Monday, March 10, 2008


Occasionally, when I present my program on publishing to junior high students (grades 6, 7 and 8 in the US), I get the question – “Why do you write books?”

It’s usually asked by a student who hates anything to do with composition. But, if you think about it, it’s really an excellent question. Why do I write? Let me try and explain.

First, money is not the most important reason, although that’s usually what the kids answer when I ask what they think. They are certain writing a book is an easy way to make a bundle of dollars. They’re not happy when I tell them few authors make a lot of money. There are some exceptions of course, but even if you go back in history, few authors, then or now, made a lot of money.

You should hear the groans when I tell them the primary reason I write is that I have to write. However, it’s true. The characters running through my mind require I tell their stories.

However something special occurs when I write a novel. For a time, I get to dwell in another time, get to become another person, live a different life. Oh, there’s nothing wrong with my life, but I’ve always been a daydreamer. Writing romances fulfills all the daydreams I could ever have.

No matter if today I am a villain, or the next day I’m a lonely heroine, crying out for attention, or justice, or romance, I still get to be all kinds of people. Because I usually write in a historical time period, I also learn how people lived years before. In fact, researching a book is often nearly as much fun as writing the thing. And putting my tales on paper affords me a tremendous sense of accomplishment.

Is writing a novel hard work? You better believe it. Sometimes your characters won’t behave the way you want them to, or the plot takes an unbelievable twist and your whole concept changes. The ability to use appropriate words is critical and it can be a struggle to find just the right word or phrase. The actual writing, either on paper or on the computer, is physical work. So yes, writing is definitely hard work, but when you love what you do….

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