Why do you write?

It really is a simple question. Why do you write?

There are many reasons people write and many of us do it for different reasons. I created this survey to ask – why do you write? I am curious as to what motivates you to write.

I understand more than one of these reasons may apply, but please check the answer that is MOST true! Thanks for participating! I will tabby up the results in a few weeks and share with you here.

Please answer below.

About Julie McElroy

Julie writes for Inspired to Write where she offers tips, resources, and writing inspiration for writers and bloggers. She is also a freelance writer for various websites and blogs.


  1. That’s a tough one for me. Why do I write? Hmmm, I guess because I always wrote. I wouldn’t call it a passion; it’s just part of who I am. As a kid I wrote stories when I was bored. In school I performed better on essay tests than tests with multiple choices.

    Early in my work career the responsibility for writing manuals on how to use the office equipment fell on me because of my writing style. As I progressed in the business world, my clients liked the way I explained difficult concepts in an easy to read fashion. Later I became a technical writer and now a freelance writer.

    Getting back to the original question: Why do I write? Because it’s part of who I am; it’s sort of like breathing. I’ve written for free and for fee. Fee is better, but there’s a certain freedom that comes with writing for free.

    • @Felicia thanks for the comment. I guess that doesn’t quite fit into any of the responses. LOL I think for most, it really is for multiple reasons. I agree – writing is just part of who I am – I think self-expression may be the category that fits best for me. Writing is a my way to take the thoughts bouncing around in my head, filter the words through the depths of my heart and formulate them into an expression of honesty and truth to share with others. Hmmm, that is quite profound…:)

      @Kimberly Writing is most definitely a journey! Pursuing your passion provides a certain freedom and piece! Good for you!

  2. That indeed was a tough one. I am just now embracing my identity as a writer even though I’ve been writing for 27 years, having kept a journal since I was 13! It was always something I just did that came naturally to me, like what Felicia said. It’s like breathing. I don’t think about it, it is just who I am. I’ve been doing it for free for years, and I would gladly continue doing it for free. So now, I am on a new journey with my writing, pursuing my passion, and it feels wonderful.

  3. It is a great cuestion, why do i write? Its realy fun, you can put everything what you have in your hart and all your meanings like someone its allways listening to you and your just keep talking and he is enjoying every single word and it has a lot of passion, this its my opinion for the cuaestion Why do i write.

    And i have to say something els its realy important, Julie you are a great writer i love your articles, they are realy great i hope to be a writer like you are ..

  4. I clicked on Therapeutic which to me is the same as Self-Expression.
    I kept a diary from an early age to adulthood. I had to express myself. I have been writing on forums for six years now. I enjoy the give and take communication. Getting paid for writing is a natural extension of my forum writing. I WISH I had started this earlier because I would LOVE to have a passive income of $1000 or $2000 right about now! I am not a person who ever in a million bazillion years would search on the internet for ways to make money writing. I don’t have the desire or time to waste on scams. I really appreciate everyone (Julie and Felicia and fellow bloggers) sharing their experiences so I don’t have to waste energy making mistakes. THANK YOU! As soon as I can I need to learn how to ramp it up and take the shortest route to residual earnings OR “if you could do it all over again, what would you have done differently?”

    • That is a good question! I think I have wasted a lot of time chasing the pie in the sky and I am trying to back to focusing. I try to offer words of advice to help others avoid some mistakes… I just did an Interview (posted on this blog) with Leo from Zen Habits about focus. He is spot on – the Internet is a place that can really suck you in and get you sidetracked. There is no magic button, which is the TRUTH! There are no shortcuts for any type of long-term success. I would say the best advice I can give is 1) find your passion 2) be yourself and honest, and 3) stay focused!

      • I read your interview and posted his video on FB. I love how you writers all have links to each other and it’s packed with good info! I’ve discovered Felicia, then you Julie, now Leo…I wasn’t planning on looking further but I took the time to read your article on someone I had never heard of and I was pleasantly surprised. There is an up-side to distraction!

        The honesty of writers who are tracking their income from all their writing sources and sharing that info is SO appreciated (a little cloaking is understood for privacy). I don’t believe any other claims unless it’s been verified by a real person in black and white. Now I know exactly what to expect and have a clear view of what I’m getting into BEFORE I get sucked up into writing for pennies and don’t know which way to turn. So, that info will impact my life in a tangible way.

        I’m BRAND new to writing online for pay. In the past, I just assumed it was all scams so I never took an interest. I have worked for two scam face-to-face businesses. Hey, I should write an article about it!

        One of my incomes was seasonally reduced, and thankfully, my Amazon sales rolled in over Dec. and Jan. or I would have starved! So, I saw that I could make an income working for myself – a big revelation. I have been going on interviews and getting rejections, experimenting with selling on eBay with no results so far.

  5. You had no ‘Because otherwise the voices in my head would send me mad’ option. :(

    Passion seems the best fit, but really, since I started writing at the relatively late age of *cough* um *cough*, it seems like I’ve finally discovered what it is I’m supposed to be doing with my life. Now I couldn’t stop making up stories and characters if my life depended on it!

  6. There’s probably a mixture of all the above choices there for me, though the one important angle I have been hitting hard over the last year is curiously absent – to educate and inform people. It’s really geeky, but the very basic joy of showing folks that they aren’t bound by constraints, or illuminating a little-known piece of history, is up there with the whole “fame and glory” nonsense I am trying my damnedest to shrug off. Most people (on AW especially) are more than open to the notion of making the world a little better, and I can only hope that the words we use every day in writing is having some sort of beneficial influence on the universe… Although I always have been a bit too optimistic in karmic balancing.

    The best answer (though not the “right” one, as such a status should not be given to any one answer) is probably “because I have to”, as that indicates that the choice is out of a writers’ hands. It’s also the answer Stephen King regularly gives interviewers when asked such a question…
    Bigwords88 recently posted..Some More Thoughts On Marketing

    • I like it! In this sense, the “because I have to” is a different interpretation, which is why writer’s creative mind is so fascinating. When I look at this poll, I realize there is no perfect fit for everyone, but that is how polls are – I guess I could have added, more than one answer is okay. But, the comments here, in the forums, and in other social media sites has enlightened me to the raw to the bone passion that most writers have for their art! Thanks for commenting!!

  7. I write to keep me sane or at least as sane as possible although some may say I’m nor being a 100% successful, lol. Writing helps me cope and make sense of my recurrent depression disorder and the physical pain I’m in on a daily basis. The real question for me is why do I share my writing with anyone? Not because it’s so personal but because it’s so low rent drivel.
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  8. Kevin Driscoll says:

    I write for several reasons and none seem to be any more important than the other. I started writing for work; manuals, processes and procedures. My writing is still too ‘clinical’. It was the organization of process in writing that led to writing down thoughts and view of life and politics. It is a great vent and helps me to analyze my own thoughts and opinions. If the writing has gaps or great leaps in the process, something is wrong with my thought process. Writing about my passions developed into a little (very little) income writing for motorcycle magazines. I’ve only been published a half dozen times but the process of putting my riding experiences on paper is the real reward. Plus getting published is a nice affirmation of my experiences. I write for thought organization, vent, self analysis, and just plain joy of it.

  9. I write to allow my mind to empty flowing thoughts and ideas so new thoughts and ideas are created. I think of my mind as being like a funnel where all my thoughts are circulating in my brain’s reservoir and slowly funneling its way out through a small outlet that is my mouth. Since I started writing, I re-routed the exit outlet and now it is expressed in my writing . My mind feels free of clutter and I am able to translate my thoughts through my writing. The ongoing challenge is to make sense of it ;-)
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  10. I can’t pick just one in your poll… so I didn’t fill any in.

    I write cos I enjoy it, and yes, it is therapeutic. But I’d be a liar if I said I wouldn’t like to see my work in the bookstores, and to be able to make a living from writing…

    … Also, being true to my birth sign, I like a pat on the shoulder, and I aim to create a smile on anyone’s face, at least ten times a day; it completes my ‘Life’s Task’.
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  11. Juanita C. McDonald says:

    From the selections above, I chose self expression however, I like to tell stories and to also let others know that whatever their going through; their not alone. It is also an art for me and it also a form of relaxation. I’m currently working on a novel that is considered as self help awareness as well that includes my personal story all in one. I consider it to be entertaining as well as educational (as far life is concern). I talk about the people that inspired me as well as giving support to others in finding their purpose in life.

  12. Jeff Green says:

    It’s a great question that is both simple and complicated to answer.

    Simple, because writing is a key part of my job as a proposals manager, whether it’s a part of a formal response from my company or an internal company email. Complex, because writing is the basis for important things like: helping my son write his college application essays, putting a message in his graduation yearbook, preparing a speech for a family event, or recording what happened in my outdoor activities diary.

    Writing for me is difficult for the simple answer and easy for the complicated one.

  13. I think there might be a selection bias in this poll – with only those coming to the group regularly having knowledge of the poll. Still, I think I’d like to know how many of the regulars fit into each category.

    When I was in school, the importance of reading or writing wasn’t as emphasized as say Math and I didn’t have the personal initiative to take that crucial step to doing it. I had a UN obsession though and loved to write things in Policy lingo. I think that eventually morphed into something of a style in itself that has come to be somewhat expressive.

    I really want to be a better writer! Someone that can formulate thoughts and ideas in a well structured manner and then execute them with a certain flawlessness. The key to that is to simply struggle it seems. Someone told me to keep writing and these things will naturally correct themselves.

    Perhaps the problem is more deep-rooted that one would think…

    • I am not sure what you mean by selection bias – this poll is open to anyone who comes to this site. It was posted on various forums and LinkedIn – so most of the results are not from “regulars.” Even so, I have never run this poll before and I am actually interested in what my readers responses are.

      Writing is most definitely a process and will improve the more you do it. But, we all have stumbling blocks and get stuck, and have to get back on the creative saddle to transform those thoughts into meaningful words.

  14. I started writing to share the music of bands and musicians with others who may otherwise never have heard of the people I was exposing them to. Like other people, “To share with others” only fits part of the reason for starting to write; there are so many other reasons for writing, but that one sums it up best.

  15. Dan Stewart says:

    I write for so many reasons. My job requires that I communicate through the written word and simply love the ability to deliver a succinct idea with unique phrasing. I write because the written word is malleable whereas the spoken word is irretrievable; can’t put the genie back into the bottle. The spoken word is also malleable, but requires much more prep work before uttering. I can revise a written concept over and over again until it meets my needs.

    I write to express ideas and I have so many of them.

    • Thanks Dan! That is completely true and I think one of the huge draws to writing. Funny, how even when we freely write without pause, the words come out better than if spoken! Thanks for the comment!

  16. Victor Baron Gipson says:

    Good poll question.

    I am an Instrucitonal Designer for Sales/Product Training and have spent time as a Sales Manager too. Writing is key in those capacities (i.e., for documentation, expression of ideas, to make points of reinforcement for behavior modification, etc.).

    Mainly, I write to reveal my stream of consciousness on any and all things within the confines of an assigned or random topic. It satisfies the most basic form of non-verbal communication.

    Good poll question.

  17. Judith Meadows says:

    I read your interview and posted his video on FB. When I look at this poll, I realize there is no perfect fit for everyone, but that is how polls are – I guess I could have added, more than one answer is okay.
    Judith Meadows recently posted..Cancer Tips

  18. I think writing is a great possibility to find and to get to know many interesting people. writing is one of the best thing in the history and the net give me a good chance to use it better.Thanks.
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