Why do I want be to a writer? Is it for the love of words? The desire to tell a captivating story? To entertain? To express my inner feelings under the paper thin veil of well-crafted prose? Make money? Become famous? All of these?
My mentor, Bafta winning writer, Geoff Thompson, asked me this question recently. And I fumbled with my answer.
“Why do you really want to write, Victoria? What is the essence of your writing?” He asked. He has asked me these questions several times – probably because he remains unconvinced by my flaky answer.
I can’t answer the question as I don’t really know why I feel the need to write. I just do. Although, I am positive, the desire to become famous or wealthy is not even the smallest dot on my radar.
Having a passion for writing does not explain why I write. Otherwise, I would just keep a daily diary, which I don’t. I don’t want to write for writing’s sake, I want others to read my writing. I want to be a published author; a successful one; with a multi-book deal and screen adaptations too.
If my motivation is to become published, surely the question we writers need to ask ourselves, is why? Why do we want others to read our work? This is far more important than working out the reasons why we want to physically write.
When Simon Cowell asks X-Factor contestants, why they want to sing, they usually say they want to be famous. He should really be asking, why do they want to be famous. What gap in their lives are they hoping notoriety will fill?
Essentially, all writers are egotistical and/or desperate to be heard. Egotistical, because they believe their work is so utterly fantastic, they’re convinced someone will spend money and time reading it.
The desperation to be heard can be for a multitude of reasons: disturbed childhood, bullied at school, low self-esteem, victims of abuse etc etc. Anything which results in the writer seeking attention and approval. The ultimate parental pat on the back.
I don’t think any of us would actually admit to this, perhaps not even to ourselves, but I’m sure when most writers sit down to pen their words, their quill has been dipped in a well of pain….somewhere…some when. Pain, which may have been worth enduring, if it means we hear the words, ‘Well done, you’re brilliant.’ The words we writers so desperately crave.