Digging Deep for Your “Why”

Quote on letterboard Remember why you started

If you haven’t done this yet, I’d like to encourage you to spend some time today thinking about your “why” for living the writer’s life.

Specifically, why is living the writer’s life so important to you at this point in your life? What’s your motivation? What’s your inspiration? And, how is your writer’s life going to change not only your life, but the lives of the people you care about most?

Recognizing and acknowledging your “why” will inspire you to get out of bed early to start writing, or to squeeze in that late-night hour of writing after your day job …

It will be your “guiding star” that will keep you going even after a rough day.

It will help you own your personal definition of success.

So … Do you know what your “why” is?

If so, I’d like you to write it down or say it out loud right now.

(If not, meet me back here after you do … 🙂)

So now that you’ve said it out loud …

I want to challenge you to take it one step further, and dig even deeper …

There Is No “Why” Without a “Because”

When I ask writers about their “why,” I get lots of great answers.

I want to make more money …

I want to finally quit my day job …

I want to keep my mind active …

I want to have more time for my kids …

I’ve always dreamed of being a writer and want to finally make it happen …

Those are all great goals, but are really what I’d call first-level or “surface-level” responses.

Let’s go deeper!

I want you to take some time, find somewhere quiet, and really dig into what’s at the heart of your Level 1 “why.”

And one way to do that is to add a “because …” at the end of your “why” statement.

This is my “why” because _______.

I want to make more money because I want to be a happier person WITHOUT the stress and anxiety every month of trying to make ends meet.

I want to finally quit my day job because I want to be the parent who makes it to every soccer game and dance recital so my child always feels loved and supported, and to do that I need to have the flexibility of making my own schedule.

See what I mean?

And you might even want to do this “because” process several times, getting deeper and more specific each round.

Your goal is to figure out what’s really at the root of your “why.”

Is it because you want your children to have security you didn’t have? Is it because you want them to have a memory of you that will last them years and years?

The more specific your “why” is, the more solid it is.

It will become a touchstone for you — your core value — that will keep you positive and motivated throughout your journey as a writer.

And once you’ve got it … once you’ve dug deep into the specific and personal reasons behind your “why” … write it down.

So You Always Know Where to Find Your Guiding Star

Write your “why” in your favorite journal, or on an index card or whiteboard … or take a picture of the “something” in your life that’s a core part of your “why” …

And then put it somewhere visible. Give yourself the gift of having this as your daily reminder of WHY you’re pursuing the writer’s life …

THIS is why I’m going to wake up early tomorrow to work on the next chapter of my writing training.

THIS is why I’m going to set up my writer’s website today.

THIS is why I’m going to finish this writing project and turn it in ahead of the deadline.

And whenever you find yourself doubtful or anxious about some unexpected turn in your writer’s journey, just remember to go back to your “why” and you’ll never lose your way.

Are you ready to nail down your reason “why” to embrace the writer’s life? Share with us in the comments.

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Published: September 10, 2020

15 Responses to “Digging Deep for Your “Why””

  1. I am a member of AWAI. This has been one of the most interesting, informative and eventful months of my life. I had my ah-ha moment about two weeks ago. It was the culmination of everything that has happened my entire adult life. I want my writer's life. I want the freedom that this life can provide me with. For my family, myself and most of all for Noah Wyatt, my grandson.

    I want the time, money and freedom to be able to give him the fun things. And the opportunities.

    I know that copywriting is a doorway to opportunity. I stepped through and I am reaching out with both hands for this excellent opportunity. You can too!

    Guest (Rain Hovis)

  2. I love the Guiding Star idea. That really drives it all home!

    Carol Hillegas

  3. I've found thay Y. R. stands for Yeah Right to Romans 11:32 which says "For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all." and challange other religions, that they can start in such a way. Then Y-Yeah R-ouR Right to see things in different ways and I form the letters with my hand up for Y, then forming the R using your right hand in front you nose and the left hand cupping to it to form the R with your left eye looking out. Y eye write with a W. When too much write it down.

    Guest (Elijah)

  4. Aloha Katie. Here are my "Why? Because, etc." answers. First, I want to stop worrying about money & the uncertainty of our present & future economy. Next because I have many untapped talents that I'd like to mine. Previously, they were often not compensated well. Further, being an AWAI member would enable me to bless my family more abundantly. Because my mother is nearing 90 & has been widowed twice, she deserves a much better hand than she's been dealt in life. Formerly, I was a professional musician. Presently, I continue as an amateur, but living the writer's life, I could turn pro again. I'd regain control over my career & income. Finally, until 2019 I hadn't been overseas in over 30 years. I'd travel more often & widely. Mahalo.


  5. Thank you Katie for your very inspirational post.I still have to find my Why but now you have shown me how to.Posts like yours are a real inspiration as in life its so easy to become sidetracked.That I will do it tomorrow,later on,I am too busy now etc.You need a solid guiding star you can look up to for inspiration when you are dow


  6. I want to live the Writer's Life because I have ALWAYS said I wanted to be a writer, and make a living from it. I have instead always found reasons to shortchange myself and not stay focused on my dream.
    I am tired of that and want to show my children that we can switch gears and do what we believe in. I want to provide for them and show them new places, while being able to "work" from anywhere. I want my family to really live, without the uncertainty of financial insecurity.

    Guest (Steven)

  7. Your question was why do I want to write? Because this book is still almost done with writing and editing ten years, all 86,456 words worth. A large portion of that time was and is spent editing and re-editing. At 67 the hope is it will be finished before the book is closed on me. The grandkids will then have a point of reference when they wonder why they have off-the-wall thoughts. I still find it amusing after countless edits and rewrites.
    In essence, it may just be a gift from above to help me pass my time complacently.

    Guest (Jay)

  8. To create something that says one thing but means the world to countless people, that’s what keeps me writing. Becoming the craziest; the most influential reasons people changed or look at the world differently, becoming a hero, being the inspiration someone needed, Saving the life no one else understands, that’s what I strive for. I want to be that emotion someone finally understands, I want to be that quote they still live by, I want to be a voice for the silenced, that’s what I want my legacy to be. It’s not about the greatest lines you will write it’s about writing the greatest story someone read again.

    Guest (Victor Aguilar)

  9. I started writing my thought about 11 years ago. I was going through a divorce at the time. I then downloaded the app called pages and started writing my thoughts in there. There were many “thoughts,” I was also beginning to teach fitness. One day my best friend grabbed my phone away from me while asking, who are you always texting? She looked up at me and asked may I? I said go ahead. They aren’t texts they’re just thoughts I have.
    She read for awhile….then said OMG! These are poems! You need to publish these. I have since published two books of poetry, and now my memoirs. I have no idea how to sell them. I also realized I was an artist.

    Guest (Deborah E Gray)

  10. Writing began as a way to keep myself busy so I wouldn’t cry… all the time. I was terribly hurt. It was a sort of therapy while I tried to navigate my broken life. It is still my go to, to calm my mind. I have a huge book of un-publish poetry I still add to in my pages app. But now I need the money. I would like to turn writing into freedom… if I can.

    Guest (Deborah E Gray)

  11. Writing began as a way to calm my mind, keep me grounded through bad times, now my why is to make money. I need financial freedom. I’m on my own for the first time in my life.

    Guest (Deborah E Gray)

  12. For all of the reasons listed but, I want to become a copywriter because it sounds too good to be true! They say if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is! I want to prove there is something out there that sounds too good to be true, but IS! I want to write! I want to prove to my children there is something out there that is real! (And, this is something they might want to do as well, especially my daughter-in-law!)

    Thanks so much for this opportunity and I would love to give it a try!

    Guest (Brenda Fox)

  13. I've just retired and finally able to spend more time writing for myself instead of constantly proofing and editing student writing. As a teacher, I taught and supported others, and I'd like to continue doing that through part time writing. I've also been a reporter so understand the need for clarity, facts and excellent grammar. As the digital market continues to expand, I'm fascinated by the abundance of writing opportunities and would welcome the additional income to supplement my retirement.


  14. I want to use the writing talent God has given me to help myself, my family, and others.

    Guest (Laura S)

  15. I have embarked on my journey to become a well-paid writer because I will no longer need to struggle in debt, I will be building my own business and not someone else’s, my sweetheart and I will have the flexibility to travel and enjoy our lives together, also, we will be able to enjoy security for ourselves we thought was out of our reach. We will be able to trade our rusted out truck for something more reliable one day. No more being stranded miles away from civilization.

    Guest (Laura Brenay)

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