What’s Your Motive For Writing?
Aaron Hall

Writing is very much a paradox. At the same time you need to write for yourself, and yourself only, while writing for everyone. You need to be selfish (to get paid) and selfless (to enjoy it).

I think, and I just wrote a response about it on another article, that “originality” is a dangerous proposition, because people think they’re unique because of their ideas. And that’s simply not true. They’re unique because of their voice.

That voice can be found in writing, but rarely at first attempt. And I think the journey to find it involves in equal measure adapting to our own desires and character, and what pays the bills. Writers are artists, but they’re making useful art. People shouldn’t close off because they’re artists — they should listen to their audience and learn what they want to read.

If we, or rather: our work, isn’t useful to readers, we won’t be read. And that may feel like writing unsuccessfully. (And in a way it is.) But usefulness and catering to our audience isn’t a bad thing, and it isn’t mutually exclusive with being ourselves and writing for ourselves. Originality is in our voices, not in our subject matter.

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