A few months ago, I wrote a post about “why I write” which I concluded may change as I go through my days, and that’s exciting to me. Reflection, self-awareness, and self-love is something I’m really trying to work on this year. I’d suggest that all of us could benefit from constantly working to improve this aspect of our lives, this listening to ourselves. Especially writers and creative minds – who are not always inside our own brains or bodies at any given moment, but may be inhabiting characters, dreamscapes, rhythms, trances of flow, colors, etc—we’re always confronting reality through a complex lens that wavers unfailingly between hyper-connection and ultra-detachment.
I created this brief writing prompt for the students at the Fuente Collective Youth Studio, but I hope that you are able to take what you need from it. (This is geared toward the writing field, but feel free to bend and shape it in any direction you need it to go):
Writing Prompt: Why We Write
It can be very exciting to talk about all the ways we can get published, but it’s also important to know WHY we want to get published. And this answer can be different for each person. What do you want to get out of your writing experience? It’s easy to look at JK Rowling, and think wow, her life seems pretty great, right? But not everyone WANTS to be JK Rowling and that’s okay!
This exercise invites you to reflect on why you write now, and to project into the future of your career as a writer. Spend a few moments, or however long you would like, thinking through these four questions below, jotting down notes. Remember you can come back to these questions at any time. Keep them with you. Return to them often.
I write because…
(A few prompts in case you get stuck: Why do you write? What draws you to creating stories and putting them on paper? Do you love characters? Do you love how delicious certain words sound in your ears? How does writing help you think and process your life and the lives of others? What does it mean for you to be writing “in the zone”? Do you remember the person or experience that first got you interested in writing?)
In the future, I see myself….
(A few prompts in case you get stuck: What does your writing life look like in the future? Would you like to publish a book? Do you want to get paid to read other people’s books and write reviews? Do you want to give readings and do public tours? Do you see yourself as a private writer who doesn’t want to be famous, but just wants to share work with people? Do you want to make your work free and accessible? Do you see yourself as an editor of a magazine? A teacher? A writer, although writing won’t be your day job? Anything is okay. This is your chance to dream.)
My audience is…
(A few prompts in case you get stuck: Who are you speaking to through your writing? Who do you want to connect with? Who do you envision reading your work? Are they people in your hometown? People with an interest in sports, in food, in animals? Do you want to teach your audience something they don’t know, or share a new perspective? Is your work for people older or younger than you; is your work ageless?)
I’m interested in writing about…
(A few prompts in case you get stuck: What are the topics, themes, ideas, places, people, cultures, subjects that make your writing uniquely yours? Write a list of nouns. A block of text. A word scramble, map, or tree, perhaps. Just write what comes to mind. What are you obsessed with? What are you curious about? What do you not understand but want to try? What are you afraid of? What brings you joy?)
This is a community space – so please feel free to share your answers and comments below! I’d love to see the diversity in thoughts, in why we write, in what we want to do with our writing, in what we want to write about. Perhaps I’ll even share my own answers, too!