What is the purpose of writing?


Why do I write? Is it to get my creative juices flowing, maybe to some extent, but it goes a lot deeper than that, when I write I am fully alive. I am drawn into the current moment, in fact, it is an aesthetic experience. One in which my senses are operating at their peak.

Writers make art out of everyday ordinary moments.

What motivates people to write is sheer egoism, sometimes writers will write out of the desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get their own back on the grown-ups who snubbed them in their childhood. While this might not be the most unselfish of motivations, it’s certainly natural.

People consume more now than ever in the history of the world. We eat more (a discussion for another time), we listen to more music, we consume more information. However we’ve learned that consumerism won’t make us happy. Writing allows us to turn the tides on consumerism. Rather than consume more, we make something. It is exciting everyday, when I put my fingers to the keys, to know I am creating something. And then with the click of button, I can share it with the world.

Humans have a built in need to make our mark on the world. We want to bring new things to life, to mold things into the image we have in our imaginations, to subdue the earth. We write not just to change the world, but to create a new world.

Finally we write to discover meaning. The psychiatrist Victor Frankl posited that the main search of mankind is not happiness or pleasure but meaning. “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose,” he wrote in Man’s Search for Meaning.

Writers are uniquely gifted to find meaning for themselves and to help others find meaning. In fact, this has always been the main task of storytellers. Every story matters to the person living it, and our job is to tell the universal stories, the stories that reveal the story of every person on the earth.

We write to bring meaning to the world.

So it is fair to say we need more writers.

One Reply to “What is the purpose of writing?”

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