Posts Tagged ‘motive’

Don’t Write What You Know

Write who you are.

Write who you want to be.

Write where you want to go.

What what you want to know.

Write what you want to write.

Write to spend time with people who entertain you.

Write what you want to read.

Write to find out why you write.

J.D. Salinger successfully wrote what he knew, but remembered angst isn’t a necessary ingredient for success. Writers write for many reasons: some to ponder, some to explore, and others to reveal. It isn’t necessary to transcribe actual experience to paper– writers harbor pockets of deep knowledge that can be expressed in many shapes, forms, genres.

Few books are truer than the Lord of the Rings, and while Tolkein know his world well, he’d never physically experienced it–never traveled with a hobbit or sung with a dwarf. He conveyed truth because he transposed who he was and what he believed into a coherently created universe where logically imagined consequences followed creatively imagined events. Tolkein pondered and explored in his work, and through the medium of Middle-Earth, he revealed touchstones of deep truth. He must have written what he wanted to know.

When I write, I write what I want to read and I write who I am. I find the two inextricably bound together, because what I want to read is based in who I am. I write non-fiction because gaps in knowledge niggle at me until they’re filled in, so I write so that others won’t be frustrated. I write fiction because I love the sudden transport of imagination, the vanishing of the present into the possible. I write because I read. I write because I must.

Why do you write?