Last week I hosted a contest in which I asked readers to leave a comment telling me why it’s important to them to be published.
Most of the comments cited personal satisfaction and helping others as main motivations.
It got me thinking about the various reasons people have for wanting to write for publication, as opposed to writing as a hobby. Here’s the list I came up with:
- Personal Satisfaction–the need to write, and the intense desire to see one’s own work in print
- Helping Others–the desire to help others by encouraging or leading by example
- Fame–wanting one’s name to go down in history as a well-known writer
- Money–thinking one will make a great deal of money and be able to quit one’s job
- Mission–a personal, religious or political motivation that one wants to share with others
I’ve never heard anyone say, “Hey, I’m in writing for the fame/money!” First, that would be silly–most writers make very little money for the amount of work they do, and the majority are far from famous. Second, few people would be willing to admit it, even if those were their motivations.
Still, if we’re honest with ourselves, don’t we all have (a) a desire to make money from our writing, and (b) a desire to be recognized for our writing? These may not be our main motivations, but they are there.
My own wish to be published stems mostly from personal satisfaction. I’ve been writing all my life, and I’ve finally committed to doing what it takes to get published. Whether or not I ever see a dime for my efforts, I need to know I’ve dedicated myself to this journey.
That said, I would love to make a little money doing something I love, and something that gives me the freedom to stay home with my kids.
As for helping others, I think my non-fiction fits into that category. In fact, all my articles here at Write It Sideways are geared toward helping others like myself gain the skills to become better writers.
So, why exactly do you want to be published?
N.B. Since writing the first draft of this post, I’ve come across a couple of blogs that are discussing similar themes this week. Must be something in the water. Nathan Bransford wants to know What keeps you writing?, and Joe Sharp asks, Do you write because of talent or hard work motivated by desire? There are some interesting comments worth checking out.