I’m going to be talking about writing here, but I want to preface this by saying that I believe that these tenets or questions apply to all forms of art and expression.
There are as many reasons to write as there are to breathe or love, and most of them if not all, are valid. Some might be more noble than others, but, hey, that is a judgment call.
My challenge to you (and to myself) is this: do you know why you write? Really? Do you want to write the novel of the century? Or win a Pulitzer? Or have your books made into movies? Or be famous?
The answer matters, not merely because it makes you a better person, but because it will help you write a better novel. If you dream of thrilling readers with great mysteries and intrigue, don’t try to write literary fiction. Everyone will be miserable. Similarly, if you want to write Great Prose, accept that you won’t have tons of readers (at least, while you are living), and that lots of people won’t “get it.”
When you have figured out what compels you, you will be more content with the process of writing, and I bet your work will improve. Know thyself, as the Bard said. And write a better novel.
This post first appeared as part of The Midnight Muse column on irevuo.com.