Do you know why you want to write? This can be an interesting question, with answers varying by mood, day, or project phase.
Say you’re in the middle of a project but you’ve lost the zest. When you’re stuck, doubting, or uncertain, it can help to get clear on the purpose of why you’re wanting to write. It can also help to shine a light on your inner beliefs. You can consciously choose your purpose. Here’s how:
- Start with a blank piece of paper.
- Free-write a list of why you’re wanting to do this project. Be honest with yourself. Maybe you want accomplishment, acceptance, self-expression. Why else do you want to write? Maybe to contribute, to find meaning…
- Let yourself see all your motivations, even the ones that might be uncomfortable to face. You might judge some reasons as “good” and others as “bad.” Your list is only for your eyes; the motivators that seem “bad” may be related to core needs, so try to see it all with kindness.
- Once you have your list of reasons, notice which ones:
a) Feel good to tie to your project.
b) Are needs which might be met in alternate ways alongside or besides your project.
c) Are outdated or just don’t feel good.
Wherever your desires are coming from, they’re okay to have.
It’s often helpful to acknowledge whether any desires are outdated. These can be let go because they won’t really serve your fulfillment and joy in life. For example, the desire to prove yourself as a writer to your family or the English teacher who give you a C may feel heavy. You might replace it with wanting to feel proud of yourself and authentically connect with the people who want to hear your words.
Core needs may show up in your reasons. For example, the desire for approval, to feel like you’re a good enough writer, might stem from past unmet needs. It may be helpful to release the pressure of these needs on your project or your audience. When you can get those needs met (like through self-validation, spiritual connection, or a supportive friend or mentor), then you don’t have to be looking for those needs to be met through your readers. This can free you up to enjoy the creative process more.
Focus on the desires that feel good in your whole body. So you can enjoy the time, energy, effort, and love you pour into your project. You might feel good about completion, learning something new, or connecting to others in a novel way. Even simply excitement, creative passion, tapping into your intuition, or speaking your truth.
Write down your dreams, purpose, and mission. Refer back to it when you’re feeling lost.
When you know what you truly want, even if it’s unusual or embarrassing, then you can take steps to create it. Your desires for your story don’t have to look like anyone else’s. There are no right or wrong reasons.
I hope this helps you think about your relationship to your project in a new, freeing, and more fulfilling way. Happy writing!