The Best Writing Tip: Remember Why You Write

present moment for a writer


I have a confession to make: no one told me this. No one sat me down, looked me in the eyes and said, ‘Liz, remember why you’re doing this.’

But I say it. I tell myself – repeatedly – because, at this point in my journey, it’s the distillation of every helpful lesson I’ve encountered.

And I’m passing it on because who doesn’t need encouragement?

Creativity takes us deep into the wildlands. The boundaries stretch and blur, and when I’m disorientated by unfamiliar landscapes, I remember: I write for an audience.

I do. Can I say that? It feels a little sordid – tainted by ego perhaps. Or too mercenary. Some argue that art-making should be its own satisfaction, and I agree up to a point.

But communication is what I long for.

I don’t want my words to languish in the cloud – never connecting to someone else’s reality. We don’t know each other, but the bridge of artistry can bring us together in a shared moment. I marvel at that.

So, I write for you.

I’m learning to accept that there are things I can’t control. There’s no guarantee that you’ll discover my work. There’s also a possibility that you won’t like it, even if you do choose to engage. Just as overwhelming: you might love it.

All of that is beyond me.

But I know that asking for your attention is a serious request.

So, I work at the things I can control: my responsibilities. I’m learning the craft. I’m mindful of your experience. I took two years to rewrite the entirety of my first novel, All the Truths Between Us, because (through manuscript assessment) I came to realise that the original draft was lacking in pace and structure.

Time is life; I aim to respect yours.

I owe you that.

But, also …

I write for myself.

I don’t owe you the fulfilment of all your expectations and projections. Can any of us entirely live up to each other’s standards?

Anything I create is primarily an exercise in meeting my own needs. Is that selfish? I don’t know. But it is sanity. It is the truth that keeps me anchored when the agent rejections pile up in my inbox and the judges’ comments sting and the Instagram followers leave.

Currently, I am the author and publisher and marketing manager and chief cheerleader of my creative efforts. I am the inventor and architect of the spaces I need to inhabit. Why? Because, at a basic level, I believe in what I’m doing.

It has value for me.

If I don’t write, I deny myself something fundamental. I die a little – slowly but surely.

And I want to live. Don’t you?

We are here.

This transitory moment is ours to lend a voice to. That matters. Maybe you know this about your own work. Or maybe you’d like to, but it’s hard to keep the affirmation front and centre.

Writing is not easy.

The scope for rampant insecurity is unending. Which milestone will allow you to truly believe in yourself? How much success is enough? These are games I’m weaning myself off.

I remember why I write.

My writing is a spiritual offering: a garbled acknowledgement of my intrinsic identity, a messy response to my Creator’s vision of who I already am.

Yes, I write for you. And for me.

But, essentially, I write for God: an eternal thank-you letter – an expression of gratitude for this fierce and brittle life.

And for the free gift of words to explore it.

About the Author

Liz Amos is Black British of Jamaican heritage and writes stories about people who carry multiple labels. A former lawyer, her debut novel All the Truths Between Us was longlisted for the SI Leeds Literary Prize 2022 and self-published in June 2023. Often found curled up on the sofa under piles of blankets, she loves deep chats with kind people. You’re welcome to say hello on Instagram (@liz.amos_writes), on Goodreads or via her website.

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