WHY I WRITE

Why do I write? That is a question I am often asked and think about just about as often. I think fiction writers see stories everywhere. If I see an old woman walking down the street carrying a large vase, my mind begins to wondering what she is doing with the vase. Is she taking it home because the son she hasn’t seen for ten years suddenly sent her a dozen roses for her birthday? Did her husband just die and she can’t afford flowers for the funeral, so she picked up the vase at a second-hand store and she is going to fill it with flowers from her garden? I have always had these stories inside me. For as long as I can remember, my mind has been stuffed with different characters wanting to get out. In school I had trouble concentrating at times. The teacher would mention something in her lecture, and I would be off fighting with Vikings or at the North Pole doing research with a dark hairy creature lurking out in a snow storm. I guess it’s the Walter Mitty in all of us taken to extreme.
Telling people I am a published author has never been that much of a thrill to me. I even considered using a pseudonym when I published my first book, but I realized many of the sales of first books come from friends and families. It is not so much about the money–although I am not going to lie and say I would not want to be a bestselling author and make a living off of writing—it is more about having people read my stories. If people aren’t going to read my stories, they might just as well remain in my head. It would certainly be a lot less work. I once had a short story published in a national magazine, and received a fan letter that the magazine forwarded to me. An elderly gentleman wrote me and said my short story had deeply touched him. That letter meant far more to me than the four hundred dollars I was paid for the story. I guess that is the biggest reason I put stories down on paper. If I can touch an emotion in a reader or have a reader relate to a character or a story, I am one happy camper. A woman I know read my novel, In The Sticks. When she reached the part where they were on the boat, she told me, “You are one sick individual.” When she finished the book she came up to me touched her chest and said, ”The ending really got to me.” All the work I had put into that book was worth it just for those two comments. I have had people suggest storylines for a sequel—including two young ladies who said Cheryl and Lyle should make passionate love for most of the next book (this Fifty Shades of Grey thing has to stop). Knowing they cared enough about the characters and story to have it continue in their minds past the end of the book, is why I write.  Those of you who are authors, why do you write?

http://www.inthesticks.net

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About thewritingdeputy

Joel Jurrens was a deputy sheriff for 26 years until he retired in 2013. He has published three novels: In The Sticks, Graves of His Personal Liking and County Ops: The Vengeance of Gable Fitzgerald. He tries to keep his blog light and humorous and sometimes downright silly.
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3 Responses to WHY I WRITE

  1. fiona mcgier says:

    I agree that we can’t all write in the 50-Shades style, which makes me happy because being an English teacher I actually proof-read my stuff before I submit it! And while I’m not offended by BDSM erotica, it’s not my first choice of genre to write or to read. But I am offended that when I tell people I’m a published author they are interested only until I tell them I write romance…then they either change the subject or say, “Who reads THAT?” Enough readers do that romance is the #1 best-selling genre both in eBooks and in paperbacks. Since no one will admit to reading it, that must be part of the popularity of e-readers, so no one can see the cover of what you are reading in public!

    I agree with you that I have always had characters and scenes playing out in my head. I figure directors must have the same thing going on. What I have found is that once I’m done telling a story arc, that set of characters stops “talking” in my head. I have quiet for a very short time, if at all, before the next set begins to demand that I allow their stories a bigger forum than my own brain. It’s fun to write, and even more fun to know that others enjoy reading what I write. I just wish authors didn’t have to do all of their own publicity/promotions! Now THAT is exhausting!

  2. I enjoyed reading your post and can relate to much of it. After a health crisis two years ago, I retired from writing. Or so I thought. Nope. Writers can’t NOT write, and a writer I am!

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