Why Do You Write?

Posted By Darren Rowse 12th of April 2008 Writing Content 0 Comments

Why Do You Write?
In this post Muhammad Saleem asks why do you write? Muhammad is a social media consultant and a top-ranked community member on many social sites. image by mezone

Why Do You Write?

Sounds like an odd question at first, doesn’t it? The reason why you write actually has a big impact on how you write and what you write about, and understand that identifying this reason can actually help you write better and work faster towards achieving that goal.

For example, when I first started writing online, I was writing a personal diary of sorts. Since I was writing it more as an outlet for self-expression and not as something for public consumption, the blog didn’t look very pretty, it was unstructured, and I didn’t care much about editing the content or writing regularly. However, when I started writing my first social media blog, I approached the matter very differently. What changed?

Why I Started and Continue to Write

1. Educating Others and Myself

I started writing my first social media blog about 8 months after I really got involved in the space. I was frequently reading other blogs and commenting on them and would often think to myself that my comments could be blog posts of their own (and would offer a worthy contrarian viewpoint to what I was reading). So I started my own social media blog with the intention of doing three things: a) Talking about my experiences in the social space and what others could learn from them, b) Discovering topics that I thought were important but were being undeserved and talking about them, and c) Providing a contrarian viewpoint (or my insight) on the meme of the day. I started blogging not just because I thought I had something to say but because I believed (and still do) that it would create value for people and help others.

2. Personal Branding

There has been a growing reciprocal relationship between my blog and my personal branding. Since I already had a presence in the social media sphere, it gave credibility to my blog, and since I was blogging about my experiences, my social media presence gained more exposure through it. When I say personal branding I don’t mean celebrity for the sake of celebrity. What I mean is establishing your brand as the [something] guy, and I was establishing myself as the social media guy, just as Darren has established himself as the ‘make money through blogging’ guy (unlike John Chow, whom I like to refer to as the ‘make money by bending the rules’ guy).

3. Networking

Through being active in the social media space, blogging was a natural progression for me. Social media is all about community, networking, and collaboration, and one of the best mediums to do that through is blogging. I started blogging not just because I wanted to establish myself as an authority on something and I wanted to help other people understand that niche, but because I also wanted and still want to network with other people in the space and hear what they have to say and learn from them. We all have unique perspectives on things and as much as we like to believe that we know it all, someone always comes along and enlightens us further. I can’t begin to tell you how much I have learned from people commenting on my blogs, or messaging me via email or instant messenger. After all, as John Donne wrote, “All mankind is of one author…No man is an island, entire of itself.”

I don’t think anyone said it better than Rollo May though,

“Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.”

4. Escapism

I started writing seriously when I was in college, and I remember that I would write the most (and perhaps some of the most substantive stuff) when I was stressed about something or the other. The more I wrote, the more passionate I became about writing and it was an incredibly easy and enjoyable way to ‘get away from it all’. No more Econometrics or Statistics, I could spend hours just researching, writing, and commenting before I had to go back to the books. Similarly, many of the most unique blogs I see today (such as WebUrbanist and Deputy-Dog) are from people who hold regular jobs but use their blogs as their creative outlets.

5. Money

When I started to blog, I never dreamed of making money through blogging. Not only was I not aware that it was an option, but I was mentally trained and culturally brought up to want to be a financial consultant – it was set in stone. But the more I blogged, the more people started asking me to blog for them for money. While I never guest blogged for money (I think it defeats the purpose of ‘guest’ blogging), I did end up writing regularly for multiple sites on a per post basis and thought it was absolutely perfect. Think about it, getting paid to do what you’re passionate about – it’s not a job if you enjoy doing it!

Ultimately, whether it be out of a passion or to make some cash on the side as a Freelancer, we all have a unique voice and a unique reason for why we should be heard. The single reason why I wrote this post is because I am genuinely interested in hearing each and everyone’s story. Why do you write?

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  1. I write mostly for my own pleasure. I have a Linux tech blog, and find I search my own experiences to find how I did something in the past when I run into the same problem.

    And I think I also write just to hear my own voice (figuratively speaking, that is.) :-) The fact that I make a little money off the ads on the site is inconsequential.

  2. I write because i like writing more than copy paste, make you feel human!

  3. I write for all the reasons you mentioned (education, networking, branding, escapism, money) and for one other main reason – it helps me to solidify and organize my own thoughts and opinions. Talking about a topic is one thing, but writing about it makes you think things through at a deeper level.

  4. I write to share my ideas and see what other people think about them. There is an ego factor there, I won’t deny. Hopefully the value that emerges out of the whole process is greater than that though.

  5. I started my first blog just to explore the blogosphere and to understand to full SEO potential of the blogs.

    Now, I’m doing it because of the communities that can be developed around a simple blog.

    And money? Of course money is part of the equation as well…

  6. I blog because it gives me a chance to formalize and think through my ideas. If I don’t get them into a post, the don’t always get organized and I lose the benefit.

    Hope that makes sense to someone!

  7. I loved this article. Writing is such an outlet on so many levels. It really helps anyone get to know theirself and their own abilities better than they thought they could.

    Blogging in itself is a great way to meet others, in addition to establishing a wonderful personal brand. Not to mention.. it can be done from anywhere.

  8. I write stories, mainly, because I want to get them out of my head and on paper. I want to share them with as many people as I can. I write in my blogs for the same reason.

  9. I started blogging in 2002 as a form of escapism, then it turned to a hobby that led to my new career that couldn’t be more disconnected from my college degree. For our food/cooking blog, it all started as a way to share our passion for food to othersand to find other foodies who are as crazy about food as we are; plus our families were getting sick of all the food photos we’ve been sending them last year. We enjoy the sense of community among food lovers and home cooks, and we’re all learning from each other. We’re putting in a lot of time into the blog that it’s almost like a second career. But we’re not complaining because it’s something we love doing.

  10. Definitely for escapism and love of writing. I’ve been writing since I was 10 or 11 and I remember plunking away on my Apple IIC in the 1980’s writing short stories. So blogging and writing content just became second nature and an extension of my past.

  11. Great blog topic! Certainly thought provoking.

    Jessica Bond’s blog was created in lieu of the traditional newsletter to promote healthcare recruiting business.

    It has evolved into an identity of its own.


  12. I write because I am a writer…a word smith.

    I need to detail concepts precicely and in a way that often alludes verbal conversation. As a writer, I know that the reader has ultimate power of interpretation. Sometime I do not allow much room for logical interpretation by providing indisputable meaning and clarity with pointed descriptions of the concept at hand. However, at times, I recognize my work as an art form and allow for the reader’s imaginings to project upon the piece his or her mind’s natural bent.

    I write because I have something specific to say about something specific. I write because I regularly receive praise for my concepts and the way in which I write about them. I love praise and admiration, so I continue to write for selfish reasons, I suppose. I also need to do what I can to help other human beings put the Human Experience into terms that make it all okay. I provide solutions to philosophical dilemmas.

  13. I write in the hope that someone is listening…

  14. From the time I was very young, I have loved the written word. Words still have a mesmerizing affect on me. When written words evoke emotion, invite laughter, impart beauty, offer hope, expose evil, or change the hearts of men, it is nothing short of a miracle.

    With words we write our own stories, and by them we read the stories of others. The stories are important. The process itself is often excruciating. I never feel that I am quite done with a piece. A word adjustment here, a polishing or tightening up there. But it is worth it. Because of the words.

  15. I write for a number of reasons

    – writing is a platform to share my views
    – I am a software developer and I like programming, writing is a constructive process like programming
    – that gives immense satisfaction upon completion
    – English is not my first language, writing allows means to get better with my language skills
    – Writing allows you to become a better marketer

  16. Great Stuff Mu!

    I started writing as a way to release my anger and frustrations. After a few years I still do that on occasion, but I am a much happier person now, especially after working with you for two years. HA!

    No, good stuff, thanks for leading me to this.

  17. I write blogs mainly because, after 10 years writing songs, I was looking for another outlet.

    Blogging has given me that. Not just on my personal blogs, but others as well.

    Great post!

  18. Great post!

    I am always amazed at the different reasons why people have chosen to blog. However, the thing that is always constant is the need to communicate and build a community.

    My reasons for blogging are not very different, well except the making money part. I have made very little, but I am still as passionate about blogging as I was when I started last year.

  19. I write for the same reason Michael Jordan played ball. It’s something I’m good at, and something that offers me increasingly robust paydays, fresh new opportunities, and in a small niche, some notoriety.

    It’s also something I enjoy doing, and even if I stopped getting paid for it, in some way it’s become a part of me I’d always incorporate into my life, somehow.

    Lastly, it’s a lot more entertaining and engaging for my wife and kids to say “My husband (dad) is a writer,” as opposed to what they used to say back in the mid-1990’s, which was… “My husband (dad) sells life insurance!”

    Clever post, thanks.

  20. I write because I want to improve my writing skills and make some money from my blog. It is also great to meet some people and brand my name.

  21. I write because I wanted to have better time to inform people about new photo albums in my website. After a while, I started to write blog posts from individual images as well and here I am now with three blogs. Two of them are in finnish (one without any niche, one about taiji in Finland) and third one is in english (about photography and Finland).

  22. I write because we travel the world as a family on an open ended trip and we learn so much on so many levels that I want to share that with others.

    People have been telling me to write a book my whole life and this amazing experience will finally get me to do that. I tend to like to edit and edit my writing before publishing, but blogging on the move has not allowed that and it is freeing in many ways.

    I find I enjoy the process much more than I ever expected and connecting to people through the blog has added so much to this rich experience.

  23. I am a writer, it’s what I’ve done my whole life. I’ve made a career of writing and became an authority in my industry by writing two books. It’s part of my identity as a person.

  24. I just began blogging a few weeks ago, with no real expectations outside of an outlet for my thoughts. Needing some sense of understanding of ‘how this whole thing works’ I was directed to Problogger and have been happily crusing other blogs and learning a few tips here and there.

    HOWEVER, beyond all that, blogging is providing an anchor to my day; for the first time in 30 years I am not reporting to a workplace or responsible to a stable of clients… this blog and my workouts at the Y are the two pieces of structure to my life as I figure out what I want to do next. It is also helping me organize my thoughts on a daily basis. I’m really enjoying it, and as a few of my friends have begun reading it, they are surprised that I am willing to articulate this in the ethers – I assure them that NOBODY is reading any of it!

    Thanks for the article – very affirming!

  25. I write on a lot of different topics for a lot of different reasons, but the reason I started my blog, Blessings from Above (http://www.blessingsfromabove2.blogspot.com) is because first, I want to remind others of the wonderful things that we have in life, the “blessings,” that we’ve been given. Second, when I write the blog, it forces me to focus on my blessings, too. As a result, I feel more postive and happier about life.


  26. I write because I love to, I get some kind of weird sense of accomplishment with taking my ideas and putting them down in text in a way that explains it as simply as possible.

    I also write because I like telling others what I think and because my girlfriend was tired of hearing about the latest Apple product and why it would be terrible if Microsoft bought Yahoo.

  27. I enjoy your style. As a mass comm. professor, I too enjoy blogging about writing. Your blog is very informative and well layed out. I look forward to my return visits.

  28. I started blogging to keep track of my spiritual life on a blog alled Gethsemani Reflections. It was a mess, just like you said, but I kept with it, and then over time found a passion. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which means in day to day terms, I could expect a four day attack, once every two weeks. I’m talking about life stopping attacks.

    Well, I’m on a mission to destigmatize the anxiety disorders. Stigma is what keeps people from getting the help they need, because they know how they will be judged, since they have judged others before.

    I say enough of it. So I blog for my passions. My spiritual life. and the anti-stigma of anxiety disorders.

    As to why I write? I have all kinds of stories all over this house, and probably in houses where I have lived. It’s fun, It’s life giving.

  29. Hmm…that’s a good question, one which I’m not sure I can answer. It’s like when someone asks you, “so tell me about yourself” or “so what do you do for a living?”. I’m usually stumped. And I’m stumped now. But I’ll try:

    – I write primarily to express myself
    – I write to inform (I guess)

    The other reasons, I don’t know – but the reasons are there nonetheless – just can’t wrap my tongue around ‘um at the mo’. But I write. And that’s that.

  30. I like to write and I like to take photographs. So what I do in my blogs (one of them german/english and one of them english) is presenting some of the photos and write about them. That’s my city, that is the nature I love, these are the landscapes I like. It’s putting two expressions of creativity together. I am far off thinking to be able to earn money by blogging – I’ve got a job to live from.

  31. Stress relief. When it comes down to it, that’s the primary motivation. Writing about stuff helps me to get it out of my head, down on paper, er, webpages, and helps me to focus better on other things.

    Having an archive of thoughts, even if a bit nutty at times, is nice to have. Also, knowing that my children will be able to read this stuff (and maybe even comment!) someday, is a bit of a comfort, too.

    But when I sit down to write a post, despite all the other reasons already listed above, the primary one is to get something out of my head. Yeah, that might sound a bit too “Unabomber Manifesto-ish” to some who don’t understand it. Which is a shame.

    Our children grow up not knowing how to write – and being made to feel ashamed of their ideas. They days of the essayist and the idea-man (Chesterton, Buckley, C.S. Lewis) seem to be declining, at least when it pertains to writing. Cultural commentary is reserved for experts: television media pundits, newspaper columnists, talk show hosts, singer/songwriters, and comedians. We, the common man, are constantly advised not to bring up certain issues in mixed company – which pretty much means in front of anyone.

    And so, no one thinks anymore. No one analyzes. No one states the painfully obvious at times. And while there are those who think it is ridiculous to blog, there are those (like me) who find it increasingly shallow to keep a man’s opinions all to himself and are afraid to put their voice out there – just because they might later be wrong.

    Sure, it’s great to make money from blogging, or to network (love it), or to help someone understand something, or to temporarily escape into the writing. But, for me at least, it’s mostly about getting the ideas and commentary out of my head out in a public forum where, over time, with good feedback, it helps me to form a worldview that is increasingly consistent. I suspect that for many other bloggers it is also a primary motivator, even though some of them, knee-deep in AdSense shenanigans, may not realize it.

  32. I can’t help it. I’ve always written and my first impulse was for creative expression. Just as artists feel compelled to express themselves through art, I felt more “myself” when I wrote. It led to self-discovery and then I realized that some of what I discovered could be shared with others.

    After awhile, I started getting paid to write but the FIRST impulse? It was sheer joy, no pay (although I did win a set of encyclopedias as a kid) and having to reach a wider audience.

    Writing felt like my calling. It still does.

  33. What an excellent post. I started writing in grade school, and just kept going. Why? All I can say is, a pen in my hand and a blank piece of paper on the desk, and the writing just has to happen.

    As an adult, I write journals, online journals, blogs, websites, and for a while I was writing songs – music, lyrics, arrangements. Why? Great question. I feel like that’s who I am. Pop psychology would have us believe that we shouldn’t identify who we are with what we do – but … oh well, you know?

    I just finished writing a novel, and it was something I’d been planning to write for many years. It took on a life of its own. The main character became so real I almost thought I was her!

    Another reason for writing – you mentioned this and it struck a chord with me: community. How strange. Writing is a solitary activity! But here we are, in community, sharing ideas and feeling like we have a strong bond.

    All I can say is, thank heaven for the 21st century. I remember the days of the IBM Selectric II. I thought we were ready to shoot for Mars. My Queendom for a laptop!

  34. I started blogging because it seemed a good move to get traffic to our wedding film site, but almost immediately I realised I love it. As wedding videographers we see everything behind the scenes, from preparations through to entertainment, and there are many great original ideas out there.

    I am now going to categorise the blog into several wedding related categories to help brides and grooms and guests plan for the day, and even have fun with general thought-provoking topics.

    I have set up Google alerts for several of my proposed topics and that has helped me learn even more about my industry.

    Just added a wedding day blog page where newly weds can read messages left by guests after their wedding – from their honeymoon if they like.

    The world really is your own personal oyster with a blog, and I am just looking forward to finding more and more pearls.

    Keep up the EXCELLENT (not just good) work by the way Darren: INSPIRATIONAL!

  35. thank you for great insight

    I got started blogging on vox, it was very easy, and allowed my mind to play and have fun, and after about 8 months realized that I needed more. It wasn’t the right format for me to share all of the things that went along with our adventures.

    we are currently developing our wordpress blog, and I had no idea how much fun that could be! wow! and now as it turns out, with the new upgrades of wordpress, we are able to integrate our website, our blog, and connect our online community all into one! Thank goodness we just switched over, or we could never be accomplishing what we are doing. ;)

    (hopefully launches within a week or so, keeping our fingers crossed) we learn everything as we go, shone and I, have learned coding, web designing, graphic designing, and photography, blogging, all by just the desire to do so. We are in our fourth year of planning and have been live for 14 months.

    anything is possible when you have the passion and desire, writing also helps me share my love and hopefully re-lite some others passions who are fading out. I believe!

    I write because I love to connect with people. I love to share my perspectives, and get others input. I love to learn, and I love to share things with others, inspirations, health, and anything else in life I am curious about.

    Our website is for those 18 and over, so I am free to share my silly little brain, and the pictures that we take.

    We take a lot of pictures for our website, which is another reason I blog:

    to help navigate our ship through the internet, promoting my favorite artist ever, the love of my life!.

    To share our adventures, and to find others who want to join, either as a member (subscriber), or as a participant( in pictures).

    We walk in many different worlds, and our hope is to connect many different earthlings, to share inspiration, collaboration, and fade away the judgements when others are different.

    We share our love for the planet, and animals, in a non pushy, celebrated manner. It is one of the underlying fuels for our worldy navigations. Writing makes it so easy to connect with others who have similiar interests. Our new blog is not even up yet, and I already have comments and a wonderful new collaboration. I love that!

    We promote artists! of all kinds, and are so honored to collaborate with the majority of other artists we meet. So much can be done on the internet, so many introductions, connections, and love!

    we love every second of everyday that we live! and we share it all, our adventures, explorations, festivals, sexual adventures, self expressing adventures, life is here to be lived!

    thank goodness for blogging! the greatest way to share and get all of the benefits, just cause: internet trafficking, google searching, etc., and learning more everyday

    wishing you all a magical day

  36. I write because I have something to say. At some point in my early career, following graduate school in American Studies and as a writer for an alternative weekly, I realized that I was developing my own perspective and convictions. In discovering new places about which to write (in my case, New York), I enjoy conveying a sense of being there, in the fullest meaning possible.

  37. I write because I have always written. I have diaries from when I was 7 years old! I have a constant inner voice that narrates everything and generally chatters so if I don’t give it something to talk about it’ll drive me nuts!

    Of course writing is self-expression, creativity is at the heart of me. I have a need to express what’s inside through writing and music and more recently art too.

    With In Love With Lisbon it’s about sharing my love of the place as well as providing practical information. My other site (This Dreaming Heart) is a creative and spiritual journey that anyone can peer into. The best that can happen is that something I have said or created touches someone and evokes a response or recognition. Essentially I guess for me it’s all about making a connection…

  38. I write because I want to share what I love. It has even paid off in the sense that I am becoming better at what I love (rally racing) because I’ve written How-To articles related to it. Although my audience isnt vocal just the thought that I am trying to teach someone something makes me want to get that much better at it.

    Writing has even provided me with a form of entertainment and reasons to go out and do things that I wanted to do anyway (just so i could write about it).

  39. I hate spam so much that I developed a system to not use email filters and not receive a single spam.


    I found only one problem with my strategy and is that Gmail apparently has a limit on the number of different emails you can refer in one account, but anyway, the email could be forwarded to any other account, but in this case, the headers should be rewrited to answer with the original sender address, because Outlook Express only use real email addresses to send email, not forwarders.

    But this is a solution to the spam problem once and for all, without filtering email and not receiving even 1 spam message, and it only takes a little work to add your contacts.

  40. Aside from just the fun of making a point or position on a subject of the day, usually political in nature, writing about issues important to me does a couple other things for me. I am challenged to make the point with as few words as possible, and it serves as a pressure release valve. A blood pressure release valve.

  41. RMiklos says: 04/14/2008 at 6:32 am

    I think writing is a great possibility to find and to get to know many interesting people.One advantage is that I can share my problems or my happiness.What is more,you may have a lot of theory.Writing is one of the best thing in the history and the net give me a good chance to use it better.

  42. Great post !

    I started writing to make money, my first blog (long since gone) was a parody news site and I made quite good money from it, but I got burned out a bit and abandoned the site (boy was that a mistake!) At the moment I write to try and motivate myself, rather unsuccessfully at the moment….

  43. I think most of us write because we want to. Otherwise it won’t be blogging, it would be ‘work in our job’ :-)

    Personally, I work in the telecoms industry and you need to be up to date with news, technologies and trends, and that motivates me to write about it: technology, Web 2.0, Semantic Web, etc.

    I also write because, I used to dream about being a writer (as a kid), so this is my closest approach to that.

  44. I’ll be practical.

    It’s true that I write because I want to. It makes me improve my writing abilities, my competence in other fields of writing and the like. But when I speak of blogging, I want to learn more about making money through it. After all, it’s a decent thing though–making money through my hobbies is quite interesting. However, I still have to learn the tips and tricks on effective blogging since I am still a beginner in the field.

  45. First off all, I think its deeply embedded in all Bloggers, that writing is Gooooood !!!

    At least thats what drowe me to start blogging…
    The personal branding is evident, since I’m using my familyname (www.soderblom.dk), but that also calls for maintaining a certain amount of quality (hmmm… Objectivly… ;-) ???).
    But I honestly believe that I have something worth sharing !
    It’s a variety off material like running and training advices (I’m a certified physical trainer), my travelling logs, stuff thats primarily off interest to the closest family, and so on…
    I wrote a lot about the birth of my youngest son Silas, and though it’s very personal and family related I’ve had many hits and positive comment to it, from couples about to give birth them self.

    The majority of my blog is filled up with my Running Diary and honestly, it’s not that interesting to anyone else.
    But keeping it out there in the bloggosphere helps keep the motivation.
    And I always write about the races I’m in. The atmosphere, the track, the people, the event and so on. And that might inspire someone else to take up running… (?)

    Making money ?
    There are less off us old vikings, than there is people in NY !!!
    (Personal Military service in Croatia, Bosnia, Irak, Namibia, Afghanistan (My son just came home from Kosovo and is about to leave for Afghanistan) (A Viking tradition !))
    So writing in Danish, as I do, leaves me only with a limited amount off people that can actually read what I write…
    And therefore the monymaking is not that great, but it pays for the hosting, though.

    I’m also using my blog to advertise my experiences with Linux (before: SuSE. now: Ubuntu) and then I love tweaking with the PHP on my WordPress installation.

    I think I’ve covered why I Blog :-)


  46. These are all good reasons,
    but some cannot help but write.

  47. hermonsyah says: 08/15/2008 at 6:24 pm

    i start blogging after “write-delete” phase… firstly, i was not comfort opening my-self for others people because of afraid to be judged. But then i feel to be healed when i write and write. I think blogging is helpfull for unlimited people in the world, eventough it is helfull for my self now. Its such a good thing i’ve ever know