Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Lately I'm hearing too many writers talking about giving up, and I think it's time for a virtual pep rally. So, toss publishing out the window for today, and consider these:

25 Reasons to Keep Writing

1. Using a chainsaw is (usually) not a job requirement.
2. It’s the only time in your life when you really are Master of a Universe.
3. No office, no time clock, and no boss hovering over your shoulder asking, “Are you done yet?”*
4. Every day is Casual Friday.
5. You get paid to lie.
6. Poets will collectively envy and loathe you for having better prospects.
7. It gives you endless subject matter for your weblog posts.
8. You have a valid reason to gripe about Publishing.
9. Three words: Love Scene Research.
10. No one knows your stories but you. Yet.
11. Only writers are officially allowed to make Dan Brown, Stephen King or John Grisham jokes.
12. You keep up with what’s happening in your career field by buying and reading books.
13. You get to wrestle with important issues, like: Times New Roman, or Courier New?
14. It’s like having sex -- you won’t get any better at it unless you keep doing it.
15. What else are you going to do for the entire month of November?
16. Your writing may bring joy and purpose to the otherwise empty life of a yutz with a hair up a southern orifice.
17. You may someday inspire a poor kid with no education or future to dare to write stories, too (thank you, A.M. Lightner.)
18. You will become an expert at where to purchase the cheapest printer toner cartridges.
19. You will finally have your people – other writers.
20. Nothing will ever feel exactly like the moment when you type that last word on the last page of your story.
21. You can obsess for days over things like whether Lucien should have blue or green eyes.
22. No one in your house will ever have to pick up the mail again.
23. How else are you going to get into the Library of Congress, other than visiting it?
24. James Patterson isn't going to live forever, you know.
25. You were meant to be a star. Actually, you’re already a star. Well, all of the elements that make up your body came from the collision of atoms in a star. Except for the hydrogen and helium. Anyway, you’re part of a star. Writing is the other part.

*Not counting editor or agent e-mails asking the same question.

Add your reasons to keep writing in comments.


  1. Lately I'm hearing too many writers talking about giving up...

    You have an excellent sense of hearing.

    A reason to keep writing?
    It gives me an excuse to visit some bloody good blogs. ;)

  2. -Thanks for this :) All of your reasons are very good.

    I write because it isn't yet there.

    I also write because I know how miserable I am to be around when I'm not writing.

    I write because I know I will find that agent who knows he can sell my story and people will read and enjoy it.

    What else do you do when you're a night owl and nothing but the coffee shop and walmart is open in the middle of the night.

  3. Numbers 1, 22, and 24 are my favorite reasons these days. I'd add to the list, You can claim hanging around Paperback Writer's blog is necessary industry research.

  4. Anonymous7:47 AM

    Because it's the only place where homicide isn't against the law.

  5. Anonymous7:49 AM

    Suddenly, daydreaming and staring out the window is acceptable, even noble.

  6. Double plus points for number 19. "You will finally have your people--other writers."

    You get to join the club of writers. You finally, finally, finally get to eat lunch with the popular kids!

  7. Anonymous9:36 AM

    Because if I didn't write, my family would kick me out of the house for being too grumpy and mean.

  8. Because you're actually doing something that many people dream of doing, wish they could do, or think they can do but really can't.

    Because you'll always feel like the world's biggest loser if you quit.

    I really needed this pep rally today. I attended a chamber of commerce function and three people asked if/when a new book would be out. I smiled, thanked them for asking and just said that it would be awhile. One lady said, "You have to quit your day job."

    Right. That's the job where I actually make money. It also happens to be one that I love.

  9. Anonymous10:04 AM

    Because you can take the vow of poverty without having to become a nun, a Moonie, or a Freegan.

  10. 26. You finally can deal with all those voices in your head without drugs :)

  11. I write because how else am I going to get reap revenge on everyone who has ever wronged me without going to jail? ;)

    Also, I don't drink, so I need a valid excuse for the mood swings.

  12. #15! #15! As silly as it is, I'm *so* looking forward to November. Does it matter that I crank out books all the time? Nope. Something about *having* to do it in November is exhilarating!

  13. Keep writing because somewhere out there is someone (like me) who is going to love your book. They are going to pick it up in the store and admire the cover, then read the back. They are going to flip to the first page and read, while in their mind and heart, they beg you to pull them in. When your words, pulled from your heart and brain, speak to theirs, in those few short paragraphs or pages, they will buy this child of your soul, and they will take it home. One day or night, they will pick it up with a small flutter of anticipation in their chest, a tiny light of greedy happiness in their eyes, and they will curl up or stretch out somewhere and read. They might read your child all in one sitting, but if they don't they will put it away with sorrow, and eager anticipation for when they can return to the world you have created for them to visit. And, when they finally finish their read, they will smile, because you have met their hopes for a good read, perhaps even a great one. You have filled their reader's soul for a few hours; you have scratched their eternal itch. And, with the magic shared between your writer's soul and their reader's, you have created a bond that will bring them back to you when you write again.


  14. Ha! Thanks. Okay, more reasons:
    1. It's cheaper than therapy
    2. It's a good way to avoid a Real Job
    2a. Where people would expect you to be able to find the things you filed while you were imagining what sort of tendons a griffyn's wings would have and how they would move.

  15. Oooh, griffyn's wings, what about the wings on a gargoyle? Or what that branch of the evolutionary tree would look like?
    How about #26- It gives you something else to think about while waiting for "the call" (or the email), and is less painful than chewing off all of you finger nails (they're already short enough as it is). Wait. wait. wait....

  16. Anonymous12:57 PM

    5 and 22 are enough for me.

    I also have, "I must not have heard you, honey. I was filling plotholes in my head."

  17. It's the only job where you can kill off a few thousand people in horrible ways before lunch and still consider yourself a good and decent person.

  18. Hello
    Definitely like this one.. very good list especially for all of us..

  19. Great list! Now I need to get back to work again. Thanks!

  20. -The conversations are always better, because you get to have input into both sides.

    -Living in Alaska its dark and quiet for an awfully long time, but I can tell a story about the sunrise and whamo! there it is.

    -the research (see #9)

  21. You're the only person able to use "writer's Block" as an excuse for laundry still undone.

  22. Anonymous7:18 PM


    I'm gonna share this with a few other folks.

    Here's my contribution - Working in PJ's is acceptable work clothes.

  23. Retrospective validation of rambling life path - it was all feeding the muse! Honest!

    But mainly because writing makes my imagination real. Story is time travel, or dimension travel at least.

  24. Anonymous2:12 PM

    There must be something in the air, or with the change of seasons. I blogged about this the other day as well at Authors Tools Blog.

    Some of my reasons are...

    * To get the voices out of my head and down on paper
    * To share my stories with the world
    * To prove to myself that I can do better than the author of the book I just threw against the wall
    * Fame and fortune — yeah, right!
    * Because I can’t NOT write

    I'm looking forward to November and hoping that the weather is worse this year than last year.

  25. Oh... thank you.

    This is the week I drop out of law school, find a day job/career that can pay the bills without stealing my soul/time, and go back to writing. So thank you.

  26. Numbers 4 and 20 are spot on. I think they'll keep me writing long after the doubts have paralyzed me. Heh.

    I'd have to add:

    26. How else can you make the world disappear for 6 hours straight and have a legitimate reason for ignoring your loved ones?

    27. Fixing your hair for the work day is optional. Very optional.

    28. Your characters need you to breathe life and vivacity into them. No one else could do it half as well. They depend on you.

    29. An appallingly small percentage of the current youth population understands the difference between literature and net-speak. It's frightening.

    30. Nothing is more satisfying than describing something so fully that a reader can almost reach out and touch it, can practically smell it, can darn near taste it. Except for writing "the end". Heh.

  27. Anonymous9:56 AM

    It's the only legal way to kill somebody off...

  28. I seem to have given up writing without intending to. What I need are reasons to start again :).

    The likelihood of being published doesn't seem to be one of them! lol

  29. My reasons to keep writing.. I like working my own hours.

    And I LOVE the feeling of holding a book in my hands and knowing the words on the page came from my imagination.

    And I enjoy creating a character, and sending them on a journey.

    My reasons for taking a break...I blogged about on my own blog.

  30. Anonymous6:54 PM

    I know I'm waaaaay late on this, but...

    It doesn't come (so to speak) with those nasty, orgasm-retarding, sex-life-ruining side effects associated with Prozac and Zoloft.

    Not that I have any personal experience with...you know...THAT.

    *shifty eyes*

  31. Eh, those SSRIs make better contraceptives than anything from Durex.

  32. Long overdue observation: You posted this on my birthday! You are truly my nemesis.

  33. Sean Lindsay wrote: Long overdue observation: You posted this on my birthday! You are truly my nemesis.

    That I am. Next year I'm sending a stripper dressed like an aspiring writer to your house to sing you happy birthday.

  34. Note that she specifies niether the gender nor the physique of this impersonator....

  35. Because you'll do less time for WRITING about killing some deserving sob than you will for ACTUALLY killing the deserving sob.


  36. obviously you struck a nerve... well done!

  37. These are wonderful ~ the original 25 and all the rest that followed! Having been recently maligned for wasting my time blogging on my computer, it's great to find my niche here with writing friends I'm waiting to meet. Write on!


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