Why do people write stuff?
Milton said Fame is the spur - and one must assume that, for him, that it was. Dorothy L Sayers describes a need to capture a thought or feeling on paper.
Money is important, naturally (even poets can't live on air); and there's also the satisfaction of making something; and the generous desire to share a story; and the need to know what's going to happen next; and a love for your characters.
There are other, personal motives, too, of course, like I'll show'em; and there's also the joy of exploration; but underpinning all this is (often) a need to work out the truth and then say it.
The inly pleased tho solitary boy
Journeying & muttering oer his dreams of joy
Haunting the hedges for the wilding fruit
Of sloe or black berry just as fancy's suit
The sticking groups in many a ragged set
Brushing the woods their harmless loads to get
& gipseys camps in some snug shelterd nook
Were old lanes like the pasture brook
Run crooked as they will by wood & dell
In such lone spots as these wild wood roamers dwell
On commons were no farmers claims appear
Nor tyrant justice rides to interfere
This is the truth: a solitary boy mutters (perhaps he is mentally ill); the people gathering sticks are ragged and poor; gypsies need shelter from the cold; the legal enclosure by farmers of land long available to help poor people survive is the act of a tyranny.
But that's not any kind of truth the grand people who are going to be buying The Shepherd's Calendar are going to want to hear, so it needs changing.
Forward with the editorial pen!
The solitary boy is now journeying in rapture o'er their dreams of joy (much more romantic); the ragged groups vanish (unattractive); gypsies now merry...o'er their raptures dwell; and no farmer ever arrives, sheltered by the Law, to banish poor folk from the land.
I don't know how John Clare felt about these editorial changes, but he carried on writing all his life, whether published or not.
A brave man, John Clare, and as honest as he was allowed to be.
Word To Use Today: tyranny. The very first tyrants in Ancient Greece were just the people in charge, but for some reason their reputation was very soon darkened. The Greek word for a tyrant was turannos.