Friday, April 12, 2024

Why Do You Write?

by Lilka Raphael @LilkaRaphael

You can make anything by writing—C. S. Lewis

I find it easier to answer the question of what I write rather than why I write? This is primarily because my why evolves as I do. What prompted my writing a decade ago no longer entices me now. Perhaps, when we acknowledge the motivation behind our words, we can deliver them effectively.

Writers use words to sway opinion. Charitable organizations, hobbies, and politics also spur us into action. Some of us entertain and deliver the gift of laughter with our words. There is writing that educates. With the birth of the internet, we have infinite information at our disposal. In hindsight, I realize that I wrote about autism not only to support other parents but also because it was therapeutic as I navigated that chapter of life. 

There is no right or wrong answer to why? Still, staying mindful of our goals—expanding a platform, developing a series, or encouraging people—can help us meet them. As my motives changed, so did my writing. I could write from my heart when commercial success was no longer the goal. I write because I love the creative process. I write because it clears my mind. I write because I love to inspire people and share the lessons I have learned. 

Determining our why helps us dictate our how. Do you write to earn a living? If so, the mentors you seek and resources you invest in should ideally generate a return on your time. If you author novels, seek critique groups comprised of other novelists. Short story essayists and article writers may not understand your challenges or have solutions that can enrich your work. If your topics are faith-based, what do study to promote the truth?

With conference season underway, giving thought to our why helps us select the classes and resources best suited for our goals. Who do we need to meet or schedule appointments with? If you are goal oriented, how do you strategize your writing and monitor its progress? Asking why can clarify details that may obscure the larger picture.

Regrettably, we can lose the why along our journey as we become entrenched in the writing process. A desire to make our work marketable or accommodate the advice we receive can also dilute the inspiration that motivated us to write. We can hone our skills while allowing our work to morph and improve while staying true to our vision. We should not lose sight of our why in the quest to gain an audience. With diligence and patience, our words will find their readers.

No matter our motives, we write because we have something to share. Allow your why to guide the how, when, and where you write. Examine what stirs you. Has your why changed? A fresh perspective may inspire unique opportunities and original ideas. Never fear your why? 

The answer may be, Why not?


A Florida native, Lilka Finley Raphael has been a licensed pharmacist for over thirty years. Her passions for writing, gardening, and photography prompted her to share her experiences and life lessons on her blogs B Is for Blessed and God, autism, & me. You can learn more about her at

Lilka’s greatest achievements are her two adult sons who have flown the nest. Happily married for thirty-two years, she lives east of Atlanta with her husband, Rod. They now share their home with two German Shepherds—Holly and Ivy—and one naughty kitty, Moxie.

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