Why we write

Why we writeWhy are you writing? Next week is Peer Review Week which makes this a great time to discuss what may seem like a simple question. Perhaps all peer review (or all writing endeavors) should start with Why.

To fully understand what drives your effort as a writer, ask yourself why you are embarking on writing that article, textbook, monograph, etc. Here are some reasons that I have heard in the past.

I write because:

  • It is a requirement for tenure.
  • It is necessary for career advancement.
  • I want recognition in my field.
  • Someone asked me to co-author with them.
  • I want to help/mentor a friend/new colleague with their work.
  • Someone assigned me to this project, and I couldn’t say no.
  • I want to disseminate my work/ideas/results/theory to my community.
  • I have great new results that will change my field of study.
  • I want to be part of the intellectual discourse in my field.
  • I want to earn royalties from my writing to supplement my salary.
  • I love writing.

Look at how varied these reasons are. And this list barely scratches the surface of the reasons why people write. Add ones that you have heard in the comment section at the end of this blog post.

Being aware of your motivation can help guide your efforts regarding how much time to devote to writing in your day, how much effort you want to put into it, which venues to choose for publication, or many other factors in your publishing journey.

I love the book Start with Why by Simon Sinek. While his book addresses leadership style and workplace motivation, much of what he discusses can apply to your writing.

So, before you embark on your next project, for your own benefit, ask Why You Write.


John BondJohn Bond is a publishing consultant at Riverwinds Consulting. He works with individuals on publishing and writing projects. Schedule an initial complimentary phone call at Publishing Fundamentals. In his career, he has directed the publishing of over 500 book titles and 20,000 journal articles. He is the host of the YouTube channel “Publishing Defined.”Contact him at jbond@riverwindsconsulting.com.