The What and Why of My Writing

Parag Shah
4 min readAug 2, 2020


Day 2/31: Blog Your Own Book Challenge

It’s always nice to have clarity about what and why I want to do something. Writing is no different. That’s why I liked the first exercise of the Blog Your Own Book Challenge to define what I want to write and why I want to write it.

It certainly helped me and if you an aspiring writer, it may help you too.

My favorite tool for brainstorming is my journal and that’s what I turned to for brainstorming the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of my writing.

What do you want to write about?

I began by asking myself three questions:

  1. What do I want to share with the world?
  2. What kind of writing will give me joy and satisfaction?
  3. What kind of writing will add meaning to my own life?

I came up with several points for each of these questions:

What do I want to share with the world? My knowledge, my experiences so others can avoid making the same mistakes that I have made or adopt a process that has helped me, and the way I see the world and life.

What kind of writing will give me joy and satisfaction? I enjoy both non-fiction and fiction.

In non-fiction, I’d love to write about journaling and note-taking. I’d like to share how I healed certain chronic health problems in me. I have made a few interesting trips and I would love to write travelogues about them. I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned. I enjoy sharing summaries of books that have made a positive impact on my life.

The thought of writing fiction also gives me joy. I’d especially love to write autobiographical fiction and fantasy fiction.

What kind of writing will add meaning to my own life? I have found writing to be a very helpful tool to process my own thoughts and experiences. I often write to understand what I truly feel about something. Writing and re-writing help me cut through layers of conditioning and get to the core of my own feelings. I also write to visualize my own desires and future.

“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.” — Joan Didion

Why do you want that goal?

Do you want to be a writer because (like me!) it’s all you’ve ever wanted?
Do you want to publish your book because you mom told you that you never would and you want to prove her wrong?
Do you want to start a blog that people actually read because you have something important to say?

I found my ‘why’ while brainstorming the ‘what’.

I love sharing what I know and writing is a great way to do it. There are other ways also, and I may explore them, but writing will always be a part of my sharing toolkit.

I have been through some challenging times and what has helped me the most in making sense of them is reading other people’s articles who have experienced similar situations. I’ve had so many aha moments while reading these articles. They helped me understand my own background, experiences, and reactions. Not only that they opened a window which let in a ray of hope that I too can overcome challenges the way they did. This is priceless. Giving not only hope but also definite steps one can take to overcome the challenges in one’s life by sharing my own experiences. That’s what I want to do. Give hope. But not just abstract hope which leaves a person with a ‘good feeling’ but no definite steps to move ahead. I want to give both: hope and a plan without being presuming or condescending — because I’ve been at the receiving end of both.

Writing helps me make sense of life. I hope to write short stories to do what-if analysis in a fun way.

Finally, I want to write for the joy of it. The joy of giving voice to my creativity and ideas in the form of articles and books.

Narrowing the list

Thanks to this exercise, I was able to come up with a long list of topics I would like to write about and a clear reason for why I want to write. But I can’t start with such a long list. It’s going to leave me confused about where to start. So the next thing was to narrow down the list to three broad topics to write on and the medium through which I want to express them.

I chose the three things that have helped me the most in my own life journey:

  1. Journaling to share a process and a tool that has been very helpful to me.
  2. Autobiographical Fiction to share life lessons and also for doing what-if analysis by exploring how different choices can lead to different outcomes.
  3. Book Summaries to share what information about books that have had a positive impact on my life.
  4. Travelogues. I know I wanted to choose only three, but here’s one for the road :-)

And finally, the medium through which I want to share my writing. This was the easiest choice for me:

  1. Blog Posts
  2. Books

Thanks to Shaunta’s quiz, I now have a clear idea of what I want to write, why I want to write it, and the medium through which I want to write.



Parag Shah

I write about 'swadharma' and living your truth.

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