of their own — a perfect microcosm of being.

    To read further visit: https://microcosmofbeing.wordpress.com/2016/07/28/ofwonderingandwandering/

  • Kristen

    I started writing in my youth as a way to let my emotions and thoughts out of my body. It always felt so freeing! I write now to inspire others to capture their divine essence and live the life they were put here to live!

  • Donna Howell McPherson

    I write because I don’t feel heard when I speak. I write to be understood. I write to not be forgotten. I write because my mind becomes too full and I can’t sleep unless I take the time to write what I often want to shout.

  • Wanda Thurston

    I never thought of it that way, but I too write in order to know what I’m thinking. If I don’t write it down, even though it’s my own thoughts, I will forget. Emotions are so complex, feelings are painful, even happy ones. I’m searching for the exact explaination of what I’m feeling, or felt. Oh! I may one day be able to tell you, my love, just how important it is for you to be faithful, and you will believe it.

  • June F McGinnis

    I write because I can.

  • lovlee villamayor

    I wirte because i want to capture that moment – capture the ideas i have in my mind. It is like a beautiful moment with your family and friends… that you do not want to miss, and so you are documenting it.

  • Neldy Co

    To have a better understanding of life, human, and many other things…I write

  • Courtney Edwin Gary

    I write to explore, entertain, express, entwine, explain, envelop, examine…writing is my entity.

  • Carolyn Overcash

    I write because it’s what I’m compelled to do.

    I’ve researched information for content specific speeches (motorcycle safety) and then wrote a (hopefully) one page article for our group’s newsletter pulling the information together in a cohesive manner for over 5 yeas in addition to pulling together the chapter’s newsletter. My husband and I resigned from that Chapter Educator position a few years ago.

    Went through a career change about 7-8 years ago and took numerous tests: abilities, skill set tests, etc. After much prayer I came to the realization that I want to help others live better in their homes, both now and in the future.

    Both my parents were disabled and I have an understanding of how things constantly change as we “age-in-place”. During the last few years, I’ve done research about ADA, NORC, Aging-in-Place, Mother-in-Law Cottages, Multi-Generational Homes, and have been an avid fan of DIY programs.

    As hubby and I transform our “today home” into our “forever home”, I finally ‘got up off that thing” and started a blog and Face Book page to help share relevant information that might help others improve their lives today and prepare for possible changes in the future.

    As I said in the beginning, I’m compelled. God told me to quit dragging my feet and get on with it. Once I get my e-book in place, I’ll start speaking to senior groups, church groups, ladies groups. It’ll be necessary to have available something in print as a “check list,” The e-book will be that checklist.

  • Natascha

    October 3, 2016
    Today, I wrote the first page of my first book. Exhilarated. Exhilarating.

    It never occurred to me until today, that I’ve always loved the amazing world of the written word. Secretly, I wanted to be part of it, since my grandpa read me stories I couldn’t yet read myself.

    As a child of immigrants, I didn’t choose to be less proficient in my new language than my peers, but, I realize now, subconsciously, I always felt that there was no place for me in Writing, with a capital W, because I didn’t feel I possessed the language well enough to have the right to express myself in it. I just realized this, close to forty years later.

    Not learning from my parents, or maybe because of their path, I chose to choose my own country and emigrated as well, leaving behind a language I knew like a native, without ever feeling a native’s natural rights to her tongue.

    Today, I wrote the first page of my first book in my newest language. I’m giving myself permission to express myself in it.

    Thank you for reading my words.

  • I write to help me process my world, my thoughts. I write to help me remember what is important. I write because when I don’t, the Hound of Heaven keeps me chasing me until I give in 😀 I write to encourage and empower others.

  • Monique Mingle-Taylor

    I write because I love the feeling of getting thoughts out of my head and on to paper. It makes it real. I t makes words, thoughts, and ideas come to life. What makes a good writer, is bringing emotion, thought, and life to simple words. You have to love a good book.

  • I write because it is where I find absolute peace with myself. Even when I am feeling a range of emotions I am at peace. Words are powerful, they have changed my life. I write to change others lives, and my own.

  • Sharon Richards

    I write because if I don’t my mind gets clogged with all the emotions and “stuff” of life; so I write to release. I write to escape, to grow, to unravel the mystery and find clarity… I write because I am.

  • Simon Stout

    I write for many reasons – one is to live the story I am telling

  • Ola Fasanmi

    I write to unlock the influx of words from my tomb of words. This allows me to express myself much more conveniently, in a peaceful manner ;without being distracted by other opinions(because everybody has one..lol). Although I respect all opinions, writing allows me to ponder on all and share my thoughts clearly in my own way.

  • Dustin Frueh

    Wow, Jeff, you’ve hit the nail on the head!! I write for all of the same reasons, because otherwise I would go insane and pull my family down with me.

  • Melvin Porter

    I write because when I’m having the worst day ever it’s slowly goes away when my pen hit’s the paper it’s like I’m in a whole different world just connected to my mind free from whatever going on at the time writing has always been my outlet for stress, pain etc… But I’m new to letting people read what I have to say even though that’s another reason I write to reach people and help them overcome something they went or going threw so I hope y’all like what I have to say

  • Idayat Ndaman

    Jeff, I write to share experiences

  • Christie Adams

    I write because my brain can’t hold all the ideas I come up with. My dreams are vivid and I need to capture those before they get stored away until the next night, or the next. Life moves on at such a pace, my writing enables me to put the brakes on, just for a while. http://Www.christieadamswriter.com I hope you might join me on social media, find the links on my blog contact page. Thanks Jeff for the motivation!

  • Maria R

    I write to disconnect from the world…and connect with myself