Writing for Answers: Don't be Afraid to Ask Questions

3:00 AM Gemma Fitz 4 Comments

(So, as a warning, this post is going to be really short and kind of cheesy. And it's more of a writing pep talk than advice. So I hope you don't mind that.)

Everywhere I go, I hear the questions, "Why do you write?" and, "Where do you get your ideas?" Because I've been writing since before I can remember, and every idea seems to have a slightly different origin story, my answers are pretty vague. I write for answers. I get ideas from questions.
I find out things by writing. Sometimes it feels like the paper is thinking for me. Possibly it's because I'm an extrovert and process things outwardly. Maybe it's because I'm too dumb to understand my own brain until it's on paper. I don't know. Somehow, writing helps me discover.

But the thing is, you can't get answers if you don't ask questions. If you're at all shy, you know how hard that is to do. Questions are scary. We're scared of asking the wrong thing. We're scared of what people will think of us. We're scared of the answers.

Some of the questions I've asked are things like, "Can you have a true friendship with someone with a different moral standing than yourself?", "Are men and women really equal?", and, "Is there ever a time when you have to act against what you believe is right?" Those were all hard questions for me. I struggled through an entire first draft before finding the answers to some of them. Some people might not agree with all my answers. But if I had let fear keep me from asking questions, my story would be shallow, empty, and less dear to my heart than it is now.

Don't let fear keep you from asking. If you have a question, be open and honest, and don't let what others will think or what the answer might possibly be stop you. You can't discover if you keep all your doubts shut in a closet, and fear breeds even faster in the dark.
Have some Yoda. You're welcome.
So go forth and ask!! (How's that for a cheesy closing line?)

So, what about you? Why do you write? (I'm not going to ask you where you get your ideas from, because I hate being asked that question, but if you know the answer, you can tell me.) What are some questions you have begged in your writing? Have you found the answers yet?


  1. Fear of the answer. Yup, that's mine.

    I get most of my ideas from dreams. Or books I hate and want to change the endings of.

    1. I'm usually scared of what people will think, but the answer is often scary, too.

      And I don't usually have inspiring dreams, but last night I had a dream that would translate really well to a story, so we'll see if that goes anywhere. I really admire people who have interesting dreams more often. :P

  2. Hm, I wonder what your answers to those questions would be! I don't really know why I write, just yet. It's something I can do and don't feel completely lame at. Mostly, though, I don't ask questions. I just put the situations in real life I struggle with on paper, and as I resolve the plot, I begin to resolve the issues inside myself as well. This was a thought-provoking post! Definitely something I should add a little focus to in my day.

    1. Oh, I know that feeling. There were a couple years there when the only thing that kept me writing was the fact that I was an utter failure at everything else. And I've done that too-- though mainly with poetry. Funny how things start to make more sense on paper--

      Thanks for stopping by!


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