Your Purpose as a Writer

Think back to your early days as a writer.

If your early days were as a child, your answer will be different from that of an adult. So, if you started as a child, consider your answer when you first began writing, and then consider a second answer of why you wanted to continue writing as an adult.

I can’t say I had a set-the-world-on-fire purpose or even one that served others as I began writing when I was 19, and then would pursue the craft more enthusiastically at 25.

My first intent was to make money.

My second intent was to get my name in print.

Once I started writing romances, my intent was to become rich and famous like so many other romance writers. I thought of romances as the easiest of genres to write being such a fan, reading one a day. In truth, I’ve discovered of all the writing I’ve done in multiple genres, the romance genre is the hardest of them all.

As I wrote those novels—that received rejections—I was writing inspirational and how-to magazines articles that were selling. I found satisfaction in helping others. The more acceptances I received, which included a weekly newspaper column and then a magazine column, I realized I could help other writers.

My third intent became to help other writers.

With that intent and with the traditional publication of three romances, I got to help other writers by teaching writing craft classes both online and in-seat at a local community college. I started writing screenplays, finding a great love for that genre.

Then, a life-changing event had me reconsidering my writing, which up until that time had been part-time, coming secondary after every day job I’d ever worked and every other responsibility of family and home.

What if I could change that scenario and make my day job part of my purpose? To help other writers?

That’s exactly what I did. After going back to school as a non-traditional (meaning older) student, I became an English Professor, the dream of all dreams. I had managed to combine my purposes. I was teaching the craft of writing by day and writing by night.

And, that scenario continues today as a full-time writer having published the first of my how-to series of books, Finding Your Fire & Keeping It Hot, which is also the basis for the class I’m teaching August 1-12, 2022, Bringing Abundance Into Your Life.

Did you notice how my purpose changed over the years? How long it took me to find my true purpose?

Not everyone struggles the same way I did. I know some writers who found their purpose and their writing niche quickly.

I know one writer who found her genre niche but needed to rebrand herself to find her audience and market.

I know another highly successful romance writer who is changing subgenres, staying in romance but moving from contemporary to historical.

I know several successful romance writers who moved to paranormal, mysteries, or suspense, leaving romance behind altogether.

While I believe a lot of writers start writing with the idea of making lots of money, and starting with a popular genre—after all romances are half of all paperbacks sold—I believe, too, that they find their heartfelt purpose is to entertain. Well, and to earn a living from their writing.

How about you?

What is your purpose for writing?

To entertain? To become a best-selling author? To write a memoir so that you can leave a legacy for your family? To become famous? To win awards?

By the way, I have a new added purpose: To win an Oscar for Original Screenplay and to purchase a huge house that I can staff and run as a Writing Retreat Center where I can continue to help writers in another way.

Dream big or go home, right?


About Diana Stout

Screenwriter, author, former English professor
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2 Responses to Your Purpose as a Writer

  1. Lucy says:

    A Writing Retreat Center–what a great idea! If only one of us had won the Michigan Lottery last week. Well, who knows, it could still happen. :).

    Liked by 1 person

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