Writing stories is not an easy hobby or career. To keep writing, you need a strong motivation to write. Writing can be a way to express things you feel strongly about. You also need to love the art of writing. This means making interesting characters, settings, and plots. It also means rewriting stories until they are the best you can make them.
Why do I write fiction? It’s not an easy hobby. Nor is it an easy livelihood
Ideas for stories often pop into my head, but it’s often a real struggle to get them out in words. It’s taking a quick and thrilling flash of inspiration and translating it into a hard slog of typing and revising.
I can write something and then realize it will need major changes. Sometimes, a section I’ve worked hard on won’t even end up in the final story.
Why do I put myself through this? There are easier ways to make money. But I have stories I need to tell.
Stories I Need to Tell
If a story burns in my mind, I need to get it out. I have characters and events in my mind that I need to get out and put together in a story.
A Way to Cope with Things
In some ways, writing stories is how I process things and make sense of the world. If I feel angry about some injustice, I can channel that anger into a story in which justice triumphs. Writing fiction allows me to channel my mental energy and passion into something productive.
While many writers find writing theraputic, you probably won’t want to publish everything you write for this purpose, at least not without extensive editing. Pouring your thoughts into a journal might make you feel better, but no one will want to read your unedited journal entries.
While you can write a good story about something that troubles you, you must consider the art of writing. You still must have a compelling main character and a plot that flows organically from the actions of your characters. Otherwise, your writing will sound preachy.
A well-written story that explores serious themes can impact readers. It will help to change the way they think. Perhaps it will open their eyes to new ideas or stir their consciences. In this way, your story can impact the world. While it is unlikely that one story by itself will change much, it can be a drop in a current of change.
Exploring Ideas through Writing
Fiction provides a way to explore themes without getting abstract and philosophical. It shows how an idea can work out in life–perhaps in a fictional world. And some things are better in fiction than in reality.
One theme that interests me is how freedom can exist in a world with technology for mass surveillance and control. I’m working on some stories that flesh out that theme.
There are also many “universal human themes” that can be fleshed out in stories. These themes include love, hope, death, life, friendship, and forgiveness–to name a few.
- Redemption after having done something terribly wrong
- Tension between mercy and justice
- Rising from a comfortable life to heroism
Themes like these can be fleshed out in numerous ways. They can appear in many stories without the stories feeling monotonous. When we recognize these themes in the stories we read or hear, they feel like familiar patterns. The themes provide aspects of human experience that we can relate to, even if the story is fantasy and nothing like our own lives. The plot, characters, and setting all provide distictive elements that make the story different from other stories with the same theme.
Need for Good Stories
I also write because I believe we need more good stories. Too many stories people see today are depraved and depressing. Some of them glamorize crime and stir people to sympathize with criminals. Some are obvious propaganda. Others have dangerous messages, like telling girls and women that dangerous men are romantic.
We need better stories than that. Stories based in the truth. Stories that make goodness and wholesomeness look attractive. And we need stories that bring hope.
Good stories may not be the most heavily promoted by major publishing houses. The may not be the most attractive stories to Hollywood. However, they will edify those who read them.
Love of the Art of Writing
Finally, I write because I love the art. I love to see how plot events can be woven into an overarching story. I love to see how a character can be developed. I love the way words can be used to paint pictures in reader’s minds. It’s a wonderful challenge to find just the right words.
Sometimes, I get new ideas in the process of writing and can take my story in unexpected directions.
I like creating settings. Envisioning a world–whether it’s an exotic fantasy setting or a simple small town. I like to create the feeling of the setting.
I also enjoy creating characters. As a writer, you get to make up interesting people and put them in difficult situations. You can make them learn and grow through these situations.
Moreover, I also enjoy refining stories. While revision if often tough, I enjoy the process of making a story even better.
If you don’t love doing these things, writing fiction is probably not the best way for you to express your passions. Perhaps you are called to some other art.
If you do not love the art of writing, yet try to write fiction about a cause you feel passionate about, your stories may become obviously propagandistic.
You may write for a variety of reasons.
However, if you do not love the art of writing itself, you are not likely to reach your other goals for your writing. Your art will not reach the level it needs to become popular and influential, or you will burn out and give up. The world does not need more pointless and forgetable stories, even if you can make some money from them.
The world needs good, wholesome, and well-crafted stories. And I long to provide some.