Earlier today, I happened upon these striking words from Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk’s 2006 Nobel Prize acceptance speech:
“The question we writers are asked most often, the favorite question, is, ‘Why do you write?’ I write because I have an innate need to write! I write because I can’t do normal work like other people. I write because I want to read books like the ones I write. I write because I am angry at all of you, angry at everyone. I write because I love sitting in a room all day writing. I write because I can only partake in real life by changing it. I write because I want others, all of us, the whole world, to know what sort of life we lived, and continue to live, in Istanbul, in Turkey. I write because I love the smell of paper, pen, and ink. I write because I believe in literature, in the art of the novel, more than I believe in anything else. I write because it is a habit, a passion. I write because I am afraid of being forgotten. I write because I like the glory and interest that writing brings. I write to be alone. Perhaps I write because I hope to understand why I am so very, very angry at all of you, so very, very angry at everyone. I write because I like to be read. I write because once I have begun a novel, an essay, a page, I want to finish it. I write because everyone expects me to write. I write because I have a belief in the immortality of libraries, and in the way my books sit on the shelf. I write because it is exciting to turn all of life’s beauties and riches into words. I write not to tell a story, but to compose a story. I write because I wish to escape from the foreboding that there is a place I must go but—just as in a dream—I can’t quite get there. I write because I have never managed to be happy. I write to be happy.”
Why do you write? What drives you to keep doing this strange and wonderful thing we do? Share your reason in the Comments section below, and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a copy of the newest issue of Writer’s Digest, plus a few books from our swag stack.
Update! We dipped a hand into the random WD drawing hat, and came up with Kelsiieo’s name. Kelsiieo, we’ll be contacting you in a moment. Thanks so much to everyone for sharing your thoughts on the craft. They were truly a pleasure to read.
—Zachary Petit is an award-winning journalist, and the managing editor of Writer’s Digest magazine.
PLUS! Are you going to take part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this November? Make sure you’ve got everything you need to succeed! Check out our special NaNoWriMo care package.