Not every writer shares the same motivations.
I make a distinction between writers and storytellers. Artificial, maybe, but useful when it comes to examining what possesses us to create something we wish to share with others. The two camps overlap, of course, and the same writer might find themselves bobbing from one to the other for different projects or when they’ve reached a new stage in their career. But it’s my contention that the fundamental reason for putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) can be either a desire to entertain and enchant a reader with a world they have created (a storyteller by nature), or to have that world come to life via a focus on the words & music of language. Neither is right or wrong, and one is not better than the other. Simply a different slant on the same thing.
There will be some of you who feel it is pretentious to class their writing of stories and novels as art. Others will be reluctant to see their work in any other way. It doesn’t matter, just find what motives you and keep striving to be the best you can possibly be.
Those of you who seek inspiration in the practical might feel at home with my crash course in creative writing (if you don’t want to go there straightaway, it is located in the Creative Writing category of this website). Composed of mini-tutorials on aspects of the craft such as plot, character creation, narrative & voice, dialogue etc it is a product of my wealth of experience teaching creative writing and storytelling for over 10 years.
But if it’s artistic inspiration you’re after, see what you can derive from these writers at the top of their craft. Some may speak immediately to you, some you may find too esoteric. I suggest you take what you want and leave the rest. As I said, not all writers share the same motivations.
Writing secrets. Number 3: the writer as artist.
Some wisdom to take to heart from the lovely Alan Bennett:
P.D. James certainly knew what she was talking about:
Jane Smiley’s astute observation can be extended to include any writing which nourishes the soul:
Quote attributed to Bette Davis (from book ‘Dark Victory’)
You can find some more wise words and inspiration here: