Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Why Do I Write?

Writing is hard.

Don't believe me? You try not showering because you're too busy transcribing the activities of your imaginary friends who infuriate you with their stubborn insistence on doing it "their way." And don't even get me started on wrangling with serial commas, the many iterations of the word "lie", and remembering when to put the apostrophe in "it's".

And, let's not forget all the rejections, from agents and publishers. Oh, and negative feedback regarding your naked heart on paper. It's painful, frustrating, exasperating, and in many ways very unrewarding.

So, why do we do it? More importantly, why do I do it?

First, let me clear the air: It's not for the money. Making money of any sort with writing is slightly more unlikely than finding a diamond in your box of Wheaties. Sure there are those amazing success stories out there, but those are like the commercials that show the woman answering her front door to a check from Publisher's Clearinghouse. It's a rarity.

Besides that, though, I honestly don't care about the money. I didn't start writing in hopes of getting paid, I don't choose my topics with dollar signs in mind, and I sure don't sit around and try to pick out what the next big trend will be. Getting rich, or even making a living, off of writing hasn't ever really been on my radar. Sure, there are times I dream big. Who doesn't? But, at the end of the day, I don't care about sales or how much money my books make. If God wants me rich/famous/prolific, He'll make me rich/famous/prolific.

My job is to write.

And that's really why I do it. I write because, ultimately, it's what I'm supposed to do. It's part of my DNA.

That's also why I write for students. I feel like, in the grand scheme of the universe, my purpose is to tell stories that will encourage, challenge, and support kids as they make their journey through life. I need to be the voice in their heads that tells them, no matter how crappy their families or friends or schools might be, that they are valuable and they can be somebody. I want to be there for them on their journey, making them laugh, helping them cry, and pointing them towards someone bigger than themselves.

(For the record, I don't write Christian Fiction for similar reasons. Maybe I'll explain THAT decision in another blog post.)

So, it's not about fame, or money, or praise, or anything else like that. It's not even about the satisfaction of getting the story from my head onto paper and into someone else's heart.

I write to change kids' lives.

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