Many of the writers I know, including me, write because we’re driven to write. We have a need to create, to put our thoughts and ideas on paper, to build a story world, and to spend months, or even years, creating a book that may never be read by anyone other than ourselves. Our minds are bursting with imagination and words. Some of us occasionally question whether it’s worthwhile, and we think about stopping. It’s a topic that comes up in writers’ discussions. Most of us, it seems, can’t stop. But why do so many of us want to become published writers? If we write because we are driven to write, shouldn’t that be enough?

Some might expect to become rich or famous, but I think most of us don’t expect that, and don’t even care about that. We would probably die of shock if that actually happened to us. And publishing brings risks of bad reviews, lawsuits, bad publicity. Publishing brings extra work such as formatting, marketing, promoting, book signing, traveling, and networking. So why do we want it? Shouldn’t we steer clear of it?

To be honest, I’ve asked myself that question many times. While I don’t have an answer, I have some thoughts about it. Maybe we seek publication because it symbolizes our graduation. Maybe it’s our way of telling the world that we’ve studied, we’ve worked, we’ve grown, and we are ready to matriculate. Maybe getting published is our way of showing everyone—including ourselves—that we are not wasting our time with the work we are doing, but are making something of value for the people who choose to read our books. Maybe we hope that we will brighten someone’s day with our stories, or will give someone encouragement or cause them to think about something in a new light. Maybe we hope we will entertain or educate or make a difference to someone in our own small way