writers / writing

#IWSG Why do I Write?

This post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out. The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

This month’s question — How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?

All of those reasons were once mine, but after 25 years of writing, none are. If money was the measure of success, I’d move on to gardening, or cooking. Holding it in my hand does little for me. It’s that thing about the tree and the forest–

If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, did it make a sound?

I’ll rephrase that for writers:

If I publish a book and only my mother reads it, am I really a writer?

Hope? That one of my books will break through and end me up on [pick your favorite news channel, writer’s website, or magazine]. Maybe, but not enough to offset the hours (and months) of labor.

A participation trophy isn’t good enough

The 25,000th most popular book on Amazon–I need more.

If I’m being honest, my best answer is that writing keeps me from getting bored. What would I do if I didn’t write? How about you?

#iwsg #amwriting


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Winter 2022.

97 thoughts on “#IWSG Why do I Write?

  1. That is a interesting evaluation of success. I guess after years of writing, I can appreciate what you mean. I love writing, and I guess that is success, and if people read the book, (not family or friends), then that’s a plus for me.
    You’ve given much to think about, Jacqui.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful question to ask us all here. I appreciate your honesty (with your dry wit) and the comments of others here. I never began writing to “make money” nor to publish. It’s more a compulsion, writing. I feel so much better when I write! And when I began to teach writing, I found a way to help OTHERS feel so much better…just by writing their hearts out. I suppose I continued with writing a full novel because it takes such effort and focus. Writing is the best therapy, bar none. Writing a short story, and a novel, takes steps further into challenging ourselves to learn more about our ourselves so we can write real character(s) and setting (as you do with your prehistoric series). It takes patience and it makes us get stronger in believing in ourselves, our abilities, and our determination to follow something until it says “The End.”
    And then we start all over again. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Jacqui, why we write is an interesting question. I don’t really know why I write other than I like to write. I find it challenging and nothing in my day job challenges me anymore. I have a very restless spirit, a bit like a wave on a beach, and I have to keep finding things to channel that restlessness into otherwise I would probably ‘kick over the traces’ and run away on an adventure. Writing keeps me sane, challenged and satisfied. I like people to read my writing, but I don’t write for other people, I write for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • “Like a wave”–what great imagery. Scientists speculate that one of the reasons why man spread throughout the world (when few other species do) is wanderlust. We have a need to see what’s over the next hill but dogs, cats, lions, snakes–no other animals do. You may be a good example of that.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been asking myself that question, Jacqui. I think I’d spend a lot more time volunteering and working on my fitness, and trying fun new recipes. I spend 3 days a week with my granddaughter, so at least I’ve got that covered. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for sharing!!.. obviously I am not an author but what writing I do, I do in hopes of sharing thoughts with others and perhaps help make this world a better place… 🙂

    Until we meet again..
    May you always be blessed
    with walls for the wind,
    a roof for the rain,
    a warm cup of tea by the fire,
    laughter to cheer you,
    those you love near you,
    and all that your heart might desire.
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Jacqui – yes I so agree with you … and ok I only do my posts – but I learn so much too, am inspired to check out lots and then I’m never bored – I’ll bore others with all my ideas … not bloggers, but people I bump into!! Cheers and all the best as you progress with your brilliant books .. Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m energized because this is all relatively new to me, and I like to learn. I’ve kept journals over the years, though writing fiction is a whole new ballgame. I believe that I’d still be writing, even if no one was reading anything I wrote, because it is the act of writing that gives me the most satisfaction.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I write mostly for myself, because I can’t help making up stories, but once in a while, a small validation helps. Like getting my story accepted in an anthology or some nice comments for my flash fiction (on my website). Those little occurrences lift my mood for certain.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My life would be more boring if I didn’t write. Thanks for that reason, Jacqui! And much, much easier ~ regular sleep hours, a more pampered husband, lower amounts of chocolate eaten and few bottles of wine drunk, more hair ~ LOL! Writing is what really makes me feel alive. Your books are never boring, and I’d love to see you hit the big time!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Well that is an interesting answer to this month’s question, Jacqui! One that certainly would NEVER be my answer… The day that I feel or get bored is the day that I die. There are so many activities to pursue, places to explore, and occupations to try.

    Yet, I do like your answer as it truly gives purpose to your writing endeavors. My answer – and not reaching some of my goals – clarifies to me the honest and unpleasant truth that writing a book might not be worth all the time, effort, focus, dedication, and money involved… Since I have other passions.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Like you, my definition of success in terms of writing has evolved over the years. I write now because I have a story I’m excited about. That’s success for me. I am so over the self-imposed stress and anxiety of “rules” for finishing a project. I will or I won’t. Either way, I’m good.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Dear Jacqui,
    GREAT “writing keeps me from getting bored” 👍 👍
    I always defined my success as a writer that it pays my life style and a little bit more.
    With love from the grey sea today
    Klausbernd 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I like the idea of writing to keep from being bored. Not that I would ever be bored, as there always seems to be too much to do (why did I decide to buy a view and not a finished house?)…

    I write because I feel I have something to share. Sometimes this comes from study and research (not only Biblically and theologically, but also historical research). Other times, I feel I have experienced something that may help others. And, at times, I write because I hope to make people laugh or smile or to just look at the world in awe.


    Liked by 3 people

    • “buy a view and not a finished house”–that’s precious. Are you also a carpenter? Like someone else I know?

      I haven’t seen any of the books you write (just went to your blog, found the tab for ‘published writing’–how’d I miss that???). But, you write a ton with your sermons. Probably more than most self-described writers!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. “You keep writing so you don’t get bored.” That made me laugh, Jacqui. I’m that way too, though I have lots of ways not to be bored. It is a reliable way to keep the old brain active! Honestly, I write for lots of small reasons. It’s hard to pick one. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I write because I simply can’t imagine not writing. It’s something I’ve done since I was six years old and plan to do as long as I am on this earth. Even if no one read my stories, I would still write if only for my own pleasure and because the stories need to be told.

    Of course, we can all still hope and dream for the brass ring! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I have had some of these same thoughts, Jacqui. I started my writing journey because I had a true story that begged to be told. Now, I can’t find a way to stop. Success cannot be measured by money. In fact, not much can be measured by money these days, so the joy of producing a story that someone else gets pleasure from reading is my reward. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 4 people

  17. I think everyone’s definition is going to differ because we all have differing goals. So I guess that means meet your writing goal and you have been successful (within reason of course, “as famous as JK Rowling is not”).

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I can echo that, and add to it – I write because I have a head bursting with all these stories and they need an outlet. I write because if I didn’t, they would all go to waste, and sharing them gives me great pleasure.
    Earning from them is a bonus, but unlikely to ever be enough of an income to live on.

    Liked by 2 people

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