KNOWHOW To keep writing II

In our series on finding ways to keep on with our writing, KnowHow Editor, Eleanor Pender takes things back to the beginning.

Why do you write? 

Maybe enough to have started writing, maybe you've finished a novel, even pitched to agents. You've joined SCBWI (great choice, by the way) and have found your way here to Words & Pictures.

But really, why do you write?

Asking yourself this question can be a task, a check-in, a point of reference. Maybe the question strikes you as a little odd, maybe it feels easy. However it feels, it may help you discover, and rediscover, why you started writing in the first place. Knowing where the why lies is something you can come back to whenever you need it. Write it in a notebook or save it on your computer. Then, whenever you need to, you can return to it, to remind yourself of what you said when asked, why do I write? 

Let’s take it a little further. 

Who is your writing for? 

Imagining who you are writing for can really add fuel to the fire. It can be what gets you up early in the morning when it's dark outside and everyone else in the house is asleep. It’s just you, your steaming mug of tea, tapping away on your keyboard, writing in your notebook, scribbling edits in the margins. And across from you sits your imagined reader curled up on the armchair, your book cradled in their arms. 

What do you hope your writing does? 

Have you thought about what your writing might do? How it might affect the reader or impact on people’s lives? This may feel a little self-indulgent but think about the books you've read over the years. Which ones have stayed with you? Why do you still think about them? What was it about those books that meant they resonated with you? 

Now, switch places. Instead of someone else’s book in a reader’s hands, it’s yours. What do you hope your writing does to them? Just imagining this can encourage you further on your writing journey. 

Why do you want to be considered a writer? 

There is a reason you are here, reading this article. There is a reason why you have been working away for as long as you have, refining your skills as a writer. Maybe you’ve been published, maybe you’re yet to get your break, but wrapped up in the heart of it all is the need to be a writer, and maybe for others to see you as a writer. You might not have considered it from this perspective before, but it can help to think about how you want others to see your work and you as the creator. 

Why are you writing for children? 

Whether you’re writing a picture book, a middle grade or a YA novel, somewhere along the way, you made the choice to write for a certain age group, and to write for a younger audience. Why was this? Do you know when you made the decision to do this? Somewhere along the way, you made this choice and it can help focus and refocus your attentions to consider why. 

Are you drawn to a particular genre? Why? 

There is a whole host of genres to choose from, and within this, there was a reason you chose yours. Do you know why you are drawn to it? This may link in with the question above, it may remind you of the writers who helped you connect with reading yourself. But if your faith and determination in what you are writing waivers, thinking about what drew you to your story, to your characters, can remind you of where you started and how far you’ve come. 

Keep on writing, dear writer.         

Main image by Jim Wilson

Do you have any suggestions for KnowHow? If there's something you'd like to know how to do or know more about, tell us. Email KnowHow editor, Eleanor at

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