Why Do Writers Write?

quotables button“Why do writers write? Because it isn’t there.”

– Thomas Berger, apparently

There never are enough good books out there. Good books exists, but once they’re read it’s hard to find another one – so I do write to fill the gap in books I love to read. On reflection, this is maybe one of the strongest drives that get me to write. You can just feel this big, gaping absence in the world, and you know it’s crying out to be filled. So you try to put the greatness you can see in your mind on paper. It’s maybe crazy at first to think you can ever be as good as your favourite author, and that anything you write will actually fill that gap for anyone else except you. After all, Tolkien, Austen, etc. were geniuses with words. But maybe, just maybe, you can produce something that starts to fill in the gap they left behind them.

I write what I love to read. I wonder if I came across my own stories and had no memory of writing them (through some strange twist of fate), if I would think I succeeded.



Filed under On Writing

2 responses to “Why Do Writers Write?

  1. Alexia

    It’s funny, sometimes, as a reader, I wish writers would just stop publishing new books because it’s so depressing to me that I’m never gonna get enough time to read all the books I want to read, especially if there are always new ones coming out.

    Have you ever seen that painting, Dickens dream ? You can see Charles Dickens, he’s asleep and all of his stories and characters are around him, in the air, just waiting for their story to be put on paper. I love the idea that the characters you create have always been somewhere in the back of your head, just waiting for you to notice them and to tell their story.


    • Just think, this is the greatest time in history for being able to get your hands on good literature, and for many people being educated enough to write good literature. Unfortunately, the downside is there’s never enough time to read it all!
      (Though I think part of the reason authors put out so many books is that ‘publish or perish’ is part of the fiction-writing world as well – if you don’t stay visible, your readers forget about you. And your publisher wants you to keep pumping out books that sell, or they’ll drop you.)
      I haven’t actually seen that painting of Dickens, but it sounds like what I was trying to get at in this post. I like the ideas of these characters just waiting patiently till someone tells their story too. 🙂


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