I’m not a great writer. After three years of consistently writing on this blog and other platforms, I’ve graduated from being a terrible writer to an OK writer based on the fact that some of you read my blog posts and comment on them and send me follow-up emails on occasion.
But this writer’s journey has been odd, weird, awkward, challenging, rewarding, and downright frustrating.
The question, however, that I often find myself asking is this:
Why do I even write?
When I started this blog, the goal was simple—create a side income stream.
Three years later, I’m doing more than that. I’m no millionaire, but I’m making enough where the earning from this side-blogging hustle has now surpassed my earning when I had a full-time job or when I freelanced full-time. In fact, I’ve now transitioned into being a full-time graduate student again, all thanks to this blog + associated gigs like selling Canva templates, online courses, etc.
So, the answer to why I write is simple. It is to make money so I can pay rent and bills.
I know what some of you’re thinking.
What about helping people?
Of course, the goal of writing or any kind of work is to somehow be helpful to others; that’s the only way to make money after all. If what you create doesn’t help others, they don’t buy from you, and you don’t make money. So let’s take the hypocrisy out of the equation, shall we? We’re all in this because we have something to gain. And we help others because that’s the way to help ourselves. Anybody who tells you otherwise is a phony.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like we don’t do things other than for the sole purpose of making money. We do. In fact, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs explains this phenomenon perfectly well. Once our basic needs are met (food, water, rest, safety, security), we move onto things like fame, accomplishments, hobbies, etc.
But truth be told, my writing has gone beyond this blog, and I’m often at a loss for the basis for this.
For example, I’ve been writing non-stop near garbage on Medium for the past two months, and I have no idea why.
Is it for the money? — that sounds great, but 1) I don’t make enough money on Medium to justify writing there 2) I don’t need the money. I’d likely make more if I use that time to make new Canva templates and publish more blog posts here…
Is it fame? — as an introvert and a private person, that’s the one thing I know I do not need nor want.
Do I just enjoy writing? — hmm… that’s hard to say. Now, how you define enjoyment varies from person to person, of course. Going to college for engineering was beyond frustrating for me, but yes, I did enjoy it, or at least, I enjoyed it when my hard work paid off, I was able to solve a difficult problem, etc. That makes me wonder; perhaps I enjoy being frustrated? Now that’s interesting, isn’t it? That goes beyond masochism; that’s just crazy. But somehow, writing feels a lot like engineering to me. There’s no denying that. Maybe that’s why I could never give up on either?
Because really, if it’s money we’re talking about, then writing on this blog alone would have been sufficient. This blog is the money-maker, after all. But the fact that I keep writing on Medium and other platforms must be because, per Maslow’s chart, writing satisfies some other type of need in me. If it’s not money or fame, then it must be some form of self-actualization.
Honestly, I still don’t have an answer to this question. But I continue to write, hoping that the answer will present itself one of these days.
All I can do now is hope that on my deathbed, I do not look back at the hours I spent stringing words together to form sentences and paragraphs and think what a waste it all had been.