Do Writers Write To Be Read Or Do Writers Write For The Sake Of Writing?

For many writers, the goal is to become a professional writer in whatever genre or format they write in. But the reality is, that for every writer who has that successful career, there are many for whom writing is a side project or an unfulfilled dream.

In the new movie The Wife, (based on the book of the same name by Meg Wolitzer), Joan Castleman (Annie Starke) is an undergrad in the late 1950’s. Her professional goal is to become a writer. When she meets Elaine Mozell (Elizabeth McGovern) at an alumni event, they have a discussion about being a writer and writing. Elaine has been published, but her book only resides in the alumni library. Joan insists that writers write for the sake of writing. Elaine responds that writers write to be read.

The conversation begins at 1:16.

From my perspective, both arguments are valid. Sometimes, you write for the sake of it. You write just to get it down, regardless of quality. But, at the same time, the goal for all writers is to see their name in print, whether that is on a byline or under the title of a book.

Charlotte Bronte once said the following:

 “I’m just going to write because I cannot help it”

I’m a firm believer in that whether we write to be published or write for sake of writing, it is the act of writing that matters.

Readers, what do you think? Do you write to be published or do you write just for the sake of writing? I would love to know your thoughts.

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