Why write?

It’s not difficult to write. It’s not even that hard to write well. The hard part is thinking clearly enough to have something worth writing about.

I have two employees who I pay to write for me (among other tasks). One works for PlantPop as a producer. She writes articles and will (maybe) write a blog with her insights on her life and job. The other is writing for a project (a book?) we have titled “Power Plants.” In the past few days, I’ve had to speak to both about letting me down because they aren’t getting the writing done.

I sympathize. I employ them because I don’t want to do the work myself. But one of my core beliefs is this: any problem an employee has is a problem I share. So it begs the question, why don’t we get the writing done? Which leads me to the real question, “Why write in the first place?” Here are my answers:

  1. You love it. You really enjoy the process. It’s fun. (Not at all true for me. Writing is painful.)
  2. You get paid to do it. (Also not true for me, but true for my employees.)
  3. You have something important to say to the world. You feel a strong calling to speak out. (Sort of. Not really.)
  4. You have an audience that wants to hear from you. People care to read your work. (Nope.)
  5. You don’t know something you’d like to know and you can’t find the answer you’re looking for. Writing is the path to discovery. (That’s the only reason I write, I think.)

Let’s assume a writer needs to have three of the five reasons be true in order to write productively and consistently…without a great deal of effort or external pressure or self-motivation schemes.

It’s not difficult to write. Anybody can do it. But it’s extremely hard to habitually–day after day–write anything worth reading.

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